NEU checklist for supply members

If you are considering an offer of supply work or are asked by an agency to say whether you are available for supply work, read this NEU checklist for supply members before responding.

NEU position on September 2021 opening

The NEU has advised members that adequate safety measures continue to be needed in order to limit transmission in the workplace and more widely – regardless of the Government’s relaxation of safety mitigations in schools and wider society.  The NEU advises a precautionary approach, so that schools should maintain and improve measures for cleaning, ventilation etc, and also measures for some social distancing around the school even though that is not now specifically required by Government.  Supply staff should refer to the joint union safety advice for further details. It is particularly important that you see, and are given paid time to scrutinise, details of safety protocols and routines any school has adopted before the start of the school day and have the chance to ask questions and clarify anything that is vague or unclear

Supply staff and pay

If you are struggling financially contact the NEU hardship fund, established to help members facing financial difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

My agency is refusing to pay me statutory sick pay (SSP) whilst I self-isolate. What can I do?

The advice is clear and can be accessed here.

If you must self-isolate because you (or someone in your household or support bubble) has symptoms or has tested positive, or have been in contact with someone with coronavirus you are entitled to SSP. You are not entitled to SSP if you are self-isolating following a trip abroad.

If your agency is refusing to pay you SSP you can contact the HMRC Statutory Payment Disputes Team.

What is the self-isolation support scheme, and am I eligible?

The self-isolation support scheme is a one-off payment of £500 available to individuals who:

  • Meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria, or
  • Qualify for a discretionary payment because they cannot work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating.

The scheme is administered by local authorities.

Schools should provide to their local authority Self Isolation Service Hub the names of people who have been instructed to self-isolate. This will enable those people to obtain a NHS test & trace account ID so an application for a payment under the scheme can be made to their local authority.  

I’m thinking of tutoring under the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Do you have any advice?

Seek direct employment with a school or college if you can. The NTP has been dominated by commercial agencies and members have reported widespread exploitation of trainee teachers and supply staff under the tutoring scheme. If you can’t find direct engagement, ask the agency some questions before you commit to NTP training and tutoring.

Ask the agency to confirm in writing whether you will be paid to attend the training programme, and how many hours the training entails. Ask whether you will be directed, as a tutor, by a class teacher; whether you will be expected to plan and prepare for tutor sessions and if so whether you will be paid for this preparation time; whether you will be expected to assess pupil progress and if so whether you will be paid for this assessment time; and whether you will be paid for waiting time between tutor sessions. Ask whether you will be paid at national pay rates for teachers or teaching assistants, as appropriate.

If you decide to go ahead with tutoring, keep a detailed record of the date and time that you have been engaged in the training programme and in tutoring pupils, including preparation time, tutoring time, assessment time and any time meeting with classroom teachers or other school staff.

Keep in touch with your local NEU branch or district and seek advice if you think you have been underpaid.