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Teaching Recruitment Agencies: A Guide for Supply Teachers

Eleanor Grayson
5 Feb 2024
5 min read
Teaching Recruitment Agencies: A Guide for Supply Teachers

Are you a teacher or Teaching Assistant seeking job opportunities in the education sector? Supply teaching agencies can be valuable partners in meeting your needs. These agencies play a crucial role in matching teachers with suitable schools and positions, ensuring a smooth and efficient recruitment process.

But are agencies the the only option for finding work in schools?

Section 1: Understanding Supply Teaching Recruitment Agencies

What is a Teaching Recruitment Agency?

Teaching recruitment agencies are organisations that assist both schools and teachers in the recruitment process. They act as intermediaries, connecting schools with qualified teaching professionals and helping teachers find suitable job opportunities. These agencies specialise in filling temporary, permanent, and supply teaching roles within the education sector.

The Benefits of Using a Supply Teaching Agency

Supply teaching agencies offer several advantages for both teachers and schools. For teachers, these agencies provide access to a wide range of job opportunities that may not be advertised publicly. They also offer personalised job matching, taking into account the teacher's skills, experience, and preferences when assigning positions. Additionally, agencies provide support with applications, interview preparation, and valuable feedback to enhance the teacher's chances of securing their desired position.

For schools, supply teaching agencies alleviate the burden of recruitment by sourcing and vetting qualified candidates. They ensure that schools have a pool of reliable professionals to cover staff absences or vacancies. Agencies also handle negotiations and contract arrangements, making the hiring process more streamlined and efficient.

Section 2: How Do Supply Teaching Recruitment Agencies Operate?

The Registration Process

To join a supply teaching agency, teachers typically need to complete a registration process. This process may involve submitting an online application form, which gathers information about the teacher's experience, qualifications, and personal details. Some agencies conduct an initial chat with the applicant to assess their suitability for the agency. This chat may cover topics such as the teacher's experience, preferences, and next steps in the registration process.

An interview is usually arranged to further evaluate the teacher's qualifications and compatibility with the agency. While face-to-face interviews were the norm, remote interviews via video software have become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matching Teachers with Suitable Positions

Once a teacher is registered with a supply teaching agency, the agency's role is to match them with suitable schools and positions. This process involves considering the teacher's skills, experience, location, and availability. Agencies often utilise a combination of phone calls and online booking systems to notify teachers of job offers.

Continuing Professional Development

In addition to job placement, supply teaching agencies often provide support and resources to their registered teachers. This support may include assistance with CV preparation, interview coaching, and feedback.

Agencies that care more offer continuous professional development opportunities, such as training sessions and workshops, to help teachers enhance their skills and advance their careers.

Section 3: What to Expect When Working with a Supply Teaching Agency

Assessment and Interview Process

When working with a supply teaching agency, teachers can expect to undergo an assessment and interview process. This process is designed to evaluate their qualifications, experience, and suitability for different teaching roles. The assessment may involve reviewing the teacher's CV, conducting a skills assessment, and assessing their ability to work in different educational settings. It's worth ensuring your CV looks good, and that you're prepared for common interview questions.

The interview is an opportunity for the agency to get to know the teacher better and assess their compatibility. It may cover topics such as the teacher's teaching philosophy, experience with different age groups, and their approach to classroom management. The interview also allows the agency to understand the teacher's preferences and requirements, such as preferred locations and desired contract lengths.

Job Offers and Placement

Once registered with a supply teaching agency, teachers can expect to receive job offers based on their availability and preferences. The frequency of job offers may vary depending on factors such as the teacher's location, availability, and responsiveness. Teachers who are available for longer periods and have a flexible schedule are more likely to receive regular job offers.

Job offers may range from long-term placements to day-to-day supply teaching assignments. Long-term placements involve covering a teacher's absence over an extended period, while day-to-day supply teaching involves filling short-term gaps in staffing. Teachers often have the option to accept or decline job offers based on their availability and preferences.

Support and Communication

Supply teaching agencies strive to provide ongoing support and communication to their registered teachers. This support may include assistance with administrative tasks, such as payroll and benefits. Agencies can also offer guidance on professional development opportunities and career progression.

Communication with the agency is essential to ensure a smooth working relationship. Teachers are encouraged to keep their availability and preferences up to date and respond promptly to job offers. Regular communication with the agency allows for better coordination and maximises the chances of receiving suitable job offers.

Section 4: Pros and Cons of Using a Traditional Recruitment Agency

Pros of Using a Traditional Supply Teaching Agency

Access to a Wide Range of Opportunities: Supply teaching agencies have extensive networks and offer various teaching roles that may not be advertised publicly. This gives teachers access to a wider range of job opportunities.

Personalised Job Matching: Supply teaching agencies work to match the skills and preferences of teachers with suitable schools and positions. They consider factors such as location, teaching specialisms, and desired contract lengths.

Support with Applications and Interviews: Agencies provide assistance with CV preparation, interview coaching, and valuable feedback. This support can enhance the teacher's chances of securing their desired position.

Time-Saving: By handling the job search process, supply teaching agencies reduce the time and effort teachers spend on job hunting. This allows teachers to focus more on their teaching and professional development.

Continuous Professional Development: Many supply teaching agencies offer resources and opportunities for further training and development. This enables teachers to enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest educational practices.

Flexibility: Supply teaching can offer flexibility, particularly for teachers looking for short-term or varying assignments. This flexibility allows teachers to explore different school settings and gain diverse experiences.

Cons of Using a Traditional Supply Teaching Agency

Limited Control: Teachers may have less control over the exact schools and positions they are placed in. While agencies aim to match teachers with suitable roles, there is a possibility of a mismatch between expectations and the assigned placement.

Dependence on Agency's Network: Opportunities available to teachers through supply teaching agencies are limited to the agency's connections and agreements with schools. This means that some schools or positions may not be accessible through a particular agency.

Fees and Financial Considerations: While most supply teaching agencies do not charge teachers for their services, it is essential to understand the financial arrangements, including pay rates and any deductions. Teachers should be aware of any fees or commissions associated with their placements.

Varying Levels of Support: The quality and extent of support provided by supply teaching agencies can vary. Teachers should research and choose agencies that have a reputation for offering comprehensive support and guidance.

Potential for Less Job Security: Supply teaching roles, especially temporary assignments, may offer less job security and stability compared to direct-hire positions. Teachers should be prepared for the possibility of short-term assignments and fluctuations in their workload.

Risk of Mismatch: While agencies strive to match teachers with suitable schools and positions, there is always a small risk of a mismatch. This could involve differences in school culture, teaching approach, or expectations. Teachers should be prepared to adapt to different environments and communicate openly with the agency if any issues arise.

Section 5: Alternatives to traditional agencies

The Zen Educate Advantage

Luckily, traditional recruitment agencies aren't your only option. With social enterprise Zen Educate, you can enjoy the convenience of being matched with schools in-app, and getting paid more when you work. This gives you a 'best of both worlds' scenario!

With Zen, you can also guarantee the highest quality of phone support and professional development. They're constantly creating free training for teachers and TAs, so you can upskill in SEN, behavioural management, safeguarding and loads more, meaning you stand out to schools as the best candidate.

Find out more and sign up to Zen Educate for free.


Supply teaching agencies play a vital role in connecting schools with qualified teaching professionals and providing teachers with a wide range of job opportunities. These agencies streamline the recruitment process, offer personalised job matching, and provide ongoing support and professional development. While there are pros and cons to using supply teaching agencies, they can be instrumental in advancing teachers' careers and meeting schools' staffing needs.

When considering a supply teaching agency, it is important for teachers to research and choose an agency that aligns with their career goals, values, and offers comprehensive support. By choosing an alternative to traditional agencies like Zen Educate, teachers can enhance their teaching experiences, expand their professional networks, and thrive in their chosen field of education.

Zen Educate is transforming how schools find great teachers.

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