Hey there Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Job of Cover Supervisor in a school - sounds great, but ...

Announcements Posted on
    • Thread Starter
    • 7 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    I'm looking to get experience of working in a Primary school, to make my application to Primary Education degrees stronger, and have been applying for LSA jobs, and came across an ad for Cover Supervisor, and it says:

    To provide sole charge supervision of classes in the absence of a regular teacher,
    presenting pre-prepared plans for education and supporting and facilitating learning.


    Which basically sounds like a cover teacher, right? But it only asks for GCSE standard education, and ability to communicate well with students, not direct experience.

    For an aspiring teacher, it sounds too good to be true, any experience of either working in this role, or do you know those who do/have?

    x
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Yes, they are not used in primary schools. More often than not, used in less academic secondary schools, and generally just left to supervise the class, not actually teach them.
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Skip_Snip)
    I'm looking to get experience of working in a Primary school, to make my application to Primary Education degrees stronger, and have been applying for LSA jobs, and came across an ad for Cover Supervisor, and it says:

    To provide sole charge supervision of classes in the absence of a regular teacher,
    presenting pre-prepared plans for education and supporting and facilitating learning.


    Which basically sounds like a cover teacher, right? But it only asks for GCSE standard education, and ability to communicate well with students, not direct experience.

    For an aspiring teacher, it sounds too good to be true, any experience of either working in this role, or do you know those who do/have?

    x
    Hey,

    Is this for a Cover Supervisor post based in one school, or is it agency work?

    I currently work as a Cover Supervisor through an agency, so I go wherever I'm sent. It's definitely good experience for getting on a teacher training course - I talked about it a lot in my PGCE interview and I'm sure it helped. You get to see a lot of different types of school which is obviously great experience and also helps you get to know what you can cope with, and where you might be interested in working in the future.

    The main downside is that work is hit and miss. In January and February I got very little work and was really struggling to pay bills and so on. Since Easter I've been doing a lot better - had 3 days work last week, and have worked every day so far this week. The other downside to doing day-to-day cover is that you often don't find out whether you're needed until the morning. So every morning I sit and wait for a phone call (normally somewhere between 7:30 and 8:15am), then throw clothes on and jump in the car!

    The best bit is if you can get a longer term post. When I first started doing agency work, I took a job through them as a Food Technology Technician. It was low paid, but full-time for a whole half-term. It meant I got to integrate into the school a bit more and build my confidence in communicating with pupils, in a less stressful role where I wasn't the teacher! I also had a part-time post a while back, where I did 2 days per week in one school, and then was free for day-to-day cover the rest of the time.

    Day-to-day cover can also lead to longer jobs occasionally - if you impress the school they might ask for you back regularly. At the end of February I did 2 days cover in the MFL department of a local secondary school, and they soon realised that as a French graduate, I could actually do a lot more than the basic job description. So when it turned out that the person I was covering for wasn't coming back, they called the agency and asked me to stay until Easter!

    As I've just suggested, although the work theoretically requires pretty much no qualifications, the more subject knowledge you have the better, as doing the bare minimum of supervision is less likely to get you called back to a school. Also, the type of work that is left can depend an awful lot on different teachers. Some will leave loads of worksheets or questions from a textbook, which means you just explain the work and make sure the kids get on with it. But being able to help is a bonus. But others leave work that really needs a lot of explanation, and sometimes needs you to take a much more active role (for instance, leading discussions or going through a power-point presentation explaining each slide).

    Most of what I've said is specific to agency Cover Supervisor work, but the work itself will be very similar if you're based in one school. Being in one school must be a lot better because you get to know the kids and your colleagues, and you have more stable work with regular pay. If it's this kind of job that you're looking at, I'd say definitely go for it.

    Regarding agency cover work, I would say go for it, if:
    -You can afford to have s**t weeks where you earn hardly anything, and to get nothing in the school holidays. Most of the time I'm earning enough to cover food/petrol/bills/a few treats, but I couldn't pay rent as well.
    -You're resilient and don't get stressed out easily - rushing around to get to a school on time, finding your way around the site with a poorly-photocopied map, and then being faced with a difficult class can be really tough.
    -You're prepared to give anything a go at least once. I've been a Food Technology Technician, a Teaching Assistant, an Exams Invigilator and even a Lunchtime Supervisor - the more you do the more opportunities you get.

    I know this all sounds quite negative, but I actually really enjoy what I do - my life would just be massively improved by a) being told where I was working the night before, and b) getting work at least 4 days per week. I don't think I could do it for years and years, because it does wear you down, but to fill a year before my PGCE it's fine. And getting school holidays is pretty nice.

    I realise this was a crazily long post, but I hope it was helpful. Let me know if there's anything else you want to know.


    PS: AARGH! Just previewed this post and realised your title was '...in a school', which probably answers my first question! I'm going to leave everything still though, as it might be useful for anyone else considering agency work.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Hiya sorry to join in on your thread, I was just wondering where you go to get Agency work like the one you do. I know of loads of agencies around here that do support work and childcare but nothing of this kind of thing. Would really appreciate your help as that kind of thing would be a good way for me to get experience.

    Thank you
    • Thread Starter
    • 7 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Keziah)
    x
    Thanks for your detailed answer It is indeed in one school, but everything you said it is still helpful, with lots to bare in mind

    (Original post by xbubblezx)
    Hiya sorry to join in on your thread, I was just wondering where you go to get Agency work like the one you do. I know of loads of agencies around here that do support work and childcare but nothing of this kind of thing. Would really appreciate your help as that kind of thing would be a good way for me to get experience.

    Thank you
    I second this, if I'm unsuccessful with this application it would be helpful to have other options

    x
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by xbubblezx)
    Hiya sorry to join in on your thread, I was just wondering where you go to get Agency work like the one you do. I know of loads of agencies around here that do support work and childcare but nothing of this kind of thing. Would really appreciate your help as that kind of thing would be a good way for me to get experience.

    Thank you
    Hey,

    I actually got found by them (and have had the same thing happen with another agency more recently) because my CV was uploaded on loads of job sites like Reed and Monster and so on.

    The agency I work for is just based in the Midlands and Yorkshire by the looks of it, but there are plenty of others. I often find when browsing for jobs on general job sites there will be jobs advertised for Cover Supervisors and Supply Teachers, which aren't actually for proper jobs as such, but for agencies.

    Even if you see a job advertised for qualified Supply Teachers, it could still be worth contacting the agency and seeing if they need Cover Supervisors too. They will want to interview you, but from my experience it's not been anything very difficult. Most of the interview is filling in registration and CRB forms. I get the impression they're not too fussy about who they sign up, but someone who didn't seem very confident probably wouldn't get as much work at first. I think this is what happened with me - at first, when I had no experience of Cover Supervisor work, I just got a support role, and then gradually a bit of CS work at a time until now I'm doing loads.

    And on that note, I'd better be off because I have work again today! 5 days this week. (but this will be the 3rd at a really tough school...)
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Hi,

    I'm a Cover Supervisor, based in one secondary school in London. To be honest, if you had asked me about it 6 months ago, I would have said run for the hills, but now I've got to know the kids I actually find it very varied and dynamic. One day I'll be doing French and Science, the next PE and D&T...it's a great way to enhance your teaching skills and if you are worried that it will just be handing out work sheets and behaviour management, it will only be that if you make it that way!
    Cover lessons in my school are actually pretty flexible, sometimes I am just given a lesson plan, sometimes text book work, but whatever it is, you can always adapt it to something more fun/useful for them.
    The only problem I'm finding at the moment is that it is only really good experience if you want to be a teacher, which I'm not sure I do. But PGCEs and GTPs absolutely love it, so I would say go for it. If you need any help with interview qs just ask

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?

    this is what you'll be called on TSR

  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?

    never shared and never spammed

  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide the button to the right to create your account

    Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: May 21, 2012
New on TSR

What are your A-level predictions?

Join our AS and A2 results day chat thread

Article updates
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.