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Frequently asked questions

We’ve tried to list the most common questions we have been asked by our UK and international candidates over the years. If your question is not answered below, please contact us and we will get the most relevant person in the business to get back to you with an answer just as soon as we can. Thanks!.

How do I book a Supply Teacher or Support Staff?

To book a supply teacher or support staff, just call your local branch and let us know what type of candidate you require, what key skills your pupils need and also the values and ethos of your school so that we can make to right match, helping you to impact learning.

What will my Supply Specialist cost?

The cost of your supply specialist will depend on the key skills you require, and also the experience of the candidate needed.  

Please contact your local branch for a direct quote.

Why would I work with Supply Desk?

There are so many reasons why tens of thousands of teachers and support staff, and schools, choose to work with Supply Desk, including:

  • Established for over 20 years
  • We will endeavor to find you work that suits your skills.   You will offer choice and variety of assignments.
  • We pay market rates that not only reflect your skills and experience to also match the local market, giving you as much work as possible.
  • Guaranteed Payment - we offer guaranteed payment contracts to supply teachers who meet the criteria.
  • Continued Professional Development (CPD) – we offer regular CPD events; Introduction to SEN, Team Teach, De-excalation techniques, Cover Supervisor Training, Safeguarding, Teaching Assistant and Support Staff Training to name just a few of our courses.
  • Our branch staff build rapport with all of their candidates, and work tirelessly to match them with the right school in the right location.

Our Mission

Our mission is to match school staffing needs with the best available candidates and to work together with teachers, teaching assistants and schools with the objective of raising standards.

Our Vision

We want Supply Desk to be recognised as a highly innovative education-staffing solutions supplier and to be ranked as No 1 in the UK amongst supply agencies for customer service.

How do I register?

To register as a teacher or educational support staff, simply call your local branch and make an appointment with your specialist consultant, who will take you through our registration process.

What do I need to bring with me for my Supply Desk Interview?

  • completed application form – we can send you this beforehand to complete at home.
  • Up to date CV/Resume
    • You must cover the last 10 years of employment history, or back to compulsory education – whichever is the most recent. For dates, please make sure that you include the months and years. We also ask that you provide details of any gaps in your employment history over the last 10 years.
  • Names and contact details for your references: We need to obtain 2 written professional references to cover the previous 10yearsAt least 1 must be from your most recent employer. Not having the correct information may mean a significant delay in your registration. It is important that we are able to obtain these references within 2 weeks, so please advise your referees prior to us applying for them.
  • Qualifications –We will need to see all original qualifications that are legally required for the job: PGCE/QTS/QTLS/Degree Certificate/UK NARIC check for all overseas candidates/NNEB/NVQ.
  • Induction Certificate – We need to have evidence that your NQT induction period has been completed. (This is only required for those teachers that qualified after 1999).
  • Proof of Identity – We need to see oneof the following original documents; Valid Passport, UK or EU Driving Licence, Full form birth certificate, if there have been any name changes – documents supporting this i.e. marriage certificates, adoption documention etc.
  • Proof of address – We need to see two original documents (one proof of address must be no older than 3 months old and we cannot accept insurance documents or mobile phone bills); i.e. Utility Bill, Bank Statement, Council Tax Bill etc.
  • Proof of National Insurance number – We need to see one of the following documents; P46/ P60 issued in the last 12 months, National Insurance Card
  • Teacher Reference Number (TRN) – This is for the purpose of our on-line check with the National College for Teaching and Leadership to ensure all teachers registered have a valid qualification (QTS or QTLS) and that there are no active restrictions against them.
  • Education and Training Foundation Membership Number (formerly IFL number) –This is applicable to FE teachers only.
  • Current Enhanced DBS Certificate – we are only able to accept an Enhanced DBS check via another agency/employer as long as you are subscribed to the DBS Update Service. We must also have sight of your original Enhanced DBS certificate. If you are not able to provide us with the original document and you are not subscribed, we will need to process a new DBS check. The current charge is £48.00.
  • Overseas Candidates – If you have worked/lived overseas for the last 5 years for a period of 6 months or more, we need you to obtain an Overseas Police Check. If this cannot be obtained then an appropriate letter of Good Conduct must be obtained.
  • Overseas Trained Teachers – Evidence of applying to the National College for Teaching and Leadership for the award of QTS is required. Please refer to this link.
  • Bank/Building Society details – We operate a weekly BACs system so your correct bank details are required.

How do I prepare for my Supply Desk interview?

The main part of our recruitment process is your formal interview which will last approximately 60-90 minutes. This will be conducted by a fully trained consultant.

  • The aim of the interview is find out about your needs and to determine your suitability to work for Supply Desk.
  • You will be asked a series of formal questions related to your experiences, teaching strategies and methods. We have high expectations and strive to provide only the best candidates for the students in our schools.
  • Please take the time to prepare for your interview.

For advice on how to prepare for your school interview, see our Job Interview Preparation Tips.

How can I contact Supply Desk?

Our office hours are from 7.00am until 5.30pm GMT Monday to Friday throughout the year, except Bank Holidays.

At Supply Desk we also operate an on-call service until 9.00pm Monday to Sunday. Any message left after 9.00pm will be picked up at 7.00am the following morning and dealt with immediately.

See your local branch details for a local number.

Do I have to pay to join Supply Desk?

No – the service we provide is free of charge to all candidates.

No agency should charge for their recruitment services.

How often will I be working?

At Supply Desk we endeavour to get you as much work as possible, dependant on your specific needs.  We are very busy all year round, and that is why we continually recruit supply staff.

What if I can only work part-time?

It does not matter how many days you are available, we are still keen to hear from you.

At Supply Desk we aim to fulfil your needs, and that means finding you work on the days that suit you.

Make sure you contact your local office regularly to advise when you are available.

What if I find work myself?

Simply let us know and we will make a note to contact you when you are available again.

You will still be registered with Supply Desk should you want us to look for your work in the future.

I have registered with you before – what do I need to do to get back on to your books?

If you have previously registered with or worked for Supply Desk we will need to re-register you.

Depending on how long it has been, we may need you to come into the office again.

For the purpose of Safeguarding we will need to obtain references to cover your work history or any gaps in your employment. We may also need to complete a new Enhanced DBS check.

Please contact your local branch for individual guidance.

How often will I get paid?

All Supply Desk teachers and support staff get paid on a weekly basis.

Teachers are paid at a daily rate discussed with us at registration.

How much will I get paid?

Teachers and Support Staff rates of pay are based on experience and qualifications.

At your interview at Supply Desk  we will take this into account and ensure you receive a competitive rate. We also consider market rates.

How can I ensure I am paid on time?

To ensure you are paid on time, you must sign in with reception when you arrive at the school, either in a book on or on the on-line school system.

We check with the school that you have arrived safely and we ensure that the school signs your timesheet on a weekly basis to ensure you get paid promptly.

The majority of our clients authorise our timesheets on an online system so there is no need to carry timesheets with you.  However, you will be expected to fill a weekly online timesheet outlining your work for the week to our payroll providers.

Do you offer a Guaranteed Pay Scheme?

In some circumstances we are able to offer a Guaranteed Pay Scheme (GPS).   Speak to your local branch about this to discuss the criteria.

Does Supply Desk contribute to a pension scheme?

In line with UK legislation we will auto-enroll our employees into a workplace pension scheme providing they meet the entry criteria.

As an employer Supply Desk also contributes to the employee’s pension fund. Employees are free to opt-out of the scheme once enrolled.

What is your safeguarding policy?

At Supply Desk we have following a stringent registration and vetting process, and a comprehensive safeguarding policy, when recruiting for education staff.

Our Registration and Vetting process can be read about here.

Our Safeguarding Policy can be accessed here.

How do I give feedback on my teacher or support worker?

Your consultant will always request feedback, and will be happy to receive feedback on every candidate placed. Feedback is important for us as a company, so we can understand how well matched the candidate is to the role, your school and your pupils.
Our aim is to ensure we are providing the best quality staffing match to your needs. We pass on all feedback to our candidates - whether it be positive or any concerns - and may use this feedback to tailor the support and training on offer to our candidates.
As a company committed to quality we also have a STAR rating process linked to our timesheet approval so that you can rate an individual quickly and simply on-line too.


As a supply teacher, do I need to plan and mark?

For daily supply bookings in secondary school there is no marking or planning.  For daily primary school bookings  you will need to mark all of the work that your pupils have produced whilst with you.

Usually there is no planning but occasionally schools may ask you to bring your own plans to deliver.  Whichever sector you work in it is always good to have lessons with you as a back-up.  Day to day supply teaching is about being flexible and adaptable! See our tips on how to be a super supply teacher!

For long term assignments you would undertake the role of the class teacher so you would be expected to plan and mark.

What client schools do you work with?

We work with over 5000 schools, academies, colleges, trusts and local authorities in the State and  Independent sectors throughout England and Wales covering Early Years through to post-16 both mainstream and Special Needs.  We also place candidates overseas, particularly in the Middle East.

What teaching positions are available?

We have a wide variety of work available ranging from support work  to class teaching and senior appointments. Please search our current job listings, or speak with your local branch about the type of role you are looking for.

What types of contract do you offer?

We have a wide variety of contracts available – temporary, short term, and long term bookings  - which can be full and/or part time.  We also have a permanent contracts team for candidates looking to make their next career move.

Do I need a DBS?

It is essential for all of our applicants to hold or be willing to apply for an enhanced DBS to adhere to our strict vetting and safeguarding standards.