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Supply Teachers

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what advice his Department provides to schools on the recruitment of supply teachers; and if he will make a statement; (256732)

(2) what discussions his Department has had with the Office of Government Commerce on the provision of supply teachers since September 2008; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has provided guidance to schools on the recruitment of supply teachers in the document “Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education”. The guidance sets out the responsibilities of those recruiting supply teachers and the best practices, some underpinned by legislation, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

The framework for the Department's Quality Mark award for employment agencies and local authorities also sets out recruitment, selection and vetting standards for supply teachers. Schools are encouraged to use holders of the Quality Mark who have demonstrated they meet these standards in managing and providing supply teachers to schools.

Temporary Workers in Education (TWiE) is a project of the Department's Educational Procurement Centre (EPC). The EPC has a remit to work across the schools sector promoting and supporting sustainable procurement practices and effective contract management with the goal of achieving cost and administrative savings for schools.

The TWiE project aims to provide London schools with a reliable, safe and accessible online method of procuring temporary education workers. It is currently working collaboratively with the London Borough of Hounslow which is in a tender process on behalf of the London Contracts and Supplies Group. Companies have been invited to tender to act as a neutral vendor which will provide an online system through which London Boroughs and London schools can procure temporary workers including supply teachers. It is expected that a contract will be awarded in June 2009.

OGC staff sit on the Project Board which oversees the TWiE project, and have done so since September 2008. OGC and DCSF have also had discussions in relation to the project, including regular monthly meetings between senior responsible staff. There have also been a number of discussions agreeing the role of OGC staff on the Project Board, and a meeting to review models for the project. Some of these discussions also touched on the provision of supply teachers and other staff outside London.

In addition to OGC's role on the TWiE Project Board, another member of OGC staff has been advising the London Contracts and Supplies Group on the current tender process and as part of this work has had some contact with Department staff, particularly on the issue of pricing models.