All UK schools will be closed from Friday 20th March 2020. This raises a number of questions with regards to supply teachers & TA's at your school. We’ve gathered answers to some of the most frequent questions we’re getting below. These are unprecedented times and we ask that schools be mindful of their temporary teachers & TA’s who will be facing incredible financial pressure in the coming months.
What happens to supply teachers during school closure?
Usually when supply teachers don’t work, schools don’t pay for their services. However, these are exceptional times and many long-term supply workers will lose out on a number of unplanned weeks of pay at a time when finding other work to bridge the financial shock will be difficult. A number of our schools have made the decision to pay their long-term temporary staff throughout school closures (or at least for an initial period of closures). This makes a significant difference to dampening the financial strain for long term supply workers, so if it is something you would consider, please do let your account manager know when they get in touch about it.
Does a school have to pay long-term supply workers during a school closure?
Although government rules and financial support are quickly evolving, at the moment they do not mandate it. We are hoping that the additional support to workers announced today, March 20th, will support Teachers & TA's but are still awaiting the detailed guidance to find out more. At the moment, it is completely at the discretion of the school whether they continue to pay their long term temporary Teachers & TAs but we ask schools to strongly consider it given the turmoil a disruption in income can cause for supply teachers & TAs.
Does the school pay the same rate as when they are working?
Supply workers should earn the same rate but we firmly believe that a school should not have to pay an agency margin for trying to do the right thing and support their workers during difficult times. As a Social Enterprise trying to support schools and teachers the best we can, Zen Educate is waiving our fee during school closure for schools that choose to pay through a school closure period - 100% of what a school pays goes to supply workers. We’ve heard many agencies are still trying to charge their (already high) fees when a school decides to pay their supply teachers during closures. We are strongly against this and encourage everyone to tell their provider this is unacceptable. If you’d like help in preparing for that conversation with your provider, please do get in touch with the team at Zen Educate.
Will long term supply teachers & TAs return to work when schools reopen?
One thing worth considering is that schools will experience a period of prolonged staff upheaval even after schools reopen. Ultimately, it is an uncertain time and many will feel uncomfortable going back to work even after schools reopen. It is important to build contingency plans for a period of prolonged disruption after schools reopen.