Supply Teaching - Could It Be Right For You?

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Supply Teachers are currently in huge demand across the UK. They make up a vital cog in the education system by providing much-needed short or long-term cover for schools.

People can have differing reasons for wanting to work in supply. For some it will be to give back to the education sector when it's in desperate need of help. For others, it’s a first step into the world of teaching, providing experience and knowledge that will serve them well in their future career. Additionally, supply teaching provides a flexible, less stressful alternative to permanent teaching work which can be very appealing.

Supply teachers are generally signed up to agencies like HR GO who act as a liaison between school and teacher to fill requirements. We make the process far simpler and more successful than trying to apply directly to schools yourself. We can easily tailor our searches to the schedule you're looking for. That's true whether you're interested in covering just a day, a week, a term, or even longer.

Here we look at important aspects you'll need to consider before applying:

Benefits of Supply Teaching Work


Supply work offers a level of flexibility that can’t be found in permanent roles. Generally, teachers must adhere to term time working hours. This means getting holiday only during half term breaks, Christmas, Easter and in the summer. For supply teachers there is much more freedom. If they have a day in the diary where they can’t work, they simply don’t!

Supply teachers can base their job around their personal life, a benefit that permanent teachers are unable to experience.

Work-life balance

Supply teaching also offers a substantial improvement to the work-life balance of a teacher. It is a commonly accepted issue that workloads and work-life balance are putting many off teaching. We covered this topic in an earlier blog. Supply teaching, however, doesn’t present this challenge. As opposed to spending time out of hours carrying out unpaid planning and marking, supply teachers will generally turn up and follow set lesson plans. There is little to no administrative work involved and supply teachers will normally be out the door by 3.30-4pm. This is a big attraction for many.


For some, the variety of supply teaching is a major draw. Permanent teachers could remain in the same school for years – even decades in some cases. Of course, this provides them with massive security and familiarity. However, for many, being able to work in a range of different environments, meeting different teachers and different students, is an extremely attractive proposition.

Every day can be different, and that also holds appeal for many who choose this role.

Gaining experience

For many NQTs, supply work is an opportunity to gain experience in schools prior to attaining a permanent role. It offers the chance to work in various schools, across different ages and subjects, whilst filling up a newly qualified teacher’s CV. It is also a chance to experience different schools in the area and build relationships within them, standing them in good stead for their permanent job search.

Potential drawbacks of supply teaching

Some of the benefits listed above can be considered drawbacks for some. For instance, given the temporary nature of the work, you can never be guaranteed a day’s work when you need it. This lack of job security can present a challenge to some, especially those with dependants and regular outgoings. There is also no routine - something that could be very appealing to some candidates. But this does mean that supply teachers (apart from those on long term placements) will be unable to work closely with students over a significant length of time. And this relationship-building aspect of the teaching profession is something that is generally highly valued.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

So, it's important you consider the pros and cons. If the flexibility and reduced workload of supply work is more important to you, or you're a NQT needing some experience, this option could be perfect for you. If you need stability, routine and the opportunity to build relationships with pupils and teaching staff, you should consider applying for a full-time teaching role

Learn more about how we work hard to find the best education sector position for you. You can also find all of our supply teacher jobs currently available, or register now so we can find your perfect education sector role.

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