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Is supply teaching the right choice for me?

Teaching can be a very demanding role, with little flexibility during term time. Planning, meetings, marking and a full teaching timetable are all part of the routine of being a teacher. The rewards are numerous, not least a regular salary.

However, wanting to step back from all of that, without leaving the profession, is an option for some teachers. Supply teaching involves plenty of time in the classroom, without the additional responsibilities. If a regular income is not a necessity for you at the moment, then supply teaching, with its variety and flexibility, could be for you. There are many reasons, beyond leaving at 3.30pm, that supply teaching could be the right choice.


Taking time off, or booking a holiday, for a regular teacher is confined to the school holidays. Supply teaching allows you to state your availability, meaning that you can book holidays in the cheaper term time and remain flexible for family emergencies.


Many teachers stay in the same school for many years, or even their whole career. Supply teachers follow the demand, so you could gain experience in many different school environments. This is not only a great challenge but can allow you to gain experience in unfamiliar areas and help you make future career choices.

Work-life balance

Full-time teaching is hard and doesn’t always leave the kind of spare time that many teachers crave to fulfil their family duties or enjoy their hobbies. Supply teaching can take as little or as much time as you plan for, creating that much needed free time. Supply teaching can also be a great bridge between full-time teaching and retirement or returning to work after a career break.

Supply teaching commitments

Flexibility, variety, life balance – supply teaching appears to be a great choice, however there are downsides that may make it unsuitable for some. Work, and therefore pay, can be irregular, which can make this option stressful if you are solely in charge of paying regular bills.

As with all teaching, supply teaching requires excellent classroom management and a passion for teaching. However, this may be especially challenging if you are presented with new teaching environments regularly and you have to be prepared to think on your feet.

Although the role is flexible in terms of when you make yourself available, during the times when you are committed to being a supply teacher you should be prepared to be available at short notice. If you enjoy regular routine, then changing plans due to an early morning phone call offering work that day may be a challenge for you.

Supply teaching roles are available for fully qualified teachers holding QTS or an equivalent qualification. You must have a criminal record check (DBS), or be willing to process a new DBS.

If you are an outstanding teacher looking for daily supply teacher work, check out our daily supply teacher roles in London with a September start. UCM Education work with a range of fantastic schools who are looking for daily or longer-term supply teachers.

Give us a call on 0203 750 2505 or take a look at our jobs board

Are you looking to recruit
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Whether you need cover or are recruiting a temporary or permanent member of staff, we can save you time and money by only offering the most suitable candidates who are ready for work.

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