Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 09.44.47With a recent *YouGov/NUT survey revealing more than half of teachers (53%) are ready to leave the profession, Newcastle-based supply teaching agency PK education has revealed that supply teaching is helping retain the skills and experience of experienced teachers in the classroom.

PK education, which is based on Collingwood Street in Newcastle, has seen an increase of teachers with five or more years’ experience registering for supply in 2015. Teachers with 5+ years’ experience now make up 20% of its workforce. Of the teachers registered with PK education, more than a quarter (26%) cited a better work/life balance as the reason they had become supply teachers

According to the NUT/YouGov Teacher Survey on Government Education Policy, published on Sunday 4 October, 53% of teachers are thinking of quitting in the next couple of years. The top reasons given were “volume of workload” (61%) and “seeking a better work/life balance” (57%).

Karl Housley, director of PK education explained: Supply work was often seen as a stepping stone for a teacher enabling them to remove themselves from the industry temporarily. Now supply work is seen as a legitimate career choice for those individuals that are passionate about teaching but hate the red tape. It is now being viewed as a lifestyle choice.

“We have seen a big increase in the last 10 years of teachers choosing to leave permanent positions and become supply teachers. Many of our candidates who have left permanent roles to join us us are telling us that student behaviour left them unable to do what they entered the profession to do. Professionally, supply teaching allows teachers to fully focus on what really matters – the teaching.”

The supply teacher agency, which has offices throughout the north of England, conducted its own **survey earlier this year to gain a better understanding of why teachers choose supply work and found that while the paperwork, red tape and long hours are driving teachers to the brink of despair, supply teaching is enabling them to continue do what they love – teach, yet regain a work/life balance.  

One such teacher includes Kenny Jobson (56) from Chester-le-Street, who is registered with PK education. He explains: “I left contractual teaching in 2008 after becoming ill with stress brought on by workload. It was a very difficult situation and supply teaching offered me both a financial and career life line. I didn’t want to leave the profession entirely because I love teaching. When I began supply teaching I didn’t know how long I’d do it for. I thought it would be a temporary stop gap but it has worked very well for me.

“Initially supply teaching enabled me to leave a difficult situation while still having the security of an income. Since then however, it has given me both options and opportunity. Having a supportive agency behind me has also given me confidence to experience new areas of teaching which I may not have considered in a permanent role.

“As a teacher you also have to act as a counsellor, doctor and parent and because of the varied and number of schools I work in I am constantly able to refine those skills with a very different cross section of students making me, I believe, a better teacher.”

Earlier this year Kenny was named the PK education North East Supply Teacher of the Year after being voted for the prestigious title by peers, students, schools and parents.

Karl Housley added: “Kenny has worked continuously as a supply teacher since joining us in 2011. He fast became a reliable and valued member of the North East’s team of teachers and has undertaken a variety of long term assignments over the years.  He is ever the professional, highly praised by each school he is placed in and much loved by the students he teaches.  He has been a credit to the schools he has taught in.”

Established in 2005, PK education is a leading teaching and support staff supplier with five regional offices in the North East, South Yorkshire, East Midlands, North West and the West Midlands.

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