Schools get huge bill for supply teachers

Supply teachers cost more than £4.7 million at schools across Staffordshire last year, it emerged today.

Supply teachers cost more than £4.7 million at schools across Staffordshire last year, it emerged today.

Headteachers were forced to bring in cover due to long-term absence, sickness, maternity leave and teacher training.

Schools are responsible for making their own staffing arrangements including the hiring of temporary staff. The top-spending schools racked up six-figure bills. Norton Canes High School in Cannock, was at the top of the list, having spent £159,637 in the last financial year.

The next highest spenders were Great Wyrley Performing Arts High School and Cheslyn Hay Sports and Community High School, having shelled out £104,886 and £104,747 respectively.

Kingsmead Technology College, in Hednesford, spent £103,823.

Headteacher Ian Bryant said the cost was down to exceptional circumstances of four staff on maternity leave simultaneously, a long-term illness and two staff leaving at Easter. The school has around 84 full-time teachers and around 1,300 children.

He said: “None of the pupils’ education has suffered – in fact it is clearly the opposite and we have had our best ever GCSE results.

“Whenever we need to use agencies, we look for the best people but they cost a bit more unfortunately.”

The lowest spending school was Mosley in Burton-on-Trent which only paid £164. Figures showed supply teachers at Sandwell schools cost more than £5 million in the past year.

Most recent information for Walsall showed cover cost £600,000 for the first quarter of the past year, and £2,522,466 for the previous academic year.

Dudley spent more than £2.5m in 2010/11 on supply teachers and temporary staff for its 90 schools and schools in Wolverhampton paid out more than £4.7m.

The figures were revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.