Government to launch supply teacher database to cut spiralling agency fees

In an effort to cut down on spiralling agency bills, the Government will regulate the industry by establishing a “trusted” database of supply teacher agencies.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it would work alongside the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to get a better deal for schools that recruit temporary staff.

It is believed that agencies on the database will offer supply staff at a set rate and would have to sign up to a code of conduct.

According to the most recent figures available, schools spent some £918 million on temporary staff in 2011/12, and £1.2 billion in 2014/15.

Amanda Brown, assistant general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said schools needed a central database to recruit supply teachers at “reasonable cost and which allows supply teachers to be properly paid for their work”.

Money should go into education and “not shareholders’ profits”, she added.

Likewise, the CCS said schools were not getting good value for money. Research has shown that some agencies charge as much as £10,000 in finder’s fees for a school to use their services.

Tom Hadley, director of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said the issue stems from a much wider problem.

“In many instances schools are turning to supply agencies because of the shortage of teachers to fill longer-term vacancies. A new framework will not solve this fundamental problem of low supply and high demand,” he said.

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