How to support your agency worker on their first day
Agency workers, are an integral part of any school or nursery and are essential when it comes to the smooth running of any establishment. However, no one can plan for every eventuality. Unforeseen sicknesses can mean that it’s a rush to fill a position.
This rush can often lead to an agency worker feeling overwhelmed on their first day. That’s why this month we wanted to explore some of the ways that schools and nurseries can support their agency staff on their first day.
Implement a formal introduction to your team
Whether this is in the form of a welcome booklet or a meeting before lessons start for the day, it’s vitally important that you introduce your new agency worker to the rest of your staff. Not only does this help them feel like their part of the team, it also means you can identify key individuals who will help during their stay.
If an agency worker feels welcomed to a new school or nursery, then they are going to be more willing to visit again, especially if you see a marked improvement in the students that they’re going to be working with.
If you’re creating a welcome booklet, it should include:
- A map of the school/nursery, including fire exit and toilet locations
- Health and Safety and fire alarm procedures
- The behaviour policy
- Log in details for any computer systems they’ll be using
- A register of pupils, or at least the number of children the agency worker is responsible for.
- Advice on which children may need additional support
- Details of who their main point of contact will be
- Timetables including breaks and lunch periods
- Details of your school or nursery’s Safeguarding policy
- Seating plans for the classrooms they’ll be teaching
This may seem like a lot of information, but if your agency worker is able to hit the ground running, then your children’s education and care won’t be disrupted.
Create a well-structured lesson plan
For a supply teacher, there’s nothing worse than entering a classroom of unfamiliar faces having been given no official handover or lesson plan of any kind. Not only does this impact the start of their lessons, but it also has a negative impact on the education of your pupils. It is also important that early years professionals have a basic idea of what parts of the early years curriculum to focus on throughout the day.
Before an agency worker is due to start, make sure that you’ve provided information on what the children are due to learn, including any additional resources they’ll need.
See them as a permanent member of staff
On occasion, agency workers are seen as of lesser importance than one of the permanent members of staff. The most important aspect of their time within your school or nursery is the education of your pupils and if the agency worker feels segregated or ignored, this may have a negative impact on the learning environment.
At the same time, many of the agency workers have a wealth of knowledge and experience under their belts. They may have worked in schools or nurseries that differ greatly from yours, so they may be able to make suggestions on how policies, procedures and lessons could be improved.
Give them feedback, and ask for it
Before your agency worker leaves, it’s a good idea to have an informal conversation about their time at your school or nursery. It’s important that you provide them with feedback based on their individual teaching style, along with any positive points that have been raised during the course of their stay.
At the same time, it’s crucial for your agency worker to give you feedback based on their own experiences, but if they look unsure on whether this is something you want, simply ask for it.
This communication has multiple benefits, including:
- Helping to provide continuity of teaching and learning
- Helps you, as a school or nursery, form structured plans for future placements
- Helps the supply teacher enhance their own teaching style, and identify possible areas for professional learning needs
- Develops a strong working relationship between you and your agency worker, especially if you would consider using them again in the future
Leading on from this, it is also important that you provide the agency with feedback as well. This helps them plan for future placements at your school or nursery, based on your preferences.
So there we have it, some of the ways that you can support your agency worker on their first day in your school or nursery. We hope that this will help you make their placement as easy and straightforward as possible.
Are there any points that we’ve missed that you think would help others? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so make sure that you let us know in the comments below. Alternatively, you can join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Remember, if you have a position in your school or nursery that you urgently need filling, then we’re here to help. We have a bank of fully qualified teaching assistants, early years professionals and teachers available, so make sure you get in touch with us to find out more.