More than £5.3 million was spent bringing in temporary supply teachers and school staff in Sandwell over the past year, figures have revealed.
Sandwell has racked up the highest bill in the region for recruiting temporary school workers.
Staff hired from specialist employment agencies are used by schools to cover sickness and maternity leave as well as to assist other teachers.
Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Simon Hackett said: “Schools control their own budget and decide on the additional staff they need.
“They only use agency and supply staff as a last resort to ensure pupils’ education is not disrupted, and the amount of money they spend on this will vary each year.”
He added that Sandwell had the highest number of schools rated good in Ofsted reports in the Midlands and that the use of temporary staff ensured that standards remained high.
“Our schools don’t just use agency and supply staff to cover staff absences – they may also bring in additional teaching specialists and coaches,” he said.
Sandwell Council, which must make savings of around £100m over the next five years, also spent around £600,000 on supplying its own temporary staff members.