Mayday! Mayday! Can Schools Secure Enough Quality Educators to Cover the Impending Teacher Exodus?

As we embark on May with its bank holidays and unpredictable weather, a more concerning event casts a shadow over the education landscape: teacher resignations.

With a May 31st deadline looming, educators face a critical decision: stay put, or leave the profession altogether. Headlines paint a sobering picture – teaching assistants forced to lead classes, and the loss of funding for successful programs like Now Teach. This perfect storm leaves schools scrambling to fill vacancies just as new students arrive in September.

The situation is exacerbated by the high cost of temporary replacements. In 2022/23, schools spent a staggering £486 million on agency supply teachers – a 17% increase and the second-highest year-on-year rise in UK education spending, behind energy costs.

Fast forward to September: Newly qualified teachers secured placements months prior, yet vacancies remain as experienced educators opt out of returning to the classroom. The scramble to cover absences begins again, often relying on underpaid and poor quality educators from disproportionately costly recruitment agencies.

This cycle isn’t new, but its severity is increasing. Schools remain locked into a system where agencies charge extortionate fees to simply fill seats. The costs rise, educator quality falls, and student outcomes suffer. No one wins. 

There’s A Better Way

Teacher absences are inevitable, but there’s a more cost-effective solution to covering them – one that prioritises quality educators and reduces stress on school leaders.

Beginning with a free absence audit powered by our Absence AI™, SupplyWell analyses anonymised school absence data across the academic year, identifying key trends. This data-driven approach helps predict upcoming absences from which SupplyWell can build a “Flexible Workforce” of quality educators. These pre-vetted, top-tier educators seamlessly integrate into school teams, ready to cover absences. In return, they receive fair compensation and comprehensive support from SupplyWell.

The Beautiful Game

SupplyWell’s CEO, Mike Heverin, likens the Flexible Workforce to modern day football squads…

“There are 11 starters, but 22 or more players in a squad. They all have the pre-season training, know what is required of them at any given moment and can replace a starting 11 player with minimum disruption to the success of the club and what they are trying to achieve that season. The Flexible Workforce works in the same way, it allows Trusts to have their starting teachers and a dedicated group of squad teachers just for their MAT, they know the schools, communities and are fully part of the first team squad.”

Supply As A Subscription

SupplyWell’s Flex subscription model enables MATs to trim supply recruitment expenses. By planning ahead, MATs avoid last-minute agency fees. The bigger the MAT the larger the saving but in one instance SupplyWell has been able to save a MAT of seven schools over £30k in the last academic year. These are savings that can be redirected to cover other essential expenditures.

The state of education recruitment and retention impacts everyone within the school ecosystem – parents, teachers, headteachers, MAT CEOs, but most importantly the students and their futures. Change is challenging, but inaction is costlier. It’s time to build a better system for our schools.

Take action and book your

SupplyWell Absence Audit

It’s completely free and

there’s no obligation to sign up

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