Education secretary warns schools not to get “ripped off” by supply teaching agencies
Credit: David Davies/PA Wire
An online tool has been launched by education secretary Damian Hinds in a bid to help schools reduce the amount they spend on recruitment by enabling them to compare the relative costs of using supply teaching agencies.
The new tool, launched this week, has been developed with the Crown Commercial Service and will assist schools in avoiding agencies that charge excessive fees, according to the Department for Education (DfE).
Schools in England spend more than £820m a year on supply teaching agencies. The tool will show schools the fees agencies charge and help them avoid firms that charge fees for making temporary staff permanent.
It provides a list of approved agencies, who must set out their costs upfront, allowing schools to compare prices, and conduct rigorous background checks on their staff.
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Hinds said: “I want to help schools use their resources as effectively as possible. There will always be a role for supply teachers within schools, but schools shouldn’t be ripped off when trying to recruit them. This new online tool will bring much-needed transparency to the fees that agencies charge to enable school leaders to see what they are getting for their money.”
He added: “There can be no great schools without great teachers to inspire and motivate children, so it’s absolutely right that we help schools to maximise the money they have to spend in the classroom by working together, making sure they’re getting the best deals and are not being overcharged for services.”
This comes just months after the education secretary made a speech at the National Association of Head Teachers’ annual conference in which he pledged to drive down unnecessary cost pressures.
Tech is playing a key role in the DfE’s quest for efficiency. A free website to advertise school vacancies was launched last year in an attempt to help headteachers cut advertising costs, which are up to £75m per year. And a benchmarking website enables schools to compare their income and expenditure with others in England.