All authorities bar one (Denbighshire) responded to the request. The figures showed:

  • £113,948,515 was spent on agency supply staff in the above period;
  • Two authorities, Neath Port Talbot and Newport, won’t payroll supply teachers directly, forcing schools to go to agencies. In Wrexham, supply teachers can only be paid directly in certain circumstances;
  • Eight authorities give no guidance to schools on the employment and payment of supply teachers.

NEU National Executive Member, Neil Foden, said:

“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.

“When supply teachers are often forced to work for much less pay than then they would receive if they were on a contract in a school, it’s little wonder that schools report increasing shortages of supply teachers. I have come across cases where Headteachers of small rural primaries have stopped going to meetings and courses because there are no supply teachers available to cover their absence.

“The Welsh Government is investing significantly in professional development for teachers but this exciting agenda will fall flat if schools can’t release them because no suitable cover is available.

“We call on all local authorities to ensure that payroll arrangements are in place for schools to be able to engage their own supply teachers, paid at the appropriate daily rate.

“Before long too many parents will be asking: “who’s teaching my child today?” They won’t like the answer.”

ENDS