Reducing the cost of MAT teaching cover by cutting out the middleman

Hiring a single day of teaching cover from a third party costs hundreds of pounds. However, when you also count the cost of organising and sourcing this cover, the real cost can spiral out of control.

Martin Holyoak

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Fortunately for multi-academy trusts, there’s a better way to organise cover that won’t break the bank. What’s more, you can also ensure that the quality of teaching provision isn’t affected by patchy supply teaching.

The answer is to take a better look at the human resources you already have and to pool supply teacher resource across your trust.

Pooling supply teacher resource

The concept of pooled teaching resource is relatively new, as technology has proven key to enabling it to work.

Recent advances in cloud computing have made it possible to track staff across a number of academy locations – a key driving force behind the power of multi-academy trusts.

MATs exist to make administrative tasks simpler and less expensive, leaving staff and budget to raise attainment levels. Rather than paying agencies to ship in supply teachers on an ad hoc basis, savvy MATs can now cut out the middleman by leveraging the software tools they already use to perform day-to-day HR responsibilities.

The MAT supply teacher

There’s a new type of supply teacher on the block. Trust supply teachers work solely within their trust, moving to where they’re needed most. Without the overview of HR software, coordination on this scale would be impossible.

With powerful HR packages like PS People, it’s possible to see an overview of staff skill sets and responsibilities throughout the trust, meaning that HR doesn’t have to be a limited localised function any more; instead, it can be trust-wide.

In simpler terms, most trusts make great use of this technology to reduce administrative overheads for member academies. It’s also possible to have flexible staff members who can operate at any one of a number of local academies – just like agency supply teachers.

Of course, for those times when all hell breaks loose and you need more teaching resource, the agency will always be a phone call away. By reducing your agency reliance to these mayday situations, you also reduce the amount spent on agency fees – without losing your safety net.

Identifying the squeeze

With finance-integrated HR software such as PS People, you can identify areas of high cover staff expenditure and take appropriate action.

For example, if an art department is spending a disproportionate amount on supply, you might consider hiring an additional full-time teacher to fill in the gaps. Ultimately, this could be cheaper than the agency, while also improving the quality of teaching provision.

It’s also possible to reduce teacher absence and the need for teaching cover altogether by identifying trends and patterns of illness. This enables trusts to take proactive measures.

If you’re interested in learning what market-leading HR software could do for your multi-academy trust, you can visit the PS People website to find out more.

Education, PS People