Urgent call for qualified teachers
Be part of the national effort to support face-to-face education in schools and colleges

Department for Education logo

Are you a qualified teacher not currently working in the sector? We are asking for your help to support your teaching colleagues and the nation’s children and young people through this difficult time.

Covid continues to impact schools and colleges in England. We want to make sure that as many supply staff as possible are available.

Who can help?

We’re inviting qualified ex-teachers from primary, secondary and further education to step in and help teach children and young people in school and college on a temporary basis. You may be retired, taking time off to care for children or others, or currently working in a different area, but you may be able to spare some time to help.

What’s required?

Your time will be invaluable, whatever you can spare - whether it is one day a week or five. You will be helping protect children and young people’s education.

Please register with a supply teaching agency now

This will enable an agency to be ready to use you as soon as possible.

You can use any supply teaching agency you choose. You might, for example, have worked through an agency before or know which agencies local schools use.

You can also find a supply teaching agency from the list below. These supply agencies are part of the government framework and offer schools value for money.

Please contact agencies directly. They will help you with what you need, for example updating your DBS.

Got questions? Find out more about supply teaching.

Find an agency in England

East Midlands

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East of England

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Greater London

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North East

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North West

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South East

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South West

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West Midlands

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Yorkshire and the Humber

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Becoming a supply teacher

How do I find a school to work in?

We recommend you contact a supply teaching agency directly rather than any school. This is to avoid additional burdens on schools, and because supply agencies work directly with schools who need more staff. Agencies can help you to complete the necessary pre-employment checks.

How do I find a supply agency?

You can find a supply teaching agency near you. You can also contact other supply agencies you know, even if they are not on this list.

Will I need to complete pre-employment checks, such as DBS checks?

A supply teaching agency will be able to let you know what steps to take. They will support you to complete any other pre-employment checks.

Who pays for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

A supply teaching agency will let you know about any costs. Some supply agencies will cover the cost of the DBS check, so check with them directly.

How much will I get paid?

The level of pay is agreed between the school, agency and supply teacher. You may be subject to deductions for tax on any earnings and/or National Insurance contributions, depending on your circumstances.

Will my teachers’ pension be impacted if I return as a supply teacher?

It will depend on who your employer is. Supply teaching agencies do not participate in the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme (TPS) and therefore returning to teaching in this way will not affect your pension. Local authorities (LAs), academies and further education colleges do participate in the TPS. If you are employed directly as a supply teacher by one of these organisations, then you can check how this may affect you.(opens in new window)

The supply agency will be able to confirm with you whether or not they are classed as your ‘employer’.

Will travel costs be covered?

Travel costs will not be paid by the Department for Education. Check with the supply agency whether they reimburse travel costs.

What information will the supply agency need?

Agencies have varying requirements. But as a minimum you will be asked to provide:

  1. Evidence that you have a suitable qualification, for example: Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
  2. Information to verify your identity and right to work
  3. Information to enable references to be taken.
What information will the school need?

The agency will liaise with the school on your behalf, so you will not need to provide information to the school directly.

How do I find out about the school that I will be teaching in?

Your agency will provide you with information about the school before you start any placement. They will work with you to understand your experience and preferences. This will help them find appropriate placements for you.

I only want to teach for 1 or 2 days a week. Is that ok?

You can be flexible in your approach to work. Whether it’s one day a week or five, your help will be invaluable at this time.

What am I expected to teach?

The supply teaching agency will work with you to understand your experience and preferences. This will help them find appropriate placements for you.

How quickly will I be placed?

All pre-employment checks will need to be completed before any placement. Currently 80% of Enhanced DBS checks are issued within the 14 day service target and over 30% are issued within 1 day. Once these have been completed, placement timing will depend on demand from schools or colleges. We expect demand to be high but can’t guarantee there will be a suitable placement.

Do I need to be vaccinated before working in a school?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are the best way to protect people from coronavirus (COVID-19) and will save thousands of lives. We encourage all the workforce to take up the offer of a vaccine and a booster(opens in new window) where possible.

Schools will not usually require proof of vaccination and there is no obligation on you to share your vaccine status with the school. We expect schools, like all employers, to give due consideration to their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

I’m worried about going into a school, what are schools doing to ensure they are COVID-safe?

As of 5 January 2022, 90.1% of all adults and children over 12 years old in England have received at least one dose of a vaccine, 82.5% have received a second dose and 60.4% have received a booster (or third dose). Vaccines remain an effective measure against COVID-19 and we encourage everyone to take up the offer of a vaccine and booster where possible(opens in new window).

All settings have a range of measures in place to manage COVID-19 transmission day to day, for example ventilation and hygiene for all settings, and regular testing for the workforce and learners in year 7 and above. If you are placed in a school please ask them to explain their measures to you.

The measures in place day-to-day in education settings are based on the latest scientific advice and strike a balance between managing transmission risk and reducing disruption to children and young people’s education.

All secondary schools have been asked to test their pupils once on-site, using LFD tests, on return in January. Secondary school pupils should then continue to test twice weekly at home with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits, 3 or 4 days apart. Staff, including supply staff, won’t usually test on site but should test twice weekly at home. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.

From Tuesday 14 December, a new national Daily Testing of Contacts of Covid policy was introduced. This means that young people and fully vaccinated adults who are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID can take an NHS LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend their setting as normal unless they have a positive test result.

All education and childcare settings should already have their own contingency plans (sometimes called outbreak management plans) describing what actions would be taken if children, pupils, students or staff test positive for COVID-19, or how they would operate if you were advised to introduce any measures described in the contingency framework to help break chains of transmission.

Employers should be able to explain the measures they have in place to keep staff safe at work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace. Employers should discuss concerns with staff.

The Department for Education continues to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice, to revise our COVID-19 safe working and protective measures for settings in England.

Will I need to wear a face covering in school?

Face coverings help protect the wearer and others against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of COVID-19.

Where pupils and students in year 7 (which would be children who were aged 11 on 31 August 2021) and above are educated, we continue to recommend that face coverings should be worn by pupils, students, staff and adult visitors when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas.

From 4 January 2022 we also recommend that, in those settings where pupils and students in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms and teaching spaces or during indoor activities. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons. This is a temporary measure.

We would not ordinarily expect teachers to wear a face covering in the classroom if they are at the front of the class, to support education delivery, although settings should be sensitive to the needs of individual teachers.

There are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering, and staff and others in settings should be mindful and respectful of such circumstances. Some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

Settings, as employers, have a duty to comply with the Equality Act 2010 which includes making reasonable adjustments for disabled staff. They also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils, to support them to access education successfully. No pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they are, or are not, wearing a face covering.

Are schools well-ventilated?

Over 99 per cent of eligible schools, further education colleges, and the majority of early years settings have now received a carbon dioxide monitor with over 300,000 now delivered. Final deliveries were made before the end of the Autumn term.

Feedback suggests that the monitors are acting as a helpful tool to manage ventilation, sitting alongside the other protective measures in place to manage transmission, such as regular testing, vaccinations and increased hygiene.

What if I am looking for a permanent role as a teacher?

Teachers seeking a permanent teaching role can search for teaching vacancies(opens in new window) in their local area. This service is free for schools and teachers.

If you’re thinking about returning to teach at secondary school in England, you could be eligible for a return to teaching adviser. You’ll need to have qualified teacher status (QTS) and be returning to teach chemistry, computing, maths, modern foreign languages or physics. You can get free one-to-one support on applying for roles, writing personal statements and preparing for interviews. They can also help you find courses to enhance your subject knowledge.

I used to teach in college. Can I find a college to work in?

Yes – ex college teachers are encouraged to approach supply agencies too. Many supply agencies also supply staff to colleges as well as schools, and will be able to find appropriate placements.

I am an ex-early years practitioner. Can I find an early years setting to work in?

Yes - ex-early years practitioners are encouraged to approach supply agencies too. Many supply agencies also supply early years settings as well as schools, and will be able to find appropriate placements. There are also many early years specific supply agencies.

I’m not a teacher but I’d like to work in a school, for example, as a teaching assistant. Can I find a school to work in?

Yes, schools are often looking for support staff both on a temporary basis and permanently. Many supply agencies supply support staff and will be able to find appropriate placements. If you are seeking a permanent support role you can search for vacancies in your local area(opens in new window).

What if I am interested in teaching in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

Wales

For supply teachers working in Wales, see the Welsh Government’s NPS Framework and recommended agencies(opens in new window). There are 25 approved agencies, covering all 22 local authorities. Teachers looking for supply teacher roles in Wales can contact those agencies to register.

For additional queries on supply teaching in Wales, please contact the Welsh Government at SMED2Consultations@gov.wales

Scotland

If you are interested in teaching in Scotland, see Scottish Government Teach in Scotland(opens in new window) or General Teaching for Scotland(opens in new window).

Northern Ireland

Qualified teachers who wish to be substitute teachers in Northern Ireland can register their details on the Northern Ireland Substitute Teachers’ Register. An enhanced disclosure Access NI (vetting) check will be part of the process through the Education Authority.

Find an agency