Headlines: December 17th, 2002

The education watchdog, OFSTED, found that temporary supply teachers teach a higher proportion of unsatisfactory or poor lessons than permanent teachers. In its report, Schools’ Use of Temporary Teachers, it reveals that two-thirds of secondary and one-third of primary schools rely on agency and other temporary teachers whose effectiveness is in doubt. The number of temporary teachers has increased over recent years to about four and a half per cent of the teaching force.Inspectors found that the quality of some pupils’ work had declined in approximately half of the secondary schools surveyed as a result of being taught by temporary teachers for a significant period of time. Impact on behaviour was also significant. In just over half of the secondary schools,and about one quarter of the primary schools, pupils’ attitudes to their work and behaviour were of a lower standard to those in lessons taught by permanent teachers.

Reasons for the poor quality of temporary teaching include unfamiliarity with schools and pupils, a requirement to teach age groups and subjects for which they have not been trained and a failure to understand the National Curriculum and the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. Schools make the situation worse with poor briefing on teaching programmes.

OFSTED wants schools to give better briefing for temporary teachers and to provide the guidance and support of a senior mentor especially in relation to managing classes and maintaining disciplin