flexiteach is an online platform that allows schools and teachers to build small communities that express a mutual preference for working with each other. Schools can indicate their favourite teachers and teachers indicate their favourite schools. Our objective is to match these preferences so that favoured teachers are invited to work by their favourite schools.
No, we are not. There is an acute shortage of teachers and a financial mismatch between supply and demand. Agencies have a critical role to play in sourcing new teachers and generally enlarging the teaching pool. However, where a school is familiar with good candidates already and/or feels comfortable acting without a middleman we believe there is a role for flexiteach, but it’s unlikely to replace the need for agencies.
We charge schools a monthly subscription fee for using our booking system.
It’s not essential but teachers that have nominated a preferred group of schools are more likely to be invited to work, assuming that the preference is mutual. Teachers that have not nominated any preferred schools or been nominated as preferred teachers by schools will have to build up a following before they can command regular invitations and higher earnings.
Yes, there are several differences; here we deal with the two main ones. The first difference is that schools will use flexiteach to contact you directly with an invitation to work when the need arises – contact will be made electronically by email, text and app notification. That invitation will have details of the school, fees, dates and all other information. You do not have to accept an invitation – only if you want to.You will however, have to give us regular updates, using our app or the web, as to your availability. We don’t want to be sending you invitations if you are already working elsewhere or on holiday.
Secondly, the fees you receive are likely to be significantly higher working through flexiteach than when working through an agency. This is because agencies usually keep around one third of the fees they charge to schools. They do this in order to cover their costs and make a profit. So if you are being hired out at £210 per day, the agency is likely paying you £140 and keeping £70 per day. Without agency fees that £70 per day is available to split between you and the school. If the school makes a saving of £30 per day, that’s an extra £40 per day for you – or £600 per month extra if you work 15 days.
We arrange for income tax, national insurance and pension payments to be deducted from your fees. We do this by using an umbrella company. To clarify: an umbrella company is a limited company set up to be your legal employer and comply with the statutory requirements that every employer is required to meet by law. If an umbrella company didn’t exist, you would either have to convince the school to hire you on PAYE like a permanent employee, or convince them to hire you as a sole trader (and hire an accountant to work out your tax liability at the end of the financial year and make you IR35 compliant). We explored both these options – neither was acceptable to any of the schools that we consulted.
An umbrella company will deduct a fee from your take-home pay for fulfilling its statutory duty as your employer, plus calculating and processing your payroll and pension. The charges are 4% of your earnings before tax or £13 per week – whichever is the lower. The company is also required by law to deduct employers’ national insurance contributions, employees’ national insurance contributions, income tax and pension payments unless you have opted out. For a practical example of how costs apply please go to our website.
Umbrella companies don’t always get a good press. But having researched a number of possibilities, consulted with a number of schools and teachers and invited the unions to suggest a better option for the teacher, we concluded that this was the best option. flexiteach do not make any revenue from the umbrella company, if you have a better alternative that you would like to suggest, we are certainly willing to hear it.
Each week schools will approve your time sheet online and your after-tax salary will be paid weekly into your bank account in the same way as you probably get paid now.
No, you don’t. Though just like in the outside world, the less frequently you accept an invitation, the less frequently you’re going to be asked.
It happens. You may be out of luck. In this situation, your options are to do what you would do normally. You’ve lost nothing by being on flexiteach.
Yes, absolutely. It would be prudent to have as many preferred schools in your group as possible; that’s the best way to ensure that you get regular well paid work.
It happens. You may be out of luck. In this situation, your options are to select another of your preferred teachers or use a new teacher. The last resort is to use an agency.
Yes, absolutely. It would be prudent to have four to six preferred teachers you can call on – perhaps more if you are a large school.
Yes, you can; though we don’t advise sending more than three invites.
That’s up to you. If it’s an emergency and you need to find someone in 30 minutes or less, then put a short time limit. If it’s a managed absence, allow longer for a reply.
As this is a new service, it will happen. Then you go back and do what you do now. What have you lost? The time taken to send an invite and for them to respond by your deadline? There is no downside.
No, but it helps. The best recommendation is your own judgement. If you’ve used a teacher before and would hire them again, there’s no better recommendation than that.
Each and every teacher on the flexiteach website has been personally interviewed at our London office or at designated offices in other cities. The photos that you see of the teachers have been taken by us – though occasionally a teacher will bring their own photo because they consider themselves to be better photographers than us (and they’re usually right). In addition to a personal interview, we also check the following documents, which must all be produced as originals:
- Proof or right to work in UK such as a passport or visa
- Two proofs of current address. This can include driving licence, utility bills or bank statements, if less than 3 months old. Alternatively: council tax bill, mortgage statement, pension policy document.
- Proof of National Insurance number
- QTS & degree certificates
- DBS & Overseas police checks (if required)
- They must also complete our extensive registration form
- 2 references that cover a 2 year period. Most recent employer must be one of the referees.
- CV in reverse chronological order, covering the last ten years with all gaps in employment explained.
All the above documents are available for you to view on the teachers’ profile page.
Two ways. First by using teachers you’ve worked with previously. Second, by using your judgement when evaluating a new teacher’s CV and history. When you use an agency, it’s the job of the agent to ‘sell’ you that teacher (who may not always measure up to the sale). This way, you use your own judgement. If you are not satisfied you should not use them again.
You can do. Some schools already run their own pools or have a few preferred teachers they can call on occasionally. For most schools however, it is more convenient, cheaper and safer to use a third party who will take care of teachers’ diaries, contracts, payroll, income tax and NI.
No. Teachers will be employed by a limited company who will act as their employer and pay employers’ national insurance contributions, employees’ national insurance contributions, employees’ income tax, employees’ pension contribution and so on. Such a company is usually referred to as umbrella company.
For the school, there are no costs. However, an umbrella company will charge the teacher a fee for fulfilling its statutory duty as employer and processing the payroll and pensions. In this case, charges are 4% of earnings before tax - or -£12 per week – whichever is lower. Umbrella companies don’t always get a good press. But having researched a number of possibilities, consulted with a number of schools and teachers and invited the unions to suggest the best option for the teacher, we concluded that this was it.
We sort this out. Through the umbrella company, we will arrange payment of the teacher’s taxes and national insurance from the teacher’s daily fees.
Once the school indicates than an assignment is complete, which might be daily, weekly or monthly, an invoice will be sent by the teacher’s employer. The school should pay this invoice as it would an agency invoice.