Supply teacher pay

Photo of Duncan Verry
Duncan Verry
CEO, Airsupply
Dec 2nd 2022 in Teacher Pay
The Airsupply leadership team looks deeper at the impact of rising living costs within the broader economic picture. With recent government teacher pay announcements, inflationary pressures and tighter school budgets - what does all this mean for supply teachers? This one is not to be missed!

Supply teacher pay UK - The good news! 

Airsupply, working alongside Twinkl, offers supply teaching jobs that are fair, flexible, and better paid. This comes at a good time to help to improve supply teacher pay levels, which in turn helps offset some of the increases in living costs. 

Join our community group for teachers, retired/returning teachers & existing supply teachers. Latest news, community discussion & regular supply teacher blog posts.

Against the backdrop of soaring living costs and government-announced pay rises for many teachers across the UK, our Airsupply leadership team explores the economic impact on supply teachers' pay, benefits, and the rising cost of living. Spoiler alert! It’s not all bad news,  as Airsupply EdTech software is helping to reduce the cost of supplying teaching staff to schools. Savings which can be passed on to our hard-working supply teachers. 

In this article, we’ll look at the wider economic picture and also focus on many of the supply teacher pay-related questions being asked across the supply teaching community. Working together to ensure supply teaching is still a great career & lifestyle choice for so many of us.

Government teacher pay announcements - Overview

In July 2022, the UK government made announcements to provide one of the biggest pay rises in recent years for teachers and many other public sector workers. The (mostly) welcome announcement came against the backdrop of rising living costs in the UK, alongside the need to attract & retain gifted teaching talent into our schools. Across the country, many teachers and school leaders' salaries will be set against new pay scales. Rises will be back-dated to September 2022 and will range from around 5% for senior levels, and up to 8.9% for early career teaching staff during the 2022/23 academic year. 

Whilst recent teacher pay award announcements have been welcomed by many, some teachers are still facing the cost-of-living-crisis head-on. With year-to-date inflation running over 9%*, ‘teacher pay’ has become a top of agenda discussion for many teachers both individually and nationally. Whilst many teachers and school leaders are earmarked for pay increases there are tens of thousands of teachers, including supply teachers that fall outside of the new government measures. There is also the concern that schools are obliged to grant the additional salary increases to staff, without having been provided with additional funding earlier this year. 

Supply teachers & schools - What do the pay rises mean?

There is some risk that the latest round of teacher pay awards, alongside pay increases provided to millions of other government workers, may of itself, lead to higher inflation as additional spending heats up the UK economy. Potentially negating at least some of the effect of the rises. For those that haven’t been selected for a rise, the cost of living gap could widen desperately. 

Many school leaders, in making good the government's pay levy for permanent teaching and support staff, will face difficult decisions. Could supply teaching be one area where those cuts might be made? 

So where does all this leave supply teachers?

Surprisingly, it's not all bad news. A variety of legacy factors, not least the ongoing theme of teacher pay (relative to other roles offered with similar levels of qualifications) have left the education sector sorely in need of attracting teaching talent. Recruitment for many schools has been an ongoing battle to keep up staff numbers - partly one of the stated reasons for the recent round of pay increases is to help make teaching more attractive as a career option. Demographic shifts within the teaching cohort, alongside working-conditions for full-time teaching staff, are reasons for teaching staff to retire or leave the sector entirely. The net effect is that supply teachers are in demand, and to some extent on their own terms. 

Having access to reliable teaching work through established, fair and flexible supply teaching agencies means that qualified teachers can put their own lives and families ahead of all else. Choosing days they want to work, setting their own pay rates, and generally gaining more control. All of which helps to offset many of the downsides of full-time teaching. 

How Does Airsupply create fair, flexible, and better-paid teacher supply work?

Since 2016, Airsupply has offered a fairer deal to supply teachers and schools by charging lower commission rates. By charging lower commission rates we allow teachers to earn more, it’s that simple! Schools save typically around 25%, so it’s a win, win for everyone. Lower commissions are the result of lower administration costs alongside other efficiencies created using Airsupply's leading Edtech software. Use this link to find out more about Airsupply and how we can help you and your supply teaching career. 

Supply teacher pay & benefit FAQs

Supply teacher pay arrangements for longer-term roles 

For longer term (>6weeks) roles, Airsupply is committed to fair pay for supply teachers. These roles will often involve lesson planning, more marking, meetings and parents evenings, so we encourage teachers to set a daily rate that matches their payscale earnings. Some agencies will talk about doing this from week 12 (because of AWR), but we do it from day 1 in the role – because you are doing a full teacher job from day 1.

If this is the case, please make sure you have considered the following:

What is the supply teaching rate you are being paid? A

Is the contract term-time only? If so, you will not be paid for half-terms, Christmas holidays and similar non-school days. 

What is the termination date of your supply teaching role? E.g. if you work “until Easter”, will you be paid for part of the Easter break, or does your contract end before the Easter holiday? If your supply teaching contract ends on 1st April, you will only be paid until that date.

Please check for sickness and holiday entitlement, as well as any inset/training days you have the right to take part in.

Will you have any PPA time? 

Are there any other expectations (e.g. coming in before term to prepare a classroom, running after-school clubs, or similar)?

If you would like assistance or have any questions about these alternatives to day rates, please call us with your questions on 0330 122 6629, or your union for contractual questions and advice.

What deductions will be made from my supply teaching payments?

The usual statutory deductions will be made from your supply teaching pay: tax, NI and student loan repayments if due. The only other deductions will be for union fees if you are a member, and pension contributions if you are part of the Teachers Pension Scheme.

If you are above State Retirement age, you don't have to pay NI from your supply teacher pay packet. Please see:


Do I receive holiday or sick pay while assigned Airsupply teaching roles?

Supply teacher sick pay - You will only get paid for the days you work with Airsupply.  

There are some circumstances whereby you may qualify for Statutory Sick Pay after you have been off sick for 4 days or more - however, the first three days do not qualify for SSP - and then only during the time you have agreed to work for the school. You will not be entitled to be paid for these waiting days at the agreed rate. 

Supply teacher holiday pay - If you set your Airsupply day rate at 1/195 of what your salary would be annually this ‘will’ include an element for holiday pay. Setting your rate at 1/195 means holiday pay is included and we can account for this (12.08%) on your payslip.


Best supply teacher pay/income administration methods for tax purposes. 

Should I be paid as PAYE, through an umbrella company, register as a sole trader or should I create a registered company? As a supply teacher working Airsupply teaching assignments, what is the best way for me to set myself up to be paid?

How you wish to set yourself up to be paid is up to you and we would suggest you get independent advice if you are confused by the different supply teacher pay options, to work out what is best for you and your circumstances.


Here is a brief description of each option:


Supply teacher PAYE

You receive your Supply teacher's pay via Airsupply's payroll (Subsy Limited our original registered company name - not an Umbrella Company).  All deductions are made automatically and you will need to complete an HMRC Starter Checklist and provide information to us before being added to our payroll. You are automatically enrolled to a Nest pension after 3 months. Employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions come out of our fee, not your day rate.

Umbrella Company

We do not recommend any or have relationships with any and we will never accept ‘kick backs’ or referral fees from any umbrella companies (UCs).  They are technically your employer and all deductions are made for you by them.  If you have multiple sources of income it may work for you to simplify admin, but there are increasing stories and cases of poor practice and ‘skimming’ (taking deductions but not explaining them) that mean we will only work with one if it is absolutely insisted by you, the teacher. The UC will also charge you a fee for carrying out the administration on your behalf.  UCs will also have a pension scheme in which you will be auto-enrolled into unless you opt-out. But beware, many agencies have used umbrella companies because they are passing on the Employer NI and Employer pension costs to be taken out of the teacher daily rate. This seems completely unfair to us. The agency sets your rate and passes on the employer costs to you! So ‘your rate’ may seem high but deductions can be in excess of 30% after all employer and employee deductions and the UC fees have been removed.


Sole trader or Limited Company

For supply teaching, it is often not possible to be self-employed. Please refer to HMRC's website for more information: Also, note that most schools prefer their teachers to be paid as PAYE or through an Umbrella company. 

If you are considering working as a self-employed supply teacher, it is vital to seek professional advice based on your personal circumstances. There are limited situations where this may be possible, but for most teachers, this is unlikely to be a good solution. 

Please contact us on 0330 122 6629 if you have any further questions, or the HMRC Employment status helpline direct on 0300 123 2326, 08.30-16.30, Monday to Friday. 


What if I am already a member of another pension scheme? Can I make contributions to a private pension scheme?

You can continue with your private pension scheme contributions. Airsupply pays (3%) into a pension after 3 months to which you are automatically enrolled.


What deductions will be made from my supply teacher pay? 

The usual statutory deductions will be made from your pay: tax, NI, pension (5%) and student loan repayments if due. 

If you are above State Retirement age, you don't have to pay NI from your pay packet. Please see

How do I repay my student loan? Student loan deductions from payroll

Any Student Loan deductions will get recognised through your HMRC Starter Form and then automatically deducted in our payroll process.

Can I work half days or sessions only? What if I only want to work half days?

It is dependent on what roles the schools wish to post. Many of our schools post half day roles to cover training, to release teachers for PPA time or for specialised lessons in primary schools (eg. Language teaching)

You need to set your availability in the Airsupply calendar as usual, and you can then just accept half-day roles if this is your preference. 


What if I already have a direct relationship with a school? What if I already work direct with a school?

If you already work directly with a school and are not registered with Airsupply, the school can invite you to register and work through Airsupply and we will charge that particular school any fees on your bookings. 

For teachers already registered, please call us if you have any questions about pre-existing school relationships, you can reach us on 0330 122 6629.

What if I already have a relationship with a school through an agency? Can I register with Airsupply and another agency?

You can register with Airsupply even if you are already with another agency. You chould have the freedom to choose.  If you are already on a specific long term assignment with a school through another agency it’s not possible to continue or transfer that assignment with us without an 8 week break. If you are unhappy with your agency, the pay they offer, lack of flexibility or just how you feel – then please call us on 0330 122 6629. If you work ad-hoc daily supply at various schools then you can do this through any agency that does the best for you.


Do I need to pay NI contributions if I'm retired? Does the school deduct NI from my payments?

If you're on the school's PAYE or work through an Umbrella Company, you do not need to pay NI contributions after you reach State retirement age. This age varies depending on your individual circumstances - please see to see what age this is for you. The effect is that you take home more of your pay as the deductions reduce. 

What is IR35 and who does it apply to? How does IR35 work?

Teachers are employed via PAYE with Airsupply. All taxes are paid and accounted for so there is no need to worry about IR35 regulations.

How and when do I get paid? Who pays me and when?

You will get paid on completion of timesheets which can easily be done on the Airsupply app. And they are already filled in for you!  You will be sent a payslip and paid 1 week in arrears – so the week after the week that you did the work. You are paid by Airsupply.


How should I set my day rate?  What supply teaching rate should I charge?

Airsupply lets you set your own day rate - and to differentiate between short-term positions (generally without much planning, staff meetings, parents' evenings, and similar) and long-term positions (which may include additional work expected above and beyond lesson time). Through the app, you can adjust your rate on a per job basis – just use the slider.

The principle is that you should be able to take home a little more working through Airsupply than a traditional agency.  You may want to consider what you are being paid by a current agency and set your day rate a £20-30 higher.

You can set your supply teacher pay per day at any rate you would like, but it should reflect the fact you will not get paid for days you do not work. If uncertain, a different way of considering your day rate is setting it according to the annual salary you would be able to get in a school with your level of experience as a teacher.  For example, if you have been qualified for three years you could base your rate on MS3 salary and any weightings usually payable e.g. Outer London waiting.

MS3 without any weightings is £31,750 p.a. so per day it is 31,750/195 or  £163 a day.  

If you were on the upper pay scale and you are working in a "regular" supply teaching position, it may be hard to achieve your pay scale, if the role itself is not an "upper pay scale" role. However, you are free to set your supply teacher pay rate and M6 level is a good guide. 

What if I am self-employed? Can I be self-employed and use Airsupply for supply teaching assignments?

For supply teaching, it is in most cases ‘not’ possible to be self-employed. Please refer to HMRC's website for more information: Also note that most schools prefer their teachers to be paid as PAYE or through an Umbrella company. 

If you are considering working as a self-employed teacher, it is vital to seek professional advice based on your personal circumstances. There are limited situations where this may be possible, but for most supply teachers, this is unlikely to be a good solution. 

Please contact us on 0330 122 6629 if you have any further questions, or the HMRC Employment status helpline direct on 0300 123 2326, 08.30-16.30, Monday to Friday.


Supply teacher pay - How much does a supply teacher earn?

The amount you will get paid for your supply teaching work depends on the amount earned and your tax code issued by HMRC.   

How much does a supply teacher earn?  Example weekly supply teaching payment based upon 4 days worked at £190 a day, and are part of the Teachers pension scheme you are likely to get paid:

Gross - £760.00

Less NI - £62.16  

Less Pension contribution - £25.60

Less Tax (assuming you have standard tax allowance etc) - £103.60  

Take home before other deductions e.g. student loans - £568.64


If I opt-in for a pension provided via Airsupply - What is my supply teacher pension contribution?

It is the employer responsibility that you are automatically enrolled to a pension. Supply teaching pension contributions will be based on your gross salary ( salary before any deductions for tax etc.) We pay (3%) Employer Contribution into a Nest pension and whilst you will see this on your payslip in 'Deductions' but it is not a deduction (check the maths). You will contribute 5% from your rate - that is a deduction.

Information and the answers provided on our website relate specifically to teachers working with Airsupply on assignments via the Airsupply platform. You should consider taking independent advice before making decisions connected to your financial circumstances. 

Find better paid supply teaching jobs

Airsupply teachers typically earn £30 per day more, doing work they choose.

Are you a school? Find out more