Fears for children's safety over supply teachers move

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A SUPPLY teacher agency has said the Government will risk the safety of children by abolishing the industry’s minimum standards.

Managers at Principal Teachers, in Catterick Garrison, said they have been infuriated by the Government’s decision to discontinue the Quality Mark scheme, which awards recruiters with a certification if they meet high standards when providing supply teachers to schools.

The Quality Mark was launched by the Department for Education in 2002 in an attempt to improve standards in supply teaching and sets minimum standards for agencies and local authorities to attain in areas such as the way they check and manage performance.

The move to end the scheme from the end of March came as the Association of Professional Staffing Companies said had become outdated.

Its chief executive, Ann Swain, said: “While it did an excellent job when it was first developed, it has not kept pace with the enormous changes in the education sector over the last decade.”

Principal Teachers said the Quality Mark ensures schools only receive teachers employed using the strictest levels of recruitment practice and safeguarding of children.

Director Becca Morgan said: “Although Principal Teachers will continue to operate to these standards, many of our competitors may not and I believe that this could place children at risk.

“It is of great concern to me that there is no planned replacement scheme and that this retrograde step leaves the teaching industry and children in our schools vulnerable and at the mercy of more unscrupulous cowboy businesses. Child safety should always be the number one priority.”

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