Cover Supervisor assisting a pupil

How to be a successful Cover Supervisor

Being a successful Cover Supervisor requires you to be someone who can build a good rapport with your pupils in a short space of time, who can remain calm, confident, and engaging in unfamiliar surroundings whilst teaching a multitude of subjects.

Importance of a Cover Supervisor

When a class Teacher is unable to cover their regular lessons, a Cover Supervisor is essential to maintain the continuation of the pupils’ education. A Cover Supervisor is called upon when the Teacher’s absence is for a short period of time and without notice, and they are required to cover the absent Teacher’s lessons using pre-prepared resources provided by a permanent member of the teaching staff.

This role is essential in all types of schools and within all stages of learning. You must be able to keep the class focused on their learning objectives, motivate them to want to learn, maintain class discipline and keep the pupils on track.

Being a Cover Supervisor is ideal for those who wish to gain lots of teaching experience. For example, a Teaching Assistant (TA) wishing to progress, those considering a teaching career but aren’t yet qualified, or if you want to work whilst studying for your Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

This role is suitable if you enjoy working with young people, thrive on every day being different, want to pick up new lesson ideas and teaching techniques, need a flexible role to fit around your other commitments, or want to try out a teaching role before committing to becoming a qualified Teacher.

To find out more click here for guidance on when and how Cover Supervisors should be called upon, or read our interview with a Cover Supervisor.

Cover Supervisor responsibilities and how they are measured

As a Cover Supervisor you are responsible for behaviour management within the class and the safeguarding of all pupils in your care. You will need to remain calm and assert yourself by using the appropriate verbal communication and body language to maintain control.

When facilitating the lessons, you will need to deliver good outcomes by creating a positive learning environment, construct routines, get the pupils to follow your instructions and deliver the lesson using the pre-prepared materials.

The outcomes are measured using government standards to evaluate how the pupils perform within their assessments and exam results.

Qualifications, experience, and key skills required to be a Cover Supervisor

The main difference between a Cover Supervisor and a Supply Teacher is the qualifications needed. Although prior experience and teaching qualifications are not needed for this role, to be a successful Cover Supervisor you will need to be supportive, helpful, enthusiastic, and approachable. Ideally, you will have some previous experience working with children of the relevant age to the class you’re asked to cover. Some schools may require that Cover Supervisors are educated to degree level. Whereas a Supply Teacher requires the same qualifications as a regular Teacher.

To be a Cover Supervisor, the following qualifications are essential:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and Mathematics.
  • Fluent level of spoken and written English.
  • You must also pass an enhanced background (DBS) check. 

The following qualifications are highly respected:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools.
  • Level 3 Certificate in Cover Supervision.
  • Level 3 Award/Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools.
  • Level 4 Higher Level Teaching Assistant Certificate.

The following key skills are needed:

  • An understanding of the Key Stage curriculum.
  • Good two-way communication.
  • Being assertive, but not aggressive.
  • Possess empathy and understanding when handling sensitive issues.
  • Able to cover a wide range of subjects.
  • Have the confidence to manage class behaviour.
  • Being highly organised and have good time keeping.
  • Engage in continuous self-development.
  • Being flexible and able to embrace change.

The following training courses can help to hone your skills to become a highly successful Cover Supervisor:

Top tips for being a successful Cover Supervisor

  1. Plan ahead – make sure you know where you are going, what subject and age group you are teaching and who will meet you at the school. Get there on time and be prepared to hit the ground running.
  2. Reward good behaviour – model the behaviour you want to see and reward it when you see it. Make yourself familiar with the school’s Behaviour Management Policy and who to go to if you have any behavioural issues.
  3. Safeguarding – find out who is the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead. Make sure the children are always protected within a safe environment.
  4. Structure your lesson – briefly introduce yourself, handout resources, establish the objectives and your behavioural expectations.
  5. Set clear objectives – explain what the pupils should be able to demonstrate by the end of the lesson.
  6. Set expectations – establish what you expect from your pupils in terms of their behaviour, work, and results.
  7. Be patient and have resilience – be firm but fair, do not raise your voice.
  8. Stay calm and positive – say how much you are looking forward to the lesson and seeing their work.

Good Cover Supervisors are in high demand. To find out more about the role click here, and to apply for a Cover Supervisor job visit our Jobs Pages.

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