The Liberal Democrats have written to the Education Secretary asking him to “give reassurance and guidance to supply teachers” and called for the creation of a scheme to pair supply teachers with schools in need of support.
Writing to the Secretary of State for Education, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran pointed to the open letter published this week by Wales’ Liberal Democrat Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, to supply teachers in the country and called for similar Whitehall guidance.
While some supply teachers are employed directly by schools and local authorities, many more work for agencies or are employed by umbrella companies. The Coronavirus pandemic has left many fearing for their future.
Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:
“Supply teachers are a crucial and valued part of our education system, and many of them have faced sudden unemployment in the face of COVID-19. With many of them on zero-hours contracts, they have no safety net to fall back on.
“Kirsty Williams’ open letter to supply teachers is a good step, and I’ve asked Gavin Williamson to do this for England, and issue nationwide guidance too as a priority. But guidance isn’t enough on its own.
“That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to match out-of-work supply teachers with schools in need of extra support, so they can stay open for key workers’ and vulnerable children.”
Layla’s letter below
I hope you are well, and that you’re staying safe at this time. I am writing to you to urge you to publish an open letter, and employment guidance, to supply teachers as a priority regarding COVID-19 and its impact on them.
I am sure you will have seen the open letter from our colleague Kirsty Williams AM, Wales’ Minister for Education, to supply teachers in Wales today providing them with clarification and guidance at this difficult time.
In her letter, the Minister states that ‘employment law is outside the legislative competence of Welsh Ministers and therefore advice on these matters can only issue from the UK Government.’ With that in mind, could you please commit to issuing guidance for supply teachers nationwide, including by publishing an open letter similar to Kirsty Williams’?
Whilst some supply teachers are employed directly by schools and local authorities, many more work for agencies or are employed by umbrella companies, with a significant number on zero-hours contracts.
What plans does the Government have to use these supply teachers as a resource at this time? It strikes me that a scheme to match out-of-work supply teachers with schools in need of support in order to cater for key workers’ and vulnerable children benefits both our education system and the teachers themselves.
Supply teachers are a crucial and valued part of our education system, and we must ensure they are treated as such as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
Thank you in advance for your assistance, and I look forward to hearing from you.