Reasons To Be A Supply Teacher

20 February 2024

Gaining employment in education doesn’t mean that you have to become an employed teacher. Supply teaching offers individuals the opportunity to experience many of the perks of a teaching career, but maintain flexibility and a diverse working week.

Whether you’re taking your first steps into a career in education, are an Early Careers Teacher (ECT) looking to secure your first position and complete your statutory induction period, or an experienced classroom practitioner looking for a change, this guide will help you to understand the benefits that teaching on a supply basis can bring.

What Is Supply Teaching?

Supply teachers step in and cover staff absences in schools, allowing pupils to continue learning while their regular teachers are absent. Supply teachers are utilised when it would be inappropriate or inefficient to hire a permanent member of staff into the role.

The types of supply teaching varies and is dependent on the requirements of the school. Schools must respond to both unplanned absence when staff are unable to work at short notice, for example when they are taken ill. They may also be required to cover pre-planned staff absence, for example when a regular teacher is off for maternity leave.

What Are The Benefits Of Supply Teaching?

You may be wondering, “why should I work as a supply teacher?” It’s a good question, and many of our prospective candidates ask the same thing. There are a number of benefits of supply teaching, which help many people decide that it’s the right path for them.


Supply teaching offers educators greater flexibility compared to traditional teaching roles. With the ability to work full or part-time hours, accept or decline days at work, and work half days, it’s much easier to fit the role around other commitments such as your family. Just ask any teacher how easy it is to do the school run with their kids when they need to be at school ready to teach their first class!

Varied Workplaces

As a supply teacher, it’s possible to work in a different school each day of the week and to teach a range of different topics. This variety is often craved by teachers who have spent many years working in one school, teaching one subject.

However, many of our candidates in the early stages of a teaching career also appreciate being exposed to a wide-range of schools. It also helps educators to figure which kinds of school suit them and their teaching skills; for example whether you prefer large or small schools, SEND or mainstream establishments, and even which subjects you want to teach.

Professional Development

Many of our candidates who go on to secure full-time roles in schools comment that the wide variety of schools they were placed in while working as a supply teacher allowed them to develop professionally, as they were exposed to a much wider-range of settings, styles and pupil demographics.

Working with different staff each day allows supply teachers to absorb more teaching ideas, strategies and generally develop good practice. In addition, working in different catchment areas with a different intake of pupils, with different educational needs, allows educators to gain experiences that may take years to gain when working in one setting.

These experiences can make a candidate more desirable when applying for permanent roles later on.

Career Opportunities

Working in different school settings allows you to network with other teachers and school leaders. This can be invaluable if you want to secure a longer-term or even permanent role later on. Many of our candidates go on to secure permanent employment in the schools that they are placed with, as they’ve had the opportunities to impress staff that an external applicant wouldn’t have.

Your supply teacher pay will allow you to earn a living while pursuing these opportunities, which makes it a good choice for those who want to gain exposure in different workplaces.


Depending on the nature of your supply contract, you may not be expected to plan lessons or mark work. This is definitely true for supply teachers who cover unplanned absence, also known as cover supervisors.

This lack of marking and planning drastically reduces teacher workload, allowing more free time and flexibility to enjoy other activities.


Leading on from the lack of marking and planning expectations, many of our supply teachers tell us that without these extra workload pressures, they can enjoy more focus on the teaching and building positive relationships with pupils.

Making a positive impact on young lives is the reason why many people go into the profession, and our more experienced teachers who have picked up extra responsibilities throughout their career are grateful to regain this focus on making an impact.

Registering As A Supply Teacher

To register as a supply teacher, you can contact us, and one of our specialist education recruitment consultants will be able to advise you and get your started.