Kirklees Council fork out £4m a year on supply teachers for schools
Aug 30 2010 by Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
A council spokeswoman said: “Kirklees schools are making great efforts to ensure staff absence due to sickness is kept to a minimum – reducing the need for supply teachers.
“Schools in Kirklees are also working to ensure that necessary staff training is organised to minimise the need to employ supply teachers.
“Schools take out insurance to cover the cost of supply teachers that may be required for unplanned staff absence.”
Howard Roberts, Kirklees branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said he was concerned about the use of agency staff.
He said: “We’re worried that the supply agencies are not actually paying the teachers the right rate.”
Mr Roberts defended the absence record of teachers in Kirklees.
He said: “The average is about eight absences a year which is low by local government standards.
“But every time a teacher is off, a supply teacher will have to be brought in and that’s the price you pay.”
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said: “I only worry about supply teachers when they come in to cover for long periods, for several weeks at a time.
“There are always going to be supply teachers, but the point is that they should be well trained.”