We were delighted to hear confirmation from the Government yesterday (22 February) that as anticipated, schools will definitely re-open on Monday, 8 March.
Whilst we have been busy throughout this current lockdown, we have already seen a big increase in our schools need for supply staff from w/c 8th March. Cover has been requested across all age groups and specialisms for both day to day and long term assignments. Therefore the period of furlough leave for all our eligible supply staff will end on Friday 5th March 2021.
Just a reminder that our next furlough payments will be paid on 15th March in line with our usual payroll.
Thank you again for keeping in touch and updating your availability. We look forward to working with you all again from 8th March.
We are pleased to confirm that the first furlough payment, covering the period 11 January to 31 January is being paid to those eligible today, 15 February 2021. If you have worked during this time, your furlough will be paid for any weeks not worked.
The next furlough payment will be paid on 15 March and will cover weeks commencing:
Again, if you have worked during any of these periods, you will receive furlough for the remaining time.
We are all waiting for the announcement on 22 February from the Government regarding the possibility of schools reopening on 8 March.
Thank you all for keeping in touch and letting us know of your availability. Please continue to do this so we can ensure when schools do reopen we can keep everyone busy. In the meantime, as always, we hope you and your families remain safe and well.
You may have heard that schools are now taking part in Lateral Flow Testing to try and determine asymptomatic cases and reduce the spread of Covid 19. This is in the hope that we can all get back to some form of normality sooner rather than later.
If you are working in a school you may already have been asked to take part in this testing, or you may soon be asked. Although it is voluntary, we would strongly recommend that anyone who is able to do so, does take the test to help reduce the spread and to help control the virus.
If you are given a lateral flow test you will also be given instructions on how to do the test and what to do with the results, positive or negative. You must follow these instructions, which may differ very slightly in each school. As your employer we need to know of any positive results, but would also ask that you inform school immediately too. A positive lateral flow test then requires you to get a home test or an appointment with a drive-through testing centre. Again we must be informed of the result immediately.
As your employer, First Class Supply have given permission to schools to ask you to participate if appropriate. This also means schools will be processing some of your data. At this time this is only your name and nothing more than is already detailed on your verification form.
At the moment schools will most likely be asking only those candidates on longer term assignments to participate. However, this could change in the future and anyone attending schools could be encouraged to take part.
If you have any queries regarding the above please contact us in the first instance. This is all new to everyone, including our schools, and we will do our best to alleviate any concerns and find answers for you.
As always, please do take care and stay safe, and we will be in touch as soon as we have any further information for you.
We are pleased to inform you that in order to support our supply team as much as possible during these difficult times, First Class Supply will once again be utilising the furlough (job retention) scheme. The current scheme is slightly different as we now have to bear the considerable costs of employers NI and pension contributions ourselves, whereas for the majority of the last furlough, these costs were met by the Government.
All those eligible for the scheme have been written to individually, laying out in detail how the new, flexible, furlough will work.
Those who regrettably do not qualify for the scheme under current HMRC legislation will be written to individually, explaining why they do not meet the criteria, by the end of the week.
Further to our last update of 5th January, we wanted to let you know how we’ve been working hard during this week to find out what we can about the latest lockdown implications for our supply team.
If you are currently working in a long-term assignment, we have been working with your placement school/setting to confirm the arrangements for your booking. We have already spoken to many of you to confirm the details, but if we haven’t yet spoken to you, we are hoping to confirm these details by the end of the week wherever possible.
As you can imagine in this ever-changing environment, these decisions are not easy for our schools to predict at the moment. However we have been asking that where possible your placement will continue, either in school or by remotely supporting pupils and/or the school. We are also asking our schools to honour placements and therefore the payment to support this. Unfortunately, not all schools have agreed to this, but please be assured we are doing all we can on your behalf in this situation. We are also working with our governing bodies, the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) and APSCO (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies) who are in turn awaiting guidance from the DfE.
Unlike the last lockdown during the spring/summer, we are continuing to receive calls for bookings for long-term and day-to-day assignments within schools for teachers and support staff. There seem to be a much larger number of children of key workers and vulnerable children in school during this lockdown and it would therefore be helpful if you could let us know your availability for work when we speak to you, or if you can update your availability diary as usual on our online portal.
We are also looking into the furlough situation again. During the last lockdown we took the decision to furlough all those eligible for the scheme and we will of course be reviewing this again in the current lockdown. To manage expectations, this time is very different as a significant cost now sits with all employers in relation to the furlough, namely statutory on-costs such as National Insurance and Pension contributions. Please note, we are not saying that the job retention scheme will not be utilised by ourselves, only that we need to fully ascertain the needs and requirements of all our schools before we can confirm whether or not we will be able to use the scheme. We will of course be in touch with a further update as soon as we possibly can.
At the moment we continue to work safely within our offices in Whitley Bay and whether we move to home working in the future or not, we will be available for you as always.
In the meantime, please do take care and stay safe, and we will be in touch as soon as we have any further information for you.
In light of last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister that we are now in another full lockdown, please be assured once again that we are doing all we can to find the answers to your queries.
Our team are working tirelessly to establish the needs, if any, of our schools and we are awaiting definitive guidance from the government in relation to the situation moving forward.
Once we have answers, we will contact you all individually, and will also post regular updates as we have them on our website and social media.
We would appreciate it if you could contact us if you hear any news directly from the school you are working in.
Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to a very strange first term of 2021!
We would like to reassure you that we are following government guidelines regarding Covid-19 as they arise. This remains a constantly evolving situation, and as always we will update you with any changes as soon as possible. Likewise, we would be grateful if you could keep in regular touch with us and let us know if you hear of any changes in the schools you are working in.
We have provided risk assessments to all our supply team (if you cannot find your copy you can find information on the First Class portal). Please remember you must follow school risk assessments and procedures whilst on placement and please remember to check your booking confirmations for any possible additional Covid information.
Finally, please remember you must inform us of any changes in your circumstances and if you have ANY symptoms DO NOT attend school, and please let us know the results of your test as soon as possible. Remember too we need to see proof of a negative test and also self-isolation notices.
Thank you and we’ll be in touch with any further updates as soon as we have them.
Just to confirm that the First Class Supply team will be working as usual throughout the new lockdown. Our offices will be open and manned between 07.30 and 18:00, and you can of course contact us out of hours as always.
We are adhering to all Covid-19 safety measures in our offices, and will continue to offer face-to-face, albeit socially distanced, registration interviews to people wishing to join our supply team.
For those who may have concerns about visiting our offices to register, we are also continuing to offer Zoom registration interviews, as we have throughout the pandemic.
Just a reminder too, that all visits to our offices must be by appointment, to ensure we adhere to our strict Covid-19 safety procedures. Thank you for your understanding.
We look forward to working with our supply team and our schools throughout the lockdown and are here for you all as always.
Just a reminder for anyone visiting our offices to remember to scan our QR code with the NHS COVID-19 App EVERY visit. If visiting both offices, please scan both as the codes are different. Thank you in advance – LET’S HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS!
Now we are preparing to get back to work with schools returning to their new ‘normal’, you MUST inform us here at First Class Supply if you have been travelling recently.
Our partner schools are expecting us to be asking all of our supply team questions relating to COVID-19 to ensure that we are all acting in a responsible manner in order to keep everyone safe.
Please be aware this is an evolving situation and constantly being updated.
If you have returned from any of the following areas recently and are self-isolating you must let First Class Supply know:
You must also let us know if you have symptoms or been in contact with anyone who has symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating. We expect everyone to follow Government guidelines on Covid hygiene and safeguarding to help control the virus. Please follow this link to view current news and advice: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Our office will be fully open again from week commencing 31 August in line with schools returning. Most of the First Class team will be back to work as normal. Whilst we are looking forward to being back to our new normal too, due to social distancing measures, and following Government guidelines, unfortunately we are unable to have anyone visiting our office without a prior appointment.
If you do need to speak to us please call us, and if an office visit is necessary we will arrange a date and time to see you.
We are in touch with all of our schools and trying to get as much information as possible as to how they will be managing their classrooms. If there are any documents schools can pass on we will include them wherever possible with your placement document email.
Please check for any additional information that you need to be aware of before you attend school.
At the moment we are preparing as much as possible for September as no one knows at this time what the new academic year will bring. This information is also being emailed to all our supply team today.
As always we will be in touch regularly to keep you all as updated as possible and look forward to working with you all again soon.
We are happy to report that all those on our supply team who are eligible for the furlough scheme will receive their furlough pay in their acccounts on Friday, 14 August 2020, in line with our usual monthly pay schedule. Payslips have been sent and all those eligible have also been emailed individually.
This pay covers the following periods:
Weeks commencing: 29.06.20, 06.07.20, 13.07.20, 20.07.20, 27.07.20.
As always, we are here if you need anything or have any queries, and please do feel free to contact us. We trust you are all enjoying the summer break!
Following on from our announcement last week, we are pleased to inform you that it is our understanding that the government has now officially confirmed that the job retention scheme can continue to apply to supply staff through the summer holidays.
The furlough scheme changes from 1st August which means there are costs associated to First Class Supply from this date. We think it’s really important that our supply team have peace of mind and are supported during these circumstances, and therefore we confirm that First Class Supply will be paying these costs, including all employers NI and employer’s pension contributions.
The furlough scheme will end for all our supply staff on Friday 28th August to be paid on 15th September.
The pay dates for furlough will continue to match our usual pay schedule, next furlough pay due on 15th July is for weeks commencing:
We will be in touch throughout the summer period to ensure you are ready for work in September. If your circumstances change and/or you are starting a long-term through another agency, or have a direct job with a School in September, please do let us know as soon as you can. We are already taking a number of bookings for Primary, Secondary and TA long-terms, as well as some day-to-day bookings, which is encouraging for us all.
As always, we are here if you need anything or have any queries, and please do feel free to contact us. We have also emailed all those of our supply team on furlough individually to inform them of our decision.
We are expecting by September that our office will be fully open, albeit in a slightly different format to allow for social distancing to ensure everyone’s continued safety, and we very much look forward to seeing you again then.
Take care and continue to stay safe!
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
We are happy to update you with further information regarding the furlough scheme. At this point First Class will be continuing the scheme up to Friday 17 July, which would have been the beginning of the summer holidays. This is not a definite set end date for the First Class furlough scheme. At the moment Treasury Directive point 6.4 states furlough payments cannot be paid for a period of unpaid leave. However, unions have written to the Chancellor for clarification and we are waiting for a definitive answer before informing you of any further decisions made – as always, we will keep you updated and be in touch again as soon as we hear any further information. All those on the furlough scheme have also been emailed individually.
The next payment due on 15th July will cover the period week commencing 1 June to week ending 26 June as previously advised. The following payment due on 15 August will at the moment cover week commencing 29 June to week ending 17 July.
The rules and guidance regarding the lock-down and schools re-opening are constantly changing. We are at this point happy to report that we are taking a number of both day-to-day and long term bookings to start in September, together with information from schools as to how they are planning managing their classrooms and staff within school moving forward.
Whilst we have been open and working both from the office and home throughout the pandemic, we are hoping to welcome more of our colleagues into the office soon. We already have measures in place to keep everyone safe, including Covid Screens and more space for social distancing.
We really look forward to being able to welcome you back to the office for socially-distanced visits soon, but until then, we are here as always if you need us for anything, and do feel free to get in touch.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
As promised, we are pleased to update you with further information regarding the furlough scheme. All those on our supply team who are eligible for the scheme will also have received individual correspondence. We are happy to report that at this point, we will be extending the scheme up to Friday 26th June, which is our next payroll cut-off date. This will be paid on 15th July in line with our usual pay schedule.
Please be aware that from 1st July the furlough scheme rules change. We will review the scheme again nearer the end of the month, and once again we will keep you informed individually, and on our website, as to how First Class Supply intend to use the scheme should we continue past this point. Hopefully by then we will be in a better position to know more about schools possibly needing supply and if any more pupils are returning.
Payslips for May furlough will be issued this week, and payments to cover the period from 27th April to 29th May will be in your accounts on Monday 15th June.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
We have again written to all those on our supply team who are eligible for the furlough scheme today. Everyone on the scheme will have received a personal email. Also a reminder that our next furlough payments will be made on 15th June in line with our usual pay schedule, and will cover the period Monday 27th April to Friday 29th May. The schools are due to re-open on Monday 1st June, though we are aware a number of our our schools will not be re-opening until 8th June. We will be in touch with all our suppy team individually once the schools re-open, and in the meantime, you can all contact as always at any time on the usual numbers.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
We are happy to report that all those on our supply team who are eligible for the furlough scheme received their furlough pay in their acccounts on Friday, 15 May 2020. Our next furlough will be paid on 15th June in line with our usual pay schedule, and will be for the period Monday 27th April to Friday 29th May. Further correspondence has also been emailed to our furloughed supply staff today outlining the pay schedule and possible changes to the scheme after the schools are expected to re-open on 1st June. At this time, there has been no decision made on how the furlough will continue after 29th May. We are awaiting further Government guidance on this, and are of course speaking to our schools to confirm definite openings and expected pupil numbers. We are however very pleased to report that we have been taking bookings for supply staff ever since the Government’s announcement, which is certainly a positive sign for our supply team.
As soon as we have further information on the furlough potentially continuing to the summer holidays we will be in touch and will continue to update you as much as possible.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
We’re very pleased to confirm that payslips were sent to all our furloughed supply staff yesterday, 12.05.2020, and all will receive their furlough pay on Friday, 15 May 2020. As always, we have also written to all our eligible supply staff individually. Further updates regarding the furlough scheme, and any other changes in relation to Covid-19 will continue to be posted online, as well as being put in writing to all our supply team individually. As always, we hope you and your families continue to remain well and stay safe.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
Further to our earlier individual correspondence, we are happy to report that we have once again written to all of our furloughed supply staff, clarifying how, in line with government guidance, calculations have been worked out for furloughed pay. As highlighted in previous correspondence, the grant will be be paid to furloughed staff on our next payrun date of 15 May 2020, whether or not we have received these funds from HMRC ourselves during the period between our submission and the pay date.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
Yesterday the government updated the eligibility criteria for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Initially the government stated that agency workers needed to be on our payroll on 28th February 2020 to be eligible to be furloughed. We are happy to report that this date has now been extended to those who were on our payroll on the 19th March 2020, which means more of our our supply team will now be eligible to be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The portal is expected to be open on Monday, 20 April 2020 and we will begin submitting our claims then. Payments will be made as outlined in our individual correspondence.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Update:
We are happy to confirm that we have written to all those of our supply staff who are eligible to join the furlough scheme. As stated in the email, we do need you to respond to the email as soon as possible to confirm that you do wish to be furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Please send your responses to:
If you are currently working on, or about to finish a long term assignment, and haven’t yet received information from us, we will be in touch w/c 13 April 2020.
As always, we hope all our supply team and their families remain safe and well.
We wanted to update you with further information and clarification in relation to the Job Retention Scheme, highlight new government guidance in relation to long-term placements, and also to tell you what is happening within the First Class team.
Firstly, we’d like to say a big thank you to all our supply staff for your patience and understanding during these difficult times for us all. We understand how hugely concerned you all are regarding your financial situation, and please be assured we are doing all we can to ensure we are able to deliver the best outcome for you. We’d also like to thank all the supply staff who have contacted us to say how much they appreciate all we are doing to keep you all informed and updated throughout these difficult times. We are very grateful for your appreciation for the ‘Coronavirus Updates’ including those in relation to how the furlough scheme will work for you. As you are aware, individual emails have been sent to you all, as well as regular telephone calls and updates from your consultants.
We have received a very small number of queries relating to the scheme, and in particular in relation to the specifics of how the pay will be calculated and the start date. We have already responded to these, and would like to reiterate our previous email was a ‘plan’ and not the final decision on how we intend to use the scheme or when the scheme will actually start. We are reviewing this daily as the guidelines constantly evolve with regards to educational supply staff, and we intend to clarify this early next week.
As we have mentioned previously, the government portal is not anticipated to open until the end of April so we cannot address all the specifics for individuals just yet. However, as we’ve said before, your pay will be calculated using the government issued instructions and we will get in touch with you individually over the next week to confirm your place on the scheme and when it will start for you. This will be emailed as a separate letter, and please remember you must respond when you receive this as we need your consent to add you to the scheme.
We are also aware of the new guidance which has just been released from Government and Teacher Unions in relation to those carrying out long–term placements, and are striving to contact our schools to get answers as soon as possible for all those supply staff who were in placements for over 12 weeks when the schools closed on 20 March. Again, we will be in touch with you as soon as hear from our schools.
On another note, we’d like to update you with what is currently happening within the First Class team. First Class haven’t been immune in this time of crisis for us all, and we have had to make changes within our own workforce.
Subsequently, we now have Hannah alone looking after our team of support staff, as we have furloughed Julia for the time being, and Kate looking after our secondary team as Clare has also been furloughed. Fran continues to look after our primary team. Our admin team of Pam, Sam and Ellice have also been furloughed (with Jemma on maternity leave.) Jonathan is still working, from home, on the payroll and safeguarding side of things. Fran, Hannah and Kate are all working from home and can be contacted on their usual numbers or by calling the office on 0191 251 5566 and listening to the options. The directors, Lesley, Steph and Dionne continue to largely work from the office in order to sort out the ever-changing and new guidance in relation to the furlough legislation, job retention scheme and long terms placements in conjunction with our governing body and legal advisors, as well as the next payroll to be paid on 15th April.
We hope the current arrangements are temporary measures, and look forward to bringing everyone ‘back into the fold’ as soon as possible. We will of course update you accordingly.
We hope the above is helpful and clarifies any queries you may have had.
We will be in touch again early next week, and in the meantime, we hope you have a good weekend under the circumstances. We very much hope you and your families remain well and you continue to stay safe.
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:
As mentioned, some of the criteria is still unknown, as follows:
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
To speak to Kate or Clare on the Secondary Team call 07527 281034 or 07805 625765 or email
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 email@example.com. 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.