You may have experience in setting up a recruitment agency or working in the recruitment industry; you may have experience as a supply or fulltime teacher yourself, any of which may have lead you to the conclusion that you’d like to set up your own supply teaching agency.
Recruitment agency experience will aid you in your business set up; however, a supply teaching agency is a niche market, and there are certain specifications you’ll need to consider before going forward.
So what might you have to consider for a supply teaching agency which you might not for recruitment agencies in other industries?
As a startup, it's possible that your team currently consists of only you or one or two more, and as any entrepreneur will know, the hours you work in the early days can often be around the clock. However, as an agency who is supplying schools, who can’t, not have a teacher to teach the class of children, you may need to provide support for your clients at more antisocial hours. With this need in mind, you might consider offering extended call hours to account for the early morning panic or late night calls.
Vetting Your Candidates
Schools will require their supply teachers to be adequately vetted and checked, and this needs to be both taken seriously and done correctly due to the nature of the job - working with minors.
One of the most basic checks is clarifying that your candidate has the right to work in the UK, you can find more information on checking this here.
Do your candidates' qualifications check out? As with any other job, you’ll want to know that your possible candidate does hold the qualifications that they claim on their applications, and that they are still valid and valid in this country.
A DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service) is a background check carried out, required of all teachers, to check for criminal records or restrictions working with children or vulnerable adults. For teachers, the enhanced with barred option needs to be selected, and this will cost £44.
The Teacher Serviced Restrictions List is another Government service which can be used to check your candidates; this will check the following:
- the award of qualified teacher status (QTS)
- completion of teacher induction
- prohibitions, sanctions and restrictions that might prevent the individual from taking part in certain activities or working in specific positions (Gov.Uk)
Encourage your supply teachers to provide as many positive references as possible, these, for obvious reasons are great to have on record to refer to when placing your candidates.
How Can You Support Your Teachers?
Building healthy relationships with your supply teachers will keep them with you, so ask yourself what your supply teaching agency can offer them to make each transition into a new school as smooth as possible. Finding out what information about new schools would be useful for them and collating this into an email prior to their arrival would be an excellent procedure to set up from the beginning.
You’ll likely have a feedback system set up for the schools who have used your services to leave their thoughts, praise and areas for improvement. While actively passing on positive feedback to your supply teachers is a positive move, when it comes to negative feedback which highlights areas for improvement, you might want to offer a form of skill development or training to encourage this improvement. At a time when skill development is both encouraged and in demand, this will show your teachers that they are valued and will improve the skill level of your team of supply teachers.
For more information on the setting up of a recruitment agency generally, this ‘Startup Recruitment Agency Checklist’ blog from New Millennia will set you on the right path!