Who’s teaching my child today?

A Press Release from the National Education Union yesterday highlighted the scale of private teaching agency exploitation in Wales.

Here’s the Press Release from NEU’s Neil Foden :

A recent Freedom of Information Request to local authorities by NEU Cymru has shown that almost £114 million has been spent on staff from private supply teacher agencies in the three academic years to August 2018.

All authorities bar one (Denbighshire) responded to the request. The figures showed:

  • £113,948,515 was spent on agency supply staff in the above period;
  • Two authorities, Neath Port Talbot and Newport, won’t payroll supply teachers directly, forcing schools to go to agencies. In Wrexham, supply teachers can only be paid directly in certain circumstances;
  • Eight authorities give no guidance to schools on the employment and payment of supply teachers.

NEU National Executive Member, Neil Foden, said:

“The sum spent on private agencies is a national scandal, compounded by the fact that some local authorities effectively force their schools to use agencies because they won’t payroll supply teachers themselves.

“When supply teachers are often forced to work for much less pay than then they would receive if they were on a contract in a school, it’s little wonder that schools report increasing shortages of supply teachers. I have come across cases where Headteachers of small rural primaries have stopped going to meetings and courses because there are no supply teachers available to cover their absence.

“The Welsh Government is investing significantly in professional development for teachers but this exciting agenda will fall flat if schools can’t release them because no suitable cover is available.

“We call on all local authorities to ensure that payroll arrangements are in place for schools to be able to engage their own supply teachers, paid at the appropriate daily rate.

“Before long too many parents will be asking: “who’s teaching my child today?” They won’t like the answer.”


Mindfulness Courses in South Wales

Mindfulness is a very useful practice and skill to have as a teacher.  I’ve compiled a list of various courses running from January 2019 and suitable for teachers in South Wales.   Some of the courses are free, some delivered in Cardiff, Swansea, various locations in the South Wales Valleys, and some are delivered online via videoconferencing.

  • 8 Week MBSR Mindfulness courses, mornings or evenings, via Mindfulness in Action.  Starting : 7th February 2019.  Location : held at Cardiff Buddhist Centre (though this is a secular course) . Further details here.  I took this course a few years ago and I was very impressed with the course and it has deeply influenced my approach to teaching.   I wrote a reflective review of this course.  I was so impressed with the positive impact of this course, I trained as a mindfulness in schools practitioner able to deliver mindfulness courses in both primary and secondary schools.
    Place:        Insole Court, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5  2LF
    Trainer:    Vicki Worsley
    Dates:        8 Wednesday evening sessions: 23 Jan – 3 April 2019, (no sessions: 20 Feb, 27 Feb and 20 March), plus one full day, Sat 30 March (10.00-4.00pm)
    Times:        7:00-9:00pm (course length 22 hours)
    Fee:            £180 early bird (by 23 Dec), £200 full fee
  • FREE 6 week Mindfulness course organised by Valleys Steps.   Courses delivered in Cynon Valley, Rhondda Valley, Taff Ely and Merthyr areas.  Background information on the course here.   Course listings here.
  • An innovative ONLINE mindfulness 8 week course via Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), delivered via video conferencing.  Described by MiSP thus :

.begin introduces you to mindfulness over eight weeks via group sessions of approximately 90 minutes per week, usually in the evening. The course is for those who either work or volunteer in a school or work/volunteer within an educational setting on a regular basis and who are new to mindfulness.

The course is delivered via video conferencing, allowing real-time interaction with your group whilst being led by a highly experienced MiSP instructor.

.begin combines the convenience of a live online course that you can complete in the comfort of your own home with the intimacy of live, face-to-face delivery.

  • Sunday afternoon course at Swansea University.  Details here 

Date: 9 weekly Sunday Afternoon sessions 20th January – 17th March from 12.00 -2.00 every Sunday

Silent half day practice: Sunday 3rd March (1:00pm – 5:00pm)

Parking: Free parking on campus (out of hours)

The price is £175 for 20 hours (9 weeks course) 


If you run or promote a mindfulness course in South Wales, please share your course details in the comment section below.