The art of supply

I’ve been working on supply a while now and have been fortunate to have had a number of longer term placements mixed in with some casual day to day bits.

The same problems and concerns crop up at each new place. Here are some things that schools can do to make life a little smoother.

Day to day placements

  • Safeguarding. Make sure there is a photo of the designated person on any leaflets that are handed out, as well as time given to read and process this vital information
  • Facilities. A quick tour of the school to locate staff room, toilets and a safe space to leave your bag is always appreciated.
  • Introductions. I was once put in a classroom of boys with challenging behaviour and left to get on with it. This was after I’d been in the room with normal class staff for an hour. Introductions and a chance to look at behaviour plans would have prevented the carnage that followed.
  • ICT. It is so important to be able to log on to a computer, especially if part of the lesson you are covering requires it!
  • Access. Keys, swipes and codes.
  • Lunch arrangements. Is it only supply that use the staff room?
  • How to raise concerns. I guess this goes with safeguarding really, but I have found myself not invited back having raised concerns about things I have witnessed.

Long term placements

All of the above still apply, as well as

  • A timetable. It should go without saying that if you’ve booked supply you should know what you want them to do!
  • Appropriate tech and enhanced ict access. I can’t take the resister if I don’t have a log in, or a device to log in on
  • Shared expectations. Do you want me at briefing? After school meetings? Twilight? Parents evening? Will you pay me accordingly?
  • Communication. Please talk to me directly about decisions that affect me. Don’t expect my agency to act as a go between and pass everything on. Especially if you are going to change my timetable and my subject!
  • Be consistent. If you expect to observe me and judge my marking (really not a problem), then I deserve to be given a debrief session too.

Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question, it’s just something you’ve not been told the answer to yet.


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