How Does a Supply Agency Work for Teachers?

Supply agencies are used across the country to help support schools with their recruitment needs and to support teachers with their careers and passions to make a difference within the classroom.

They are vital in keeping schools fully staffed and assisting with any last-minute recruitment needs.

Working with an agency enables supply teachers to receive regular work and placements suited to their skills, experience and preferences.

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about becoming a supply teacher through an agency.

How do I sign up? Is it free?

Most agencies, including Opus Teach, are free to register with and free to work for. With Opus Teach, you register via an online application form which can be found here. It is an application form with six boxes to fill in which will ask you about your experience, qualifications, preferences as well as personal details and information needed for our thorough compliance process.

Once you have filled this in, we would call you for an initial chat through your application form to make sure we are the right fit as an agency for you. We will chat about your experience/preferences and talk about the next steps which include an interview.

An interview will then be arranged for as soon as possible. The interview would normally be face to face in our office space, however due to COVID-19, remote interviews are currently taking place via video software which is easy to access. Our interviews are conducted with one of the team who sits alongside an educational professional, e.g. an Ex Headteacher, who will lead the interview.

If all is successful, we will then work on getting you fully compliant and once that is completed, we will be ready to place you in schools.

The process should be smooth and shouldn’t be feared! We just want to make sure we are the right fit for you.

Most agencies have a similar process, however the main difference with our registration process is the interview with an educational professional. We do this to ensure our supply staff are the highest quality and can be interviewed by an educational professional, not just a recruitment consultant.

How will I be notified of work?

Supply traditionally works through lots of phone calls, so you’ll need to make sure you have your phone at the ready on days you are available to work, to ensure you don’t miss a booking request.

However, Opus Teach also have an online booking system which allows schools to book 365 days a year 24/7. Schools are able to book teachers online which notifies teachers via texts. If you are chosen for a booking, you will receive a text which will ask you if you’d like the work (including details about year group, timings etc) and then you will then have the option to text back yes or no.

You can receive texts/calls from 7am onwards for same days bookings, although you have the option to opt out from same day bookings, if you would prefer to stick to pre-booked placements..

Most supply agencies, including Opus Teach, begin working at 7am to ensure we are able to help schools with their day to day cover.

Can I choose when I work?

Absolutely! You can choose when you work and where you work too, the flexibility of being a supply teacher is great.

All any agency will ask is that you keep them updated with your availability and preferences and be responsive to any communication where possible.

How often will I receive work?

Due to the nature of supply, any agency will find it hard to guarantee you work. It also depends on your location, willingness to travel, skill set as well as your availability and responsiveness.

If your availability is only two afternoons a week, it may be harder for your agency to fill, whereas if you are available two to five days a week, you stand a more likely chance of gaining work.

It is important to respond to your agency ASAP, especially in the mornings as a booking may often be on a first come first serve basis so if you are looking for work, make sure your phone is near!

Will I have a designated consultant?

Most agencies work with having one consultant dedicated to one location and/or one specialism eg. Secondary, Primary or SEN. This would mean you would speak to the same consultant.

In Opus Teach, we have Account Managers who work as a team together across all locations and in all specialisms. This means you can speak to anyone within the team who will know you and be able to assist you with queries and finding you work.


If you are looking at joining a supply agency in Suffolk and have any more questions about how the process works, please call us on 03301 242801 and a member of our team will be more than happy to help.

Alternatively, if you’ve decided you’d like to start supply teaching, begin your application with us today!


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