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Are you a supply teacher, teaching assistant or residenital support worker looking for some help and advice? If so, you are the right place. Our blogs offer tips and tricks on everything from classroom management to interview tips and support, along with day in the life case studies from real supply teachers, NQTs and cover supervisors. They also give you an insight into what working for Smile is like, the ways which we support local communities and charities and the training and events that we offer. 

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18-01-2022 - - 0 comments
FAQ's about returning to the classroom

Following the Education Secretary's call for former and retired teachers to return to work, we've put together this FAQ to help answer any questions you might have about returning to the classroom.


Why should I return to teaching?


The Education Secretary has called for all former and retired teachers to return to the classroom to help schools manage absences caused by the Omnicron variant. 


During the Christmas period, staff absences were at around 8% that figure however is set to rise to around 25% leaving schools in an extremely vulnerable position. Without the extra support from retired and former teachers, it is likely that some schools will have no choice but to close which will significantly impact students learning. 


I don’t have a current DBS, what should I do?


Safeguarding and the welfare of children is our number one priority. To return to work in schools you must have a current DBS. If you do not have a DBS, we are able to put one into process for you.


How long will it take to get a new DBS?


DBS checks are completed fairly quickly. Most DBS checks are issued within the 14-day service target and over 30% are issued within 1 day.


What references will I need?


The requirement for seeking a reference is set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance. References form part of safer recruitment checks and every effort should be made to obtain a reference. We've provided some examples, for your ease below.


Scenario 1: An ex-teacher who has not been employed for 10 years.

You will be asked to supply a character reference. You can see examples of those who can be used as a character referee here


Scenario 2: An ex-teacher last worked in an education setting in 2014 and has been employed in another sector since then. 

Your employer should follow KCSIE and secure a reference from the relevant employer from the last time you worked with children. If this is not possible the agency should record the reason why and seek a character reference from your current employer.


Scenario 3: An ex-teacher was last employed in an education setting in 2015 and has not worked since then. That education setting has now closed down. 

The employer could ask you for a character reference. 


What qualifications do I need? 


The qualification needed will depend on the role. 


For teachers, qualified teacher status (QTS) is a legal requirement to teach in many English schools and is considered desirable for teachers in the majority of schools in England. Schools in England where teachers can be employed without QTS include academies, free schools and independent schools. 


How will I be paid? 


Those employed through an agency like Smile Education will be paid on a weekly basis by the agency for all hours worked. Those employed directly by the school will be paid by the school.


What schools can I work in?


We work with schools across the West Midlands in Birmingham, Sandwell, Staffordshire and the Black Country. When you register with us we’ll ask you about the type of school (primary, secondary or SEN) as well as the distance you are willing to travel. 


Is there any CPD available to supply teachers to help increase their confidence? 


There are resources available through Oak National Academy to support those returning to the classroom.


Oak National Academy has over 40,000 free and easy to access lessons and resources for 4-16-year-olds across a wide range of subjects. All of the lessons have been created by teachers, for teachers and cover just about everything a supply teacher might be asked to cover. 


If supply teachers need any further support Oak National Academy will be hosting a dedicated webinar for supply teachers. You can sign up to Oak National Academy’s mailing list to be the first to hear when these webinars are live. 


We also have a number of resources available online. You can access them for free by registering.


How do I register with Smile Education?


To start your registration process with us, simply submit your CV online. One of our friendly team will then be in touch to discuss the opportunities you are looking for in more detail. 


Following that you’ll then be invited to a video interview with us and also to complete our online registration which you’ll need to complete. Once you have done this and your safeguarding checks are complete, you will then be able to work in schools. You can learn more about our registration process here.

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