Supply teachers have cost Lincolnshire schools more than three million pounds in the past year, new figures have revealed.
A total of £3,530,307 was spent on supply teachers and agency staff for the academic year 2009/10 by schools across Lincolnshire. Cherry Willingham Community School was the biggest spender in the area, racking up a bill of £71,128. The lowest bill was from Scampton Pollyplatt Primary School, for £75.
The figures were revealed following a Freedom Of Information request to Lincolnshire County Council and covered the amount spent on third parties in relation to temporary agency staffing cover.
Debbie Barnes, assistant director of Childrens Services, said supply teachers were often needed in emergency situations. She said:
“There are a whole range of reasons which require schools to bring in supply teachers – to enable teachers to attend training, to cover sickness or maternity leave and other short term staff absence.
“The county council devolves budgets to schools who manage their own and choose when to bring in supply teachers.
“Schools can choose how much money to allocate for recruiting and employing supply staff.”
Sarah Warnock, a member of the senior leadership team at Cherry Willingham Community School, explained measures had been taken to keep down their supply teacher spending. She said:
“In 2009/10, we had two members of the maths department leave for other positions and we had to supply long-term cover until new teachers had been appointed.
“It was an awful lot of money, so we had to try and lower the cost.
“Since then, we have hired three cover supervisors, who are members of staff employed by us to cover any lessons necessary.”
Sports coaching and physical education company, Evolve Sport, are one of the companies which provided extra teaching assistance in 2009/10 and have been doing so in Lincolnshire for three years.
Staff from Evolve Sport are brought in to schools to teach after school clubs in sport and PE. Managing director John Bishop said:
“A few years ago, a school could shut up shop at 3.30pm, but there is a responsibility now to offer extra activities to pupils and the community.
“It is also beneficial for schools to take on specialist providers in certain areas, like sport, PE, music and arts. It is all about upskilling instead of deskilling, and bringing specialist knowledge into schools.”
Among the biggest spenders on temporary agency staffing cover were The William Harrison School at £65,478, St Peter at Gowts Primary in Lincoln at £49,358 and Sleaford Kesteven and Sleaford High School at £47,994.