Schools Mutual Services is a pioneering and forward-thinking not-for-profit organisation led by leading education professionals from the North East of England.

The service was born out of a desire to ensure that agency and supply educators get the support, protection, and earnings that they deserve, akin to those with permanent contracts. It operates on the belief that a lack of a permanent contract needn’t mean a lack of fair wages, protection, or respect, and it’s committed to valuing supply and agency teachers as much as other teachers.

Owned and run by those who use the service themselves, schools and teachers, the institution aims to provide agency staff with the best local wage, with transparent PAY-E contracts, and provide a full health and well-being service. The money that the company takes as profit is reinvested into the schools, teachers and educational system in the area, benefitting everyone involved, not just the big bosses.

Various schools in the area currently use Schools Mutual Services, including; Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and local North East LEA Schools.

Nick Hurn OBE, the Chairman of Schools Mutual Services and CEO of Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, said: “We have two key aspects that underpin our company. The first is our desire to recycle much-needed money back to schools and to limit excessive profits being taken out of the public purse.

The service is owned and run by those who use it themselves
The service is owned and run by those who use it themselves (Image: Getty Images)

“As chairman of Education Mutual, a not-for-profit education insurance provider supported by DfE (Department for Education), we have seen this model work very successfully for schools across the United Kingdom. I have been keen to spread the concept and philosophy to a wider audience so the idea of Schools Mutual Services was formed.

“Secondly, the quality of our service, which is based on a Mutual concept. This model has allowed us to create an agency that focuses on fair staff pay, better pension options and the same health and well-being service that all Education Mutual staff members receive. Schools Mutual Services ensures staff pay is high while providing a competitively priced service for schools. In my opinion, it’s a service that is unrivalled in the sector at the moment.”

Discover some of the ways that the agency could improve your experience as an agency or supply teacher:

Better pay and contracts

Currently, many supply teachers at traditional agencies are hired on umbrella contracts, which see larger proportions of pay being taken from their monthly pay. Schools Mutual Services is dedicated to providing fair and leading rates of pay to all, so it only uses PAY-E contracts, entitling you to more take-home pay, holiday allowance and above-average pension options.

Many schools in the north east currently use Schools Mutual Services
Various schools in the north east currently use Schools Mutual Services (Image: Getty Images)

Health and well-being

The company offers a fantastic health and well-being service to staff, which covers workers for over 100 conditions. Offering invaluable benefits such as 24/7 GP appointments and mental health stress counselling, the health and well-being support ensures that all teaching staff have access to the help and support that they deserve. The benefits even include physiotherapy and musculoskeletal services.

Schools Mutual Services provides experienced, registered nurses, who not only understand the physical, mental and emotional needs of those affected by an accident, serious illness or emotional trauma but who also are accustomed to listening, caring and empathically supporting an individual with their issues.

Career progression

For supply teachers who are interested in gaining full-time employment, this could be the perfect company to be partnered with. Not only is it committed to being an ethical and efficient company, but one in three supply employees end up receiving permanent contracts to work at the schools they supply for.

The service will also help supply staff to skill up, and become more employable by referring them to valuable teacher training programmes.

Schools Mutual Services are proven to save on school budgets
Schools Mutual Services are proven to save on school budgets (Image: Getty Images)

Putting you first

The not-for-profit works around teachers’ individual requirements; it respects the boundaries and limitations set out by each person and refuses to try and convince you to work when you’ve asked not to. By prioritising the person and not the profit, Schools Mutual Services is able to provide work that matches your personal criteria.

By priding itself on its putting its member schools and workers at the forefront of its choices, the service has experienced a growing reputation for being a fantastic go-to supply service and has received many five-star reviews on recruitment websites such as Indeed.

Better for schools

Schools Mutual Services are proven to save on school budgets without compromising the quality of staff provided and are on call daily to assist with any issues that might arise. It is also able to provide financial reports within good time and it holds bi-weekly meetings with Trust and Academy head office teams.

The service is a member of APSCO, and chaired by a leading education professional with an OBE to services within education, schools will have peace of mind knowing that staff are treated well, paid their worth and benefit from a sense of community.

To find out more about Schools Mutual Services, click here.