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Why Supply?

Andrew King
10 May 2022
5 min read
Why Supply?

If you’re looking for a flexible way to balance your career in education with pursuing extracurricular hobbies, studies or caring responsibilities, teaching supply might just be the perfect job for you. We talked with some Teachers and Teaching Assistants to find out supply’s biggest advantages.


You can set your own calendar, meaning you have the flexibility to set time for other commitments in your life.

Two of our supply staff explain in their own words:

‘Is it convenient? It’s definitely very convenient! Because I get to choose my own timetable, my own flexibility, if for example my son is unwell – they catch lots of bugs in school! – I don’t feel guilty about having to call in my school and call in sick and feel guilty for not being there for my class, falling behind with work etc., so definitely very convenient and something I would recommend.’ – Teresa, Supply Teacher

‘I enjoy working at different schools and building relationships with staff and pupils. If I don't enjoy a particular school, being a supply TA enables me to move on immediately. I love the flexibility and freedom of only working the days I want to.’ – Ron, Teaching Assistant & Cover Supervisor


Knowing exactly what you want in your education career can be hard, particularly if it’s early days. When working supply, your average workday can vary hugely depending on the school itself, the borough you’re in, and what year group you’re teaching:

Aaliyah told us:

‘Supply teaching enables me to experience many schools with different class sizes, cultural backgrounds and abilities, and exposes me to different styles of lessons, classroom organisations and routines.’ – Aaliyah, Supply Teacher

This gives you the opportunity to find out exactly what works best for you!

‘If you’re not sure which area or which year groups you want to teach in, supply is a good way to go, because you get to see how they operate and you can think “actually I think I prefer Year 5 to Year 1”, for whatever reason you may have!’ – Teresa, Supply Teacher

Less hassle.

Some of the most stressful aspects of working in education relate to planning, target setting and meetings. Opting to work supply gives you more autonomy, reducing many of the time-consuming and stress-inducing tasks of teaching.

And, as Dame Alison Peacock (CEO of the Chartered College of Teachers) explained to us, the fact that you are a supply teacher or TA does not prevent schools from making you feel included:

‘As a teacher who’s moving between several schools or working part time, it’s quite important to have a sense of being part of the community. Just because you’re a Supply Teacher doesn’t mean you’re not valued, it just means that you’re not in a permanent contract at the minute!’

Where do I start?

With so many traditional supply agencies, it’s hard to know which to choose. Ideally, you want high quality professional development, competitive and transparent pay, as little commute time as possible, and succinct, in-depth details of the school you’re working at.

Zen Educate is a quick and easy app-based alternative to agencies offering all of these things and more, with Teacher, Tutor, TA and Cover Supervisor roles in London, Manchester and Birmingham. Sign up today to find out more.

We look forward to working with you!

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