Working with an agency

Teachers join supply agencies for a range of reason; they are NQT’s looking to gain experience, experienced teachers looking to improve their work/life balance or teachers with other commitments to fit in such as childcare. The rise in teaching supply agencies over the last 10 years has been dramatic and continues to rise. Many schools now look to agencies for recruitment as well as daily cover.

Whatever the reason may be, there are simple ways to get the most from your agency.

So here are our top 10 tips:

1)      Explain clearly what you are looking for from the agency and what experience you have.

2)      Be honest about your availability and willingness to travel. If you only want work within 20 minutes of your house, let them know so that they can accurately advise as to how much work you are likely to get.

3)      Keep them up to date with availability, which schools/years you did/didn’t like and whether what you are looking for changes. It is good to just touch base with them once a week so that you are in the front of their mind and they know what you are looking for.

4)      Find out when the best time to call for a chat about work is. Make sure that you know the agency’s working hours and when they are quietest. Calling between 7-9 am or 3-4 pm is unlikely to be a convenient time for a chat!

5)      Make the most of opportunities provided whether it’s: CPD, social events or free resources etc. It can be a bit daunting arriving somewhere on your own and meeting people that you don’t know. If worried, why not ask if you can be introduced to another local teacher who you could travel with.

6)      Be open to feedback, whether it is good or not so good. This will show that you are a reflective practitioner who is conscientious and wants to achieve their best. It is in the interest of you and your agency to share and discuss feedback.

7)      Have your phone on when you have said you are free to work and keep your agency up to date with your availability- even if this changes a short text saying that you have been booked elsewhere will help your agency stay organised and only call you when you want work

8)      Check emails regularly and respond. This allows your consultant to put you forward for opportunities. Placements get snapped up quickly so you need to get in there first!

9)      Be friendly, interested and flexible. This will ensure that you get as much work as possible.

10)   Thank you cards go a long way. If you agency has provided lots of work, a long term or permanent placement or has simply been great to work with, let them know!

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