The new kids on the block - Why the IoST is making supply teaching worth it

What is the Institute of Supply Teachers?

The Institute of Supply Teachers (IoST) is a free supportive network tailor-made for supply teachers. The IoST supports Supply Teachers' voice, rights, and continuing professional development (CPD). Supply Teachers signed up to IoST will have access to free, online CPD through the Teacher Learning Camp portal. The IoST will also provide opportunities for Supply Teachers to access products and services at discounted prices.


What are the IoST’s aims?

The IoST supports Supply Teachers and their reasons for choosing to work in the flexible world of supply. The IoST has simple yet important aims: to support Supply Teachers to develop in the field of teaching. Helping those who are using supply as a stopgap before permanent teaching employment to boost knowledge and employability. At the same time, helping to equip those who have chosen supply for the flexibility and variety with the necessary skills needed to excel in any classroom. As Supply Teachers can be on long or short-term placements, they often can miss out on the community interactions possible when working as a team. The IoST offers a supportive teaching community where impartial advice is given through forums, blogs and training.

How does supply teaching work?

Supply teaching usually involves supply agencies acting as a middle-person between schools and supply teachers. Teachers fill short or long-term teaching positions if the permanent teacher is unavailable to teach.


Is supply worth it?

Some teachers may consider moving into supply and signing up with a supply agency rather than remaining in permanent teaching positions. But is supply worth it? The answer depends on personal circumstances and your reasons for wanting to move towards supply teaching. Supply teaching has many benefits, and so do permanent teaching positions. We share some of the most common benefits of becoming a supply teacher.


Flexibility associated with supply teaching

Supply by nature is more varied; it can be a different school each day (even two a day) and can be across different locations, settings, and specialisms. Before and after school flexibility is more likely to be found in supply teaching, with Supply Teachers generally staying less time after the end of the school day compared to their permanent counterparts.


Term-time holidays whilst on supply

Term-time holidays are possible when on supply, although this does come at the price of refusing work available to go. Term-time holidays are often significantly cheaper: by calculating the necessary income your family needs to allow term-time jet setting, you can enjoy more freedom with holiday packages.


Reduced teacher workload with supply teaching

Although each setting has different expectations and challenges, the day-to-day administrative tasks attached to permanent teaching can be reduced for supply teachers. Long-term supply contracts can give stability of income but can come with many of the challenges explained in the recent teacher strike information shared by the National Education Union (NEU). Teachers do work more unpaid overtime than any other profession; 55-60 hour working weeks are common.


What is the downside of supply teaching?

It can be a daunting step for those considering moving towards supply teaching from a permanent teaching position or post-graduation. Supply teaching is not for everyone; some people prefer the stability and reliability of having a salaried position rather than the changeable nature of the work.


Limited CPD available for Supply Teachers

The limited access to CPD for supply teachers can be a downside of moving towards supply. The dynamic of modern classrooms has changed considerably post-Covid lockdowns. With SEND need on the increase, overcrowded classrooms and reduced additional adult support, classroom teaching is a challenging vocation. CPD is necessary to equip teachers with the everchanging skills needed to succeed in any classroom environment. The IoST offers free supply teacher CPD, accessible through the Teacher Learning Camp (TLC). Filling the gap for supply CPD for free.


The lack of community for Supply Teachers

Staffroom chit-chat can build communities and life-long friendships, those who join supply agencies can feel isolated from established school staff teams. Some schools will be more welcoming than others yet walking into the staffroom can be daunting. Make the most of increased free time in the evenings and broaden your friendship circles outside of employment. Consider joining a new sports team or choir to expand your social circles. The IoST will have forums for like-minded supply colleagues to build an online, supportive network to ask for impartial advice you may miss from an established staff team.


How is the IoST making supply worth it?

The IoST is directed and driven by educational professionals for educational professionals. Supply teaching can offer an excellent work-life balance for those who love teaching: the IoST is designed to meet the needs of supply teachers.


A supportive community of Supply Teachers

Share information, ask advice, and interact with other likeminded Supply Teachers.


Free online CPD training for Supply Teachers

Access relevant and bite-sized CPD training on the most up-to-date aspects of teaching.


How do I join the IOST?

Sign up for free to the IoST to access all CPD stored on the Teacher Learning Camp, you can sign up today. Just hit the link at the top of the page.