A smiling primary school teacher sitting at a table with young students

Can Supply Teachers Work for Schools and Agencies At the Same Time?

A question we get asked a lot is ‘can a supply teacher work for schools and agencies at the same time?’


We thought we’d answer that question in detail.


Yes, supply teachers can work for schools and agencies at the same time. In fact, they can work with as many agencies as they want as well.


At Simply Supply, we have a contract for services instead of a permanent contract of employment.


Since we can’t guarantee work, we don’t tie our supply teachers into a contract of employment. However, ‘no guarantee of work’ doesn’t mean ‘no work’! We are very busy most weeks of the school year.


In fact, given the nature of temporary supply work, we can tailor it to suit your individual needs as a supply teacher.


Even though you can work with as many agencies as you want, we do recommend that you stick to one or two agencies, instead of signing up indiscriminately. It’s better to try an agency for a while and then if you aren’t happy with the amount and quality of work they can provide, you can look for another one.


How Do We Ensure That You Work Smoothly Directly With Schools and Us?


As mentioned, the one bit of advice we give all our supply teachers is to try and not register with too many agencies to avoid a conflict of interest and too many different charges to the one school. If you do work with more than one agency, try to keep the work you do for each separate, including any direct work you may do with schools.


As Simply Supply has a good reputation and is popular with schools and nurseries in Hampshire, we often get schools referring supply teachers from other agencies to us.


If such customers approach us, we always advise them on the relevant regulations, including possible agency transfer fees and charges, and how it could impact a teacher’s work. This way, we ensure that our customers are aware of all the various factors that could affect them.


We also encourage all supply teachers to communicate if they have any concerns and problems to their agency, so they can be resolved. You can nurture a better working relationship if you talk instead of moving from agency to agency.


How Do You Decide Which Agency To Work With?




Certain agencies are not always upfront with their supply teachers. They might not inform them of their rights, or pay less than the industry standard. While you may be aware of the pay rates, laws, and regulations yourself, you cannot rely on such an agency to look after your interests.


Since supply teaching is a close-knit industry, you can always verify the reputation of an agency by talking to other supply teachers and client schools to find out how well an agency treats all of its customers.




If an agency is honest in its dealings with teachers and schools, it is going to be popular. Such an agency will have more work since schools and nurseries will obviously prefer to deal with it instead of other lesser-known or less reputable recruitment companies.


If you haven’t heard of an agency, unless you find out great things about it from a select few, chances are it won’t be able to get you a lot of work.


Pay Rates


Supply teacher pay rates may vary slightly from agency to agency as some agencies might negotiate a higher charge rate to a school to give good supply teachers a slightly higher pay rate.


We explained how we calculate our supply teacher pay, but in general, it depends on the sector the teacher works in and the subject they teach.


These are the sectors for teachers to work in:


  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Special Education
  • Nursery


The pay rate is different for each sector. Also, since there is a shortage of teachers in some secondary subjects, like maths and science, as suggested above agencies may be able to negotiate a better pay rate for those teachers by charging more.


november teacher checking student - Can Supply Teachers Work for Schools and Agencies At the Same Time?


Why Should You Stick To A Few Quality Agencies?


While there is nothing wrong with working with more than one agency, there are a few problems that you might encounter if there are too many agencies involved.


Refusing Multiple Offers


The first problem you would face is the volume of work calls you get. If the agencies are effective, you could be bombarded with calls for work every day.


In this case, if you were getting too many offers from multiple agencies, you’d have to refuse some (or rather, most) of them. When agencies get too many refusals from a teacher, they may start prioritising others who are readily available.


This means you lose the advantage you were hoping for when you registered with multiple agencies anyway.


Transfer Fee Complication


Working with multiple agencies could get in the way of you being offered a direct contract from the school since it may not want to pay the transfer fee to more than one agency.


Let’s say you’re a supply teacher registered with a few different agencies but going to the same school through most or all of them. If you’re offered a job at that school, the transfer fee becomes very complicated, as the school might have to pay multiple agencies in order to hire you directly.


In such a case, working with only one, or maybe two agencies could be to your advantage.

What is a Transfer Fee?

All agencies have terms of business. As part of these terms, there are three types of charges to schools:


Daily Charge Rates For Temporary Supply Teachers


Daily charge rates are for ad hoc or short-term supply teaching roles, where the supply teachers are paid a daily rate for the number of days they work.


The agency charge rate factors in the daily pay rate for the teacher. The charge rate also includes the holiday pay, the employer’s National Insurance contribution, pension contribution, cost of running the payroll, and gross profit margin.


Permanent Introduction Fee


A permanent introduction fee is charged when the supply agency finds a suitable candidate to be employed on a direct contract by the school. This fee is for our services where we advertise for the position, pre-screen, interview, and select a few suitable candidates for the school to interview. This is a one-off fee that is only charged if the school likes one of our candidates and offers them the role.


Transfer Fee


When an agency supplies a school with a temporary cover supply teacher, the school has the option of hiring the person as a directly employed teacher; although there is no obligation to do so.


It can do so without having to pay any fee to the agency if an agreed ‘period of extended hire’ is put in place, or if the supply teacher doesn’t work at the school for a ‘relevant period’ (a pre-determined period of time during which an agency can charge a transfer fee for the introduction made).


Once a transfer fee is paid or a period of extended hire has been completed, the school can employ the supply teacher at any time with no additional costs.


Advantages of the Period of Extended Hire


Many schools appreciate having the supply teacher on a Period of Extended Hire prior to offering a direct contract. This helps them ensure the teacher is the right fit for the school and gets on well. It is also an advantage to the candidate in terms of ensuring the school is the right fit for them.


There is no fee to pay at the end of an agreed Period of Extended Hire.


Further Reading


How Do Supply Agencies Work Out How Much to Pay?

Introduction and Transfer Fee Explained

Rate Transparency and Fair Pay for Teachers


At Simply Supply, we try and keep our processes and policies very transparent. If you have any questions about your rights as an agency supply teacher, get in touch with us today and we will try to give you honest and reliable advice.

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