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Frequently Asked Questions

Wondering whether you should use an education recruitment agency? Curious about how it works? Here are the questions we get asked most often by our education candidates.

 1. What’s the first thing you do with a new candidate?

We get to know you, get to know what you need, what kind of school, college or nursery you’d like, and what kind would suit you. Our priority is making sure that we don’t simply throw a candidate into a job that isn’t right for them.

2. What kind of jobs can you help me find?

Good teachers are always in demand, but we also place teaching assistants, nursery nurses, cover supervisors, nursery assistants, instructors, high level teaching assistants (HLTAs) and learning support assistants (LSAs).

3. I’m looking for contract and permanent work. Can you help?

Absolutely. We’re here to help you with supply teaching, short-term, long-term and permanent teaching work as well. They all require a different approach. With permanent roles, we might be in contact with candidates for longer. We’ll send you out to interviews, be respectful of getting references if you don’t want your current school to know you’re job searching, and then match you accordingly.

4. Which areas of the UK do you cover?

If you’re looking for a contract or supply work, we cover our home of Essex as well as London, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. If you’re looking for a permanent job, however, we cover teachers’ jobs nationwide.

5. How often do you talk to candidates?

How much we call you depends on how often you want contact from us. With supply teachers, we often talk on a daily basis! We welcome candidates picking up the phone to us, too.

6. Do I have to pay for registering with an agency?

We’re often asked whether candidates will be charged for the service, especially if they haven’t dealt with an agency before. The answer, of course, is absolutely not. If, however, you need a new DBS check (previously called the CRB), you will have to pay for that.

7. How long does it take for a DBS to be processed?

That, unfortunately, is out of our hands. For further details and to apply online, please visit https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service

8. How long does it take to become compliant for work once registered?

This varies, but if all your paperwork is ready, up to date and brought in when you come to see us, you could be ready to start work within a few days. To speed up the process, ensure your referees are waiting for our call.

9. Are we paid through the holidays?

You could be – after 12 weeks, when the new Agency Working Regulations (AWR) kick in. You then have the same holiday and pay entitlements as a permanent member of staff. For further details about AWR, speak to one of our team or visit https://www.gov.uk/agency-workers-your-rights/overview

10. What if I’m asked to take on extra responsibilities? Will I get paid?

Some candidates might take on extra responsibilities even though they’re not a permanent member of staff; helping to organise the curriculum, for example. If you’ve been asked to take on extra responsibilities, let our team know, as you could be entitled to more pay.

11. How does it work exactly – who is my employer? Who do I turn to for help?

Athona is your employer. We assure everyone they can pick up the phone to us if they need to – if you have any concerns, we’re here to help. We can train you to help deal with any issues or even put you in a different school if necessary.

12. If I’m not permanent, how do I get training?

Contractors aren’t usually included in our clients’ training budgets. We know that up-to-date training on major issues like safeguarding and behaviour management, for example, is vital, so we provide regular training. Talk to us if you’re interested.

13. Do I have a support network?

We’re always on the end of the phone; we understand that not having a permanent job means that the network of support most people take for granted doesn’t exist. We sometimes organise networking events, where you can share experiences and talk to other candidates and, based on your feedback, we’re planning more. If you’d like to be involved, please let us know.

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