How a London Primary school now saves thousands on agency fees

The Background

Primary School in Inner London, 420 pupils

Since October 2018, the school has engaged a KS2 teacher, Claire*, via a traditional supply agency. Claire was speculatively marketed to the school via an email. Coincidentally the school had a sudden need for a KS2 teacher, and they decided to take her on.

The daily commission paid to the agency for Claire’s placement is £40.40 per day (£202/week). As of May 2019 the agency’s total margin from Claire’s placement has been (24 weeks * £202/week = £4,848).


The school and Claire were a perfect fit. “Let’s hire Claire permanently!” But wait, there’s a catch… 

Claire was a perfect fit for the school, so the school wanted to take her on permanently. But the agency’s terms apparently** required either a 28 week notice period or a finder’s fee of 25% of Claire’s salary.

The agency’s total margin would therefore cost the school either the already accrued cost of £4,848 plus a further Extended Period of Hire at (28 * £202/week) = £5,656, for a total of £10,504 (see graph below); or the already accrued £4,848 plus that finder’s fee of 25% of Claire’s salary – in excess of £9,000 – for a total of £13,848 (see graph below) . The total agency margin/commission could easily end up costing the school between £10k – 14k, just on this one placement.

As with all great teachers Claire had built a fantastic relationship with the children in her care.  But the financial implications of hiring Claire were hampering the school’s ability to offer her a permanent role.


“Let’s not do that again! There must be another way…”

The school approached Teacher Booker in March 2019 with the aim of saving money when engaging staff. The most immediate need was to hire an experienced KS2 teacher to work alongside Claire, for a maternity cover position spanning summer term 2019.

The school posted their KS2 position on Teacher Booker for free and within hours had 8 applications from fully vetted, experienced and local KS2 teachers. Based on candidates’ online profiles and CVs, the school used Teacher Booker’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to shortlist five, phone screen four, and finally interview/observe two candidates in-person. They offered the position to one candidate, and from their own network sourced another candidate and arranged a job share. Teacher Booker performed all background screening on the candidate sourced by the school, who was returning to the classroom after some time away, at no extra cost.


Crunching the numbers

Both Claire and the Teacher Booker candidates are paid to M6 scale. However all other things being equal, Claire costs the school £40.40 more per day because of the agency’s margin, which is in fact relatively low for a supply agency. But it still adds up to £202 extra per week.

Teacher Booker’s one-off subscription cost of £2000 represents approximately 15-20% of the potential agency margin cost solely on Claire’s placement – and less than half of the cumulative cost accrued up to May 2019. The subscription is paid off by the savings made (£202/week) in just under 10 weeks. In addition, there is no notice period or finder’s fee, so the school is free to hire the Teacher Booker-sourced candidate permanently at any time, with no further cost. Finally, because their Teacher Booker subscription entitles the school to unlimited bookings, there is no further cost for any more supply teachers needed throughout the year.

How Teacher Booker Saves at Least £8,000 Per Placement

Supply Teacher Agency Placement Costs vs Teacher Booker Subscription

Third party providers, including supply agencies, perform an important function for both schools and staff. But let’s ensure that the margin generated is commensurate with the amount of work that is done to source, place and manage a teacher.

Do you believe £10-14k per placement to be appropriate and fair?

Do you think schools should be able to hire great teachers without any friction or financial worry?

If you or your school has experienced a similar story, get in touch with our team for a completely free, no obligation consultation. We’ll seek to understand your particular situation and advise on and coordinate the best course of action – there are a variety of options available.

*Name has been changed
**The school has not seen, and does not have any record of, any signed Terms and Conditions
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