Nearly every headteacher we speak to has one question that keeps coming up: why do people supply teach? We ask all our supply teachers and teaching assistants why they do supply, so we ran the numbers for both teachers and teaching assistants to find out for ourselves. It turns out there are some common misconceptions about why teachers choose to go into supply teaching. Here we put the record straight with the real reasons teachers and teaching assistants teach supply.

The reasons qualified teachers choose to supply teach

The top reason teachers choose to do daily or long-term supply work, with nearly a third of responses, is really transitional: they are interested in permanent, full-time teaching jobs and teaching supply helps them find the right school, gain experience in different environments and get paid while finding the job that suits them best.

This is closely followed, with almost a quarter of responses, by teaching supply helping to support another career or further studies.

The reasons teaching assistants choose to supply teach

For teaching assistants the reasons are more varied with 23% being graduates gaining experience with the intention of becoming a teacher, followed by 20% choosing to work in supply while they try to find the right permanent teaching assistant job.

The remaining significant reasons are teaching assistants with experience overseas moving to the UK (18%), supporting another career or further studies (16%), and using supply as it provides some flexibility around childcare (14%).