Wales’s largest education union has welcomed the introduction of the National Procurement Service’s New Framework Agreement for supply teachers which went live in August 2019, but deplores the reports received of schools being given the opportunity to ignore the Framework by agencies offering to engage staff “off-framework” in order to pay less than the minimum agreed in the contract. The National Education Union Cymru has also called on the Welsh Government to return to the direct employment of supply teachers where they are paid according to experience and able to contribute to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:
“Pay and conditions for supply teachers is an emotive issue for our members. Supply members clearly welcome the moves Welsh Government have made in terms of minimum pay rates for supply teachers and the abolition of the Swedish Derogation.
“However, we will be watching agencies very carefully with regards to their compliance with the framework contract. Using agencies is a waste of public money, and it is clear our members need Welsh Government to step-up and ensure that over the longer-term we see a return to directly employed staff.”
The text of the motion to conference on this issue was as follows:
Motion 22. Supply Teachers
Conference Cymru welcomes the introduction of the National Procurement Service’s New Framework Agreement for supply teachers (the Framework) which went live in August 2019. Twenty-seven agencies are listed in the agreement and they have been given specific areas in Wales in which to operate.
Conference Cymru welcomes the uplift in pay to the minimum amount on the Main Pay Range in the Framework, as now agency supply teachers including FE and tutors who have Qualified Teacher Status will have their professional status recognised by being on a national range. Conference Cymru also welcomes the abolition of the Swedish Derogation and applauds Welsh Government for removing this. In England, agency staff need to wait until April 2020 to benefit from the recommendations of the Taylor Review. Conference Cymru also welcomes the transparency of agency fees.
Conference Cymru believes that this should not be the maximum, but that experience should be rewarded appropriately, and supply teachers should be paid according to experience.
Conference Cymru reaffirms its commitment to campaign for the return to the direct employment of supply teachers where they are paid according to experience and able to contribute to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
Conference Cymru applauds an Executive member’s recent Freedom of Information requests to all 22 Local Authorities in Wales, where he found that almost £114 million of taxpayers’ money was given to supply teacher agencies in the three years to August 2018. Conference Cymru asserts that the sum spent on private agencies is a national scandal, compounded by the fact that some local authorities effectively force their schools to use agencies because they won’t payroll supply teachers themselves.
Conference Cymru therefore instructs the Executive through the Wales Committee and NEU Cymru to:
- Put pressure on Welsh Government for a return to direct employment of supply teachers, to be paid according to experience with access to the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme.
- Write to all supply members, to urge that all teachers and support staff only work for agencies that are listed on the Framework, to ensure that as many members as possible get access to the new terms and conditions.
- Campaign for the pay of experienced teachers employed by agencies on the Framework not to be limited to the minimum amount on the Main Pay Range as their qualifications and experience need to be properly remunerated.
- Write to all Headteachers and governing bodies to remind them of the benefits of direct employment of supply teachers.
i. Add the following to the end of the first paragraph:
“Conference Cymru however deplores the reports received of schools being given the opportunity to ignore the Framework by agencies offering to engage staff “off-framework”.
ii. Add new point 5:
- Write to all supply staff and schools to encourage reporting and whistleblowing in circumstances where agencies are offering schools and staff the opportunity to work “off-framework”.
- David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ. Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07815 071164. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mary van den Heuvel, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ. Tel: 029 20491818. Email: Mary.VandenHeuvel@neu.org.uk