Top Supply Teacher Tips: Active Professional Development

As a supply teacher it can be very difficult to access CPD.

Most training courses cost more than a supply teacher can afford or, even when they are free, there is a day’s loss of work to consider.  Staying up to date on the latest trends in education however, is important, particularly if you want a permanent or long term job. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to stay up to date in your teaching knowledge. 

  1. Contact your union.  Being in a Teaching Union is essential for many reasons, not least of which is that, as well as support and guidance, they also offer training and CPD events. Some of these are specifically for supply teachers. Most are either free, or at a reduced cost for members.  Courses range from twilight sessions to a half or full days training. Some courses occur over a weekend, reducing the need to miss a day’s work. Keep an eye out for any literature your union send you and also sign up for any email newsletters they send out. If these newsletters prove to be of no use you can always unsubscribe at a later date.


  1. Use online learning. The rise of online learning is a big thing in education at the moment as it offers a low cost way of reaching a very wide audience.  There are a whole host of training providers out there who offer everything from compulsory requirements such as safeguarding to knowledge boosters and improving your teaching practice.  For example ‘Future Learn’ (a collaboration of universities including The Open University) offer a wide range of totally free courses with most offering a paid for certification upon completion.


  1. Read. It is important to keep up to date on educational issues. One of the best ways to do that is to read a wide range of sources. Most news organisations have an education section including The Guardian, BBC and dedicated magazines such as Teach Primary or Teach Secondary. With newspaper and online news sources it is important to remember they all have a particular political bias and therefore it is better to read as wide range as possible.


  1. Magpie ideas and experiences.   One distinct advantage of being a supply teacher is that you get to go into a lot of schools each with their own way of doing things and their own set of skills and experiences you can learn from.  If you’re given an unusual lesson to cover ask if you can take a copy of the plans and/or resources.  It is also worth making an effort to go into the staffroom to talk to other teachers. Not only does this create a good impression (which could lead to more work) but it also gives you the opportunity to talk to other education professionals and find out what issues are currently affecting the school.  All of this is something which could be very useful in an interview situation.CPD for Supply Teachers


  1. Yes this very website has a wealth of information for supply teachers.   This includes guides to supply teaching and lesson ideas.  Details can be found here


Finally, it is worth remembering that while accessing CPD can be tricky, many supply teachers will have the opportunity to gain a wider set of experiences than the average class based teacher. Most class teachers remain in the same class, or key stage, for the majority of their teaching career. Supply teachers can, if brave enough to do it, work in any key stage from EYFS upwards. This range of experience can make for a more rounded set of skills and experiences and should be reflected in any job application that you complete.


Where next? There's a great quick read here on CPD for supply teaching!
Check out our resources area here too.