Today we woke to a popular breakfast television show discussing the role of supply agencies in England. I listened with interest as a very eloquent Becca Morgan of Principal Teachers defended our sector’s position within the education community.
She was met with questions about the charges agencies make in supplying staff, the quality of teachers provided and how agencies make profit. It opened up a can of worms for the industry in terms of what is being delivered by a number of agencies with regards to their integrity.
I wanted to respond today to celebrate what New Directions Education does as a partner to schools and colleges in Wales. In 2015 we were appointed ‘managed service provider’ to schools and colleges across the country for a second time. Why was this? The National Procurement Service (NPS) works on behalf of public spending organisations in Wales – securing the best quality, most competitively priced buying for public sector organisations.
We submitted an honest, open and competitive tender and won. We based our application on our five values – community, integrity, quality, innovation and respect. We didn’t price ridiculously low – after all we want to afford the teachers who work via our teams in Wales with a competitive rate. We didn’t price too high – despite the report today, we are not greedy, we have a healthy market share which means we can afford to be flexible with our rates.
New Directions Education has become part of the schools and college community in Wales over the past (almost) 20 years. We work to support our schools and colleges not only with supplying quality staff (at competitive rates of course) but to deliver additional added value. From our award winning Compliance Team who ensure that all of the staff we send in to teach and work with our young people are safe, to the dedicated training team we set up to support staff within the education system to up skill and excel. We are not a one trick pony out to ‘cream from the system’. We care. We invest. We want our education system to be the best and we work tirelessly from account management level to senior leadership strategy to always reflect what is happening within our community.
Since we were appointed as what is essentially ‘preferred supplier’ – we have actually saved schools in Wales over a million pounds in recruitment costs. We operate a very transparent supply rates matrix and place great value on open dialogue with our clients and candidates. So my response to the investigation today is as always – ask questions of the agency you are working with if you are a supply staff member or someone recruiting. If they are as good and as honest as they say they are – they will share our open dialogue mentality.
We have to put our trust in supply agencies that are governed responsibly by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) – as educators, as parents, as students and as part of modern day economy forces.
I am proud to say New Directions Education will continue to stand the test of time, we believe in a service that hinges on respect and quality. The role of the supply agency continues to be imperative if it is conducted with both of these qualities in mind.