Library - Long-term contracts explained | ABC Teachers
Long-term contracts explained

If you’ve been thinking about working on supply as a teacher or support worker, you may have heard the phrase ‘long-term contracts’. But what does it mean? And what’s the difference between long-term, short-term, daily supply and permanent contracts? We’re here to explain it all…

Contract types

Long-term contracts last six weeks or more, often spanning one or two terms. These roles are usually booked in advance to provide cover for things such as maternity leave, long-term illness and other longer-term absences.

Short-term contracts are similar to long-term contracts but for a shorter length of time. Typically, they last around a week, 10 days or two weeks but they’re less than six weeks.

Daily supply work involves working on a day-to-day basis, often in different schools each week. Typically, you'll work one or two days in the same school before moving on to another. The work is mostly planned, but last-minute staffing emergencies may mean that you are asked to work on the same day.

Permanent roles are ongoing positions within the same school, with an annual salary usually paid monthly.

Advantages of long-term contracts


You’ll have more school types and different job roles available to choose from when working on a long-term contract. And, if your long-term contract isn’t for the full academic year, you can select different jobs throughout the year.


You have the option to work back-to-back contracts, or you can opt to take breaks in between. Taking a break suits many people looking for a better work/life balance or wanting to explore other endeavours. For example, you might work for one term and then take a half-term break to complete a personal challenge, enjoy a holiday during term time, look after family or pursue other interests.


Each contract will likely send you to a new school with different pupils and new colleagues, providing variety throughout your year. You’ll have fresh challenges and the chance to expand your network even further. Plus, you’ll be around long enough to see your students’ progress – the best part of the job!


With long-term contracts, you can gain a range of experiences that suit many different circumstances. For example, you’ll be able to trial a school before committing to a permanent job, grow your skillset by trying out different roles, or, if you are an early career teacher (ECT), build your confidence whilst completing your induction.

Things to consider

Long-term contracts offer more work and pay security than daily supply but not as much as a permanent role does. So, consider how much stability and security you need when choosing between long-term and daily supply work.

You’ll take on the same responsibilities and tasks as a permanent member of staff (such as planning, marking work and attending parents’ evenings), but your job will have a set end date. In comparison, daily supply is often just for that day/s, so some tasks and responsibilities are not required.

Happy to help

Whatever contract type you are considering, we can guide you in the right direction with our recruitment expertise and advice. Give your local branch a call today and we’ll be happy to help.

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