�1.1million on supply teachers

SECONDARY schools in North Somerset spent more than �1.1million on supply teachers last year to cover teachers’ absence from lessons.

The whopping figure is for the financial year of 2009/10 and showed that, on average, supply teachers cost each of the ten secondary schools in the district �110,000.

This money will come directly out of a school’s set budget but, despite how high it seems, is similar to the national average.

Supply teachers are generally used when teachers take planned absences, for example when there is a school trip or when they are off work for several days.

However, they tend to cost more per day than a regular teacher due to the fact they can only work in term time compared to regular teachers who are paid year round.


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Nailsea School headteacher, David New, believes supply teachers are absolutely essential to the running of a school.

He said: “If you have got a member of staff out for a long period I need specialist staff to continue delivering the curriculum at a high level.

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“For short term issues the specialism is less essential and then we try to employ a member of staff who knows the school so there is consistency in teaching.

“Some of the supply cover is for teacher illness but some of it, and a significant part of it at Nailsea School, covers classes when a teacher is running enrichment activities, such as a school trip or a foreign trip.

“Therefore the simplistic answer about supply teacher spending may not be the right one.”

For the financial year of 2009/10, secondary schools spent the following amounts on supply teachers: Clevedon School: �124,032. Gordano School, Portishead: �117,256. Backwell School: �103,621. Nailsea School: �103,594. St Katherine’s School, Pill: �96,726.

The school spending data has been compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), a national group that campaigns for lower taxes, which found that across England a total of �293million was spent on supply teachers in secondary schools between 2009/10. Nationally, the average spent per school was just over �100,000.

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