What actions is the Welsh Government taking to implement recommendations of the taskforce into supply teaching?
The Welsh Government is committed to establishing and maintaining an effective workforce in schools and to improve learner outcomes. Work to support the supply workforce is an important part of that commitment.
Under the Staffing in Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2006 school governing bodies and local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that they employ sufficient numbers of individuals with the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience to meet the needs of the school. This includes the arrangements for deploying temporary fixed-term and short-term supply staff to cover absence as required.
In determining how to spend their delegated budgets schools can use the services of commercial supply agencies to meet their needs; others employ supply staff direct or use local authority supply lists where they exist. Arrangements differ markedly across Wales depending on local needs, geographical constraints, language and subject requirements. Under the flexibilities within the current legislative framework the Welsh Government is unable to force schools or local authorities to employ supply staff directly or to maintain local authority controlled supply lists. However, guidance is available on the effective management of school workforce attendance to assist the governing body or local authority in managing the staffing of the school taking account of local factors as it sees fit.
The Welsh Government does not collect information on the average daily rate of pay for supply teachers across Wales. The Supply Model Taskforce at the time of reporting said that approximately half of all temporary teachers were employed under the terms of the statutory School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document via employment contracts directly with the school and are, in the main, paid according to their last teaching role pay point via the local authority payroll. Where schools contract the services of a commercial supply agency, teachers are employed by the Agency via a contract of employment detailing the levels of pay and the terms and conditions that apply. Commercial supply agencies are bound by all UK and EU employment law requirements and we expect the Welsh public sector to have regard to the Welsh Government's recently published guidance on the Code of Practice for Ethical Employment in Supply Chains. The plans for devolved teachers' pay and conditions to Wales will afford the opportunity to consider the pay for supply teachers in more detail.
In implementing the Taskforce recommendations we are supporting the professional development of supply teachers and reviewing policy on how we support NQTs during induction. We have implemented roll-out of arrangements for all supply teachers; however they are sourced, to have personal access to resources and opportunities available on Hwb.
We are also looking into options for introducing quality assurance standards and regulatory requirements for supply. Work is also underway to develop ways of building capacity in the system to support our schools to meet their supply needs in a more coordinated, collaborative and sustainable way, while exploring how NQTs may be employed on a regional cluster basis to better manage absence, particularly in primary schools.
A Working Group, which includes representatives of the wider education sector, has been established to support the implementation of the Taskforce's recommendations and to address related issues.