Esme Bianchi-Barry, CEO of Affinity Workforce

With the education sector battling through a recruitment challenge, fuelled by a shortage of full-time teaching applicants, schools and MATs are increasingly relying on supply teachers to fill the gap.

Supply teachers provide an essential cost-effective solution across a tightly funded sector, however, it’s vital that teaching quality remains high, and the lack of a permanent teacher in the classroom doesn’t impact the learning taking place.

At Affinity Workforce, we’ve been helping schools and academies to recruit great teachers for more than 25 years. However, we have seen in recent years that there is a growing disparity between the training that supply teachers receive compared to their counterparts in school.

Supply teachers are often only provided with mandatory training as standard through their agencies, meaning there’s potential for them to miss training sessions which permanent members of staff would be required to attend. This can lead to supply teachers missing crucial information such as new ways of teaching and curriculum developments. Schools and MATs on the other hand, must designate five inset days for their staff’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per academic year, with each of these five days being allocated six hours of directed time. This means that they are always up to speed on the latest teaching standards.

However, with the right focus on CPD for short-term candidates, this skills gap can be narrowed, providing schools with access to a flexible and highly qualified workforce.

The requirement for up-to-date training has been highlighted more than ever as a result of COVID-19. During multiple lockdowns, under enormous pressures and mass disruption, teaching staff tackled the challenge of a digital learning switch head-on to support their pupils. However, some teachers struggled with their digital capabilities, which has opened up an important learning opportunity within the sector as a whole.

The potential of digital technology in teaching practice is huge and, with the right training in place, teachers will be able to deliver on it. Skilling up staff will not only build confidence in teaching via remote learning platforms but will also have a positive impact in the classroom. Teachers will be able to nurture tech skills in their pupils, leading to better online learning outcomes and building students’ digital knowledge to enable them to thrive in tomorrow’s workplace.

Mental health is another is a key area for training that has been highlighted across the pandemic. It’s essential that staff, whether permanent or supply, are trained on ways to identify if a pupil is struggling with their mental health and understand what support can be put in place to help these individuals.

Critically, schools and MATs need to have access to supply candidates who have completed the most up-to-date training within education, so they can provide exceptional teaching and support.

At Affinity Workforce, we have launched an innovative CPD course aimed at upskilling the supply teaching sector and addressing the current skills shortage. Candidates have access to our ‘CPD Supply Toolkit’ which consists of 10 live, online training sessions delivered by experienced and qualified trainers who have worked in the education sector for more than 30 years. This training is currently delivered within schools, so all candidates will have up-to-date knowledge and an understanding of new ways of working. Topics include new ways of working post-pandemic, from Google Classrooms, remote learning platforms and e-safety, through to supporting children’s mental health in a school setting.

As agencies are under no obligation to provide the same level of training for their short-term candidates as that which permanent teachers have access to, the skills gap is at risk of widening, which will impact teaching delivery and fundamentally the education of children and young people. Supply teachers who have access to a CPD programme will feel more prepared and empowered to teach a class using the latest training – which is crucial - whatever their level, age or experience.

Comments to be attributed to Esme Bianchi-Barry, CEO of Affinity Workforce

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 22 hours 8 minutes ago

The Environmental Impacts of Remote Work: Stats and Benefits: Working from home is a necessity rather than a luxury…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page