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Following on from our previous emails and updates regarding the Coronavirus situation in general, and the government announced Job Retention Scheme in particular, we are happy to report that government guidelines have finally been published, and that supply staff may be eligible to be furloughed depending on criteria.

Having totally appreciated how concerned you have been regarding your financial situation, we were delighted to hear this news on your behalf.   The finer details of exactly how the scheme will work are still being worked out within government, but there are certainties at this stage, and these are as follows:

  • Employees who are unable to work as a result of the Coronavirus will need to be designated as ‘furloughed workers’ and will be notified of this by their employers.
  • Employers will need to register those workers with HMRC – on a portal that is yet to be launched.
  • The government will pay up to 80% of a furloughed workers salary – up to £2,500 per month.
  • The pay may be backdated to 1 March 2020 where applicable – although in the case of supply, this will not apply as schools didn’t close until 20 March 2020.
  • The scheme will run for a maximum of 3 months.
  • The government are hoping that the scheme will be up and running before the end of April.

As mentioned, some of the criteria is still unknown, as follows:

  • Exactly who will qualify – based on employees on the payroll in February
  • Exactly what they will be entitled to be paid
  • When they will qualify from, eg, some of our supply staff are still being paid up to 3rd April and beyond
  • When the portal will be available and what information the government will require from us.

We hope the above information has gone some way towards alleviating your concerns, and that you will bear with us until the final criteria as outlined above is issued by the government.

We will be working very hard to work through the complications of the scheme, which as you can imagine will take some time. As always, we will forward this information as soon as we are in receipt of it ourselves.

We will be in touch again as soon as, and as often as, we have any further details.

In the meantime, please take care, keep safe and keep well.


We appreciate how many of you have grave concerns regarding your financial situation, as well as having unanswered questions relating to the unprecedented Job Retention Scheme announced by the government on 20 March 2020.

Despite our best efforts communicating with our immediate governing body, the REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation), our ultimate governing body, BEIS (Dept. for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and our own HR professionals and Advisors, Wardhadaway Law, clear information is still not yet available to explain if all zero-hour contract, or agency staff, will be eligible for the scheme – or how any salary will be calculated if they are.

Whilst understanding that the government has an unprecedented scale of legislation to put in place, these bodies too are becoming increasingly frustrated that there are as yet no definitive answers forthcoming, and are lobbying for immediate measures to be implemented which they can relay to their members.   Following a webinar we attended with the REC at 12:00 today, 26.03.2020, we are very pleased to hear that they have specifically asked for clarity as a matter of urgency from BEIS in relation to educational supply staff. We are therefore hopeful that the situation will finally be clarified shortly.  As always, once we ourselves are in receipt of this information, it will be our top priority to pass it on to all our supply team.

On a similar note, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you about your current pay situation.  All pay for days worked up to 27th March will be paid on 15th April as always. You will be aware we have spoken to, or have tried to speak to you all personally, as well as emailing you all individually, and we will continue to keep in regular personal touch.

We are working very hard to ensure that we continue to support our supply team and schools under these very difficult circumstances, and we thank you all for your patience while we do so.


Together, we are facing a truly challenging and unprecedented situation.  The Coronavirus is affecting us all, our families, communities, our businesses and our way of life.

We will continue to navigate this together, and do everything we can to keep each other safe so we wanted to update you on how we are approaching the situation as it stands at First Class Supply.

From tomorrow, 24.03.2020, we will largely be working from home.  First Class will still be open and functioning as normal, just not from our office base.

To contact us, just call the usual number – 0191 251 5566 and listen to the options.

Alternatively, you can use the following numbers:

To speak to Hannah or Julia on the TA and SEN Team call 07791 284087 or 07748 805157 or email

hannah@firstclasssupply.co.uk or julia@firstclasssupply.co.uk

To speak to Kate or Clare on the Secondary Team call 07527 281034 or 07805 625765 or email

kate@firstclasssupply.co.uk or clare@firstclasssupply.co.uk

To speak to Fran on the Primary Team call 07748 806134 or email


As we have stated in individual emails to our supply team, we truly appreciate that many of you are incredibly worried about your financial situation at this time, and that you are hoping that the Government’s announcement on Friday 20 March about the employment subsidy package will go some way towards alleviating your concerns.

Please be assured that we are, as our main priority, trying to find out all we can about what this means for our supply team, and we will communicate this to you as soon as further information is forthcoming from the Government.

We understand how frustrating this is for you all, unfortunately as things stand so far, there is no further information available, other than the Government are working on setting up a portal to deal with this completely new and unprecedented initiative.

In the meantime, please do continue to apply for Universal Credit: www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit

Please remember we are available for you all as always, and we will keep you updated on any new Government information regarding the employment subsidy, or any other Government announcements, as soon as we have the information ourselves.

You will also be able to find any information as it transpires by following the link below:


For now, please look after yourselves, stay in touch and stay safe.



We appreciate that understandably, you will all be hugely concerned following the announcement from the Prime Minister on 18 March 2020, that all schools are to be closed until further notice.

Schools, colleges and nurseries will close to help slow the spread of the virus, which will help save lives and protect the most vulnerable. Schools have a responsibility to put provision in place for pupils of key workers (including NHS staff, teachers, police, social care, supermarket workers and delivery drivers) as well as vulnerable children, including pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

We are in contact with all our partner schools and wherever possible, will continue to provide our supply teachers and assistants to those schools which will remain fully open, or those which must provide some form of provision.

Please be assured that the team at First Class Supply are trying to find answers to your questions and, as in our previous emails, we will aim to keep you updated as soon as we have any further information.

We understand you will be seriously concerned about your financial circumstances during the school closures.  As advised by the Prime Minister, if you need financial support, you are entitled to make a claim for Universal Credit.  The process can be started at www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit.

If you have Coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating, you will need to complete a self-certification form for the first 7 days.  Follow this link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statutory-sick-pay-employees-statement-of-sickness-sc2, then send the completed form to accounts@firstclasssupply.co.uk.  We will then let you know if you are eligible for SSP, and if you are not eligible, we will send you the necessary form to enable you to claim government assistance instead.

First Class Supply share your concerns equally, and the team are all working on your behalf.  We will forward further information as soon as we have more news and of course, are available as always on  0191 251 5566.

For up-to-date information as it is announced from the Government, please follow the link below.




Not surprisingly, we have seen a large rise in enquiries about the global issue of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

First Class Supply would like to reassure our schools and candidates that we are taking the risks of the above virus extremely seriously and are taking every measure at all times to avoid the spread of infection.

Every member of the office based First Class Supply team urgently and immediately followed (and continue to follow) medical and government advice as soon as it was issued.

We can confirm the following:

On 28th February all supply candidates were instructed to inform First Class Supply in the first instance if they had recently travelled to any affected areas.  We instructed them to adhere to all government guidance by following the link below, which continues to be updated on a daily basis as the situation relating to COVID-19 changes.


All supply staff must also adhere to all school guidelines and instructions with regard to hygiene to contain the virus.

For your additional reassurance the First Class Supply team are available to advise their candidates and schools in accordance with the above guidance.

Should you have queries or require any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact us 0191 251 5566.


Putting you first – every time

First Class Supply are recognised as the fastest growing independent Supply Teaching Agency in the North East, why? Because we’re different. We are genuinely committed to treating all our Teachers and Teaching Assistants as individuals and we take your career as seriously as you do.

We have an unrivalled reputation for offering an exceptional, professional, personal and friendly service to all who join us and we have forged true partnerships with our schools. We believe in ‘giving something back’ to our local communities and support our local schools and their pupils as well as local and national charities in a number of ways throughout the year.

We continue to grow by reputation and recommendation, and are often imitated but never bettered!

We very much look forward to welcoming you to the First Class Supply team!

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Latest Supply Teaching Jobs...

Q: How does supply work?

A: Supply is an excellent way of starting your teaching career.

Not only does it offer flexibility and variety, it also opens up a whole range of experiences you may not have considered previously. Once you are registered with First Class, we then offer you assignments that we know are right for you – whether this is on a day-to-day, long-term, or permanent basis – or a mix of all three! We will already have formed an excellent personal relationship with you by this stage and we will have a real feel for the best roles for you. Likewise, we have built equally excellent relationships with our many partner schools, nurseries and colleges throughout the North East and we will know which will be an excellent fit for you. We will always get your feedback to make sure we are getting things right for you – and to hear how you have enjoyed your role. You will never have to accept any role you don’t feel comfortable with – remember supply is about flexibility and working together to find what works best for you!

Q: How does day-to-day supply work?

A: We want you to enjoy all your day to day assignments and the best advice we can offer is ‘be prepared and be ready!’

Wherever possible, we will give you as much information in advance about your assignment so you have time to find out the location of the school, plan for your lessons etc. However, this is not always possible, and you might get called for an emergency assignment. This is where being ready comes in! Always have your Enhanced DBS, and the forms of ID which will be discussed at interview and when you first meet your consultant, to hand, together with a range of resources to help you in case work is not set, as well as a First Class timesheet. We will always be honest with the school as to when we expect you will arrive so don’t panic! Once in school, you will meet the person relevant for supply who should make you familiar with their school policies and then you will be ready to start your day! Remember, if in doubt, ask. Emergency assignments are a great way of being asked to return to a school, and a great way to discover what suits you best on supply – often this is the exact opposite of your original ideas!

Q: How do Long-term Assignments Work?

A: Long term assignments tend to have specific requirements, for example, a Year 6 specialist in primary, or a Music specialist in secondary.

TA examples could be someone with solid one-to-one experience with children with learning difficulties. Our schools in general trust us to know the right people who would fit their specific needs. We may also be asked to forward CVs, so it’s essential we have an up-to-date CV for you at all times! Schools will always want to meet the people they are interested in, either to attend an interview, or to carry out a lesson, or even to work a day on supply. We will never put you forward for a long-term assignment without your permission, and will always speak to you and/or email you prior to forwarding your details. If you are lucky enough to be successful, you will continue to complete a First Class timesheet at the end of each week. We will still keep in touch with your on a regular basis and you can call us at any time. Again, long term assignments are a fantastic way of gaining experience within a school.

Q: Do First Class work with permanent positions?

A: Absolutely! We have our own Permanent division and have an unrivalled record for helping teachers in all sectors, as well as teaching assistants and support staff to gain permanent employment.

Often a long-term assignment could lead to a candidate being asked to become a permanent member of staff. We do not penalise our schools with fees which really enhances your chance of being asked to join the permanent school staff. Permanent roles can work a little like long term roles, so again, it’s important we have an up-to-date CV. Again, we will not put you forward for any assignments unless we have your permission first.

Q: How can I maximise my chances of work?

A: Keep in touch! It’s vital that we know your availability on at least a weekly basis, and every time something changes.

The more we know how available you are, the more we can offer you work! Be as flexible as possible, and always be prepared with your ID and resources. The more experience you gain, the more you will be asked to return to schools and the more work will be offered to you.

Q: Can I complete my NQT Induction on Supply?

A: Yes! We have an incredibly high success rate of helping NQT’s through their induction.

You have 5 years from the date you were awarded QTS to complete your induction and you can complete this in more than one school. Each assignment towards your induction must be for a minimum of one term.

Q: Can you use my current DBS Certificate?

A: We can use your current DBS if it is registered with the DBS Update Service.

With your consent, we can perform a status check which will give us full access to your current certificate. You can subscribe to the Update Service whilst your application form is in process, or you can subscribe to the Update Service once you have received your certificate. However, you must register within 19 calendar days of the certificate issue date. If you do not hold a certificate that is registered with the Update Service then unfortunately it is illegal for us to use it and you must apply for a new one – we can do this for you.

Q: Do you offer Safeguarding and other CPD Training?

A: Yes! It’s very important to us that our supply staff are kept up to date with current training standards.

We offer Safeguarding training to all of our supply team. Our virtual course covers up-to-date, essential knowledge in relation to Safeguarding, Child Protection and Prevent, through videos, audio and engaging interactive activities.

Our other courses include:

A guide to being an effective supply teacher; An introduction to Early Years Foundation Stage; An introduction to phonics; An introduction to special needs and disabilities (SEND); Behaviour management training – Level 1; British Values; Cover Supervisor Training – Level 1; Effective listening in schools; Effective personal communication in schools; Equality and Diversity; Teaching in the UK: An introduction for overseas teachers

Let us take you to the next level

Let us take you to the next level – register with us today….

To join us, please call 0191 251 5566 or alternatively you can DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION FORM here.

Please note that First Class Supply is genuinely independent and we are NOT affiliated with ANY other educational recruitment business.

Latest News...

An update while we work from home

An update while we work from home

Published 23.03.2020  

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Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE: 19.03.2020

Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) UPDATE: 19.03.2020

Published 19.03.2020 We appreciate that understandably, you will all be hugely concerned following the announcement from the Prime Minister on 18 March 2020, that all schools are to be closed until further notice. Schools, colleges and nurseries will close to help slow the spread of the virus, which will help save lives and protect the […]

> click here for more info

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