With the current pressures facing teachers including mounting workloads, accountability measures and reforms, many are turning to other professions or considering supply teaching. And they would be right to. When considering supply teaching vs. permanent, there are many advantages of supply teaching. Supply teaching can be the answer for someone who loves being in the classroom but hates many of the other duties and stresses that come with a permanent position.

We’ve all heard horror stories when it comes to supply teaching; difficulties in behaviour management, uncooperative schools, and job insecurity being a few examples. But like any job, along with its cons, there are many pros to supply teaching that can provide enormous respite to those who are put off by many of the disadvantages of a traditional teaching role.


The main advantage of supply teaching is the immense flexibility that the role offers. You choose when you work and have the autonomy to work to your own schedule. If you hate Mondays, you no longer have to work Mondays! If you need to take a day off for other commitments, you can do so without the hassle of having to organise plans for your lesson cover. It’s because of this flexibility that many retired teachers go in to supply teaching as it offers the chance to go back in to the classroom that they miss so much while still having the freedom to enjoy retirement. It’s also a great option for those in postgraduate study, those coming from overseas as well as parents coming back in to teaching who need to fit their hours around childcare.


Supply teaching is unique in comparison to so many other jobs because of its variety: no day is ever the same. When working on supply, you can encounter a range of different schools, subjects, ages, and staff. While some prefer the comfort of the familiar staffroom and corridors, for many it is a breath of fresh air to start anew every day. Supply teaching also offers a variety of roles to suit your needs and availability including part-time, block supply or termly work; it’s not just daily supply which can be overwhelming for some.


When considering supply teaching vs. permanent, people’s assumptions about supply work often lead them to forget the many perks of the job.

  • The hours: Firstly, you get to leave at the end of the school day, unlike permanent teachers whose growing workload usually means putting countless extra hours in.
  • Work-life balance: Because you get to finish at 3pm and you don’t take work home with you, you get to achieve that almighty work-life balance that eludes so many permanent teachers.
  • No paperwork: The bane of a teacher’s life. As a supply teacher, you get to avoid all this, that means no planning, no marking, no meetings, no parent’s evenings and none of the bureaucracy that bogs so many teachers down.
  • Freedom and autonomy: As you become more familiar with the area you work in, you get to know the schools, their staff and students and will form experienced opinions on which you like and which you don’t. This means if you don’t like a certain school, you don’t have to work there in the future. This is also great if you’re working on supply while considering moving in to permanent work in the future because it basically means you get to try a school out before committing to a permanent contract.


So how much does a supply teacher earn? Supply teachers can earn relatively well in comparison to the hours worked. Supply teacher pay averages between £100- £124 a day and can go up to £150 depending on experience. Though supply teachers may not have the financial security of a full-time, permanent position, they earn well for the hours they do put in, while permanent teachers will be paid regardless of all the extra work they are expected to put in outside of school hours, extra duties and taking work home. Supply teachers also have the option of being paid on a convenient weekly basis.


All in all, it’s not really a question of whether supply teaching is good or bad, but acknowledging the benefits that come with the job (of which there are many) and weighing them up with your needs. For someone who is tired of the downsides of traditional teaching, like workload and stress, supply teaching could be the perfect solution. It allows you the joy of being in the classroom, working with hundreds of different students, while having the freedom of a good work/life balance. Before you start supply teaching, make sure you get clued up first with our supply teaching tips.

Could supply teaching be the perfect career for you?

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