�1.1million on supply teachers

MORE than �1.1million was spent on supply teachers in one year by the secondary schools in North Somerset.

The whopping figure is for the financial year 2009/10 and showed that, on average, supply teachers cost each of the 10 secondary schools in the district �110,000.

This money will come directly out of a school’s set budget but, despite how high it seems, is similar to the national average.

Supply teachers are generally used when teachers have planned to be absent from classes, for example when they take some pupils on a school trip or when they are off work for several days.

However, they tend to cost more per day than a regular teacher due to the fact they can only work in term time compared to regular teachers who are paid year round.

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In North Somerset, Churchill Community Foundation School and Sixth Form Centre spent the most on supply teachers at �147,392 and Priory Community School in Worle spent the least at �51,346.

Worle Community School spent �129,912, Wyvern Community School spent �125, 472 and Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College in Weston spent �102,680.

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Priory Community School headteacher Neville Coles said: “We do not employ supply teachers very often at Priory.

“We changed our system several years ago and we now employ an excellent team of cover supervisors who are permanently with us and cover all our lessons in the case of any staff absence whether planned or unplanned. “These provide great continuity. It does not surprise me to see us with a the lowest supply costs in the region’’

In Somerset, the average amount spent on supply teachers by the 30 secondary schools in the county was �65,673.

The King Alfred School in Highbridge spent �30,854 and, in Cheddar, The Kings of Wessex School spent �60,053.

The school spending data has been compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), a national group that campaigns for lower taxes, which found that across England a total of �293million was spent on supply teachers in secondary schools between 2009/10. Nationally, the average spent per school was just over �100,000.

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