10 Pros and Cons of Supply Work in Schools

When my temporary contract came to an end in the summer I didn't have another job lined up (not for the want for trying). I saw an advert looking for people interested in supply work in schools and thought it was worth signing up with the agency. I've been with an agency for 2 months now so I thought I'd offer up some advice on the pros and cons of supply work.Obviously I can only give advice based on the kind of supply work I have being doing.

PRO - The first and the biggest pro of supply work is it obviously hands down beats being unemployed. You can continue gaining knowledge in your field and earn money.

CON - any missed day is a day without pay. If you're really ill, going to an interview etc most companies still pay you. If your unavailable to work supply you obviously don't get paid. Which can make a big difference to your wage.

PRO - the money is quite good. If I worked five days a week, all day I would earn more than what I did in my last job. There are opportunities to get that much work too so it can work out quite well some weeks.

CON - the above being said unless you get a long term placement somewhere your wage will probably differ from week to week which can be difficult. 

PRO - you can gain a tonne of experience. Before taking up supply work I'd only worked in a primary school with the youngest children in the school then I'd gone on to volunteering in a day nursery working with babies and toddlers. I said I'd never ever work in a secondary school but my mind was soon changed when faced with either sucking it up and taking work in a secondary school or being jobless. I decided to give it a go and it turns out I actually quite enjoy it. It's a huge and worthwhile experience that I've gained that wouldn't have happened without supply work.

CON - on days you haven't got an advanced booking you have to get up and get sorted like you're going to work just in case they phone to book you for emergency cover. I don't mind getting up but it can be a pain waiting around for a phone call.

PRO - you can make contacts. If like me you're taking up supply work whilst something else comes along it's a great way to find out if there are any jobs in schools. You can also make contacts for future supply work. If you've enjoyed it tell the person who is in charge of feeding back to your agency, chances are they'll ask for you personally next time they need a supply worker.

CON - traveling can be a pain. If like me you don't drive you'll definitely be faced with early mornings and having to take a couple of busses to get to work. You need to prepare yourself for this as more often than not you'll get phoned about a job the night before they want you to go or in some cases even in the morning that they need you.

PRO - you just might find something you love that you would never have considered doing. As I said earlier, I take on any work offered whether it's really what I want to do in the future or not. My first booking was a long term contract (in fact I'm still there) and it wasn't something I'd ever considered doing, it turns out I enjoy it loads. So you never know what pleasant surprises you may get along the way.

CON - you'll have bookings you don't enjoy. Not all surprises are good ones and you will be sent places you don't enjoy it's just the nature of supply work. It's difficult when you're only in one place for a day and you've had to rush to get there if it was an emergency booking. But just do your job the best you can and think of the money!

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