Supply teacher costs pass the £1million mark

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- Credit: Archant

THE amount of cash spent on supply and agency teachers in 20 North Somerset schools has passed the £1million mark this year.

A total of £1.05million was spent in 20 schools within the area covered by the Times in 2013-14, up £162,515 from the previous year.

North Somerset Council’s executive member for children’s services Jeremy Blatchford said the education community ‘seeks to find the best value’ in its temporary staff, describing it as an expense it would ‘avoid if it could’.

Cllr Blatchford said: “With close to 3,000 teachers and support workers there will be many women going on maternity leave, teachers engaged in training courses and those on sick leave.

“All of those need cover whilst they are unavailable. There may be cases where a new member of staff cannot be recruited or only a temporary worker is supplied.”

The average salary for a primary school teacher is £28,000 a year, making the current spend on supply and agency staff enough to cover the cost of hiring 27 full-time teachers for an entire year.

Cllr Blatchford said: “School budgets are under strain and governors and headteachers do their very best to squeeze every last penny from them.

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“Naturally the education community seeks to find the best value in getting temporary staff and this is an expense any head would avoid if they could.”