SCARBOROUGH’S schools spent more than £850,000 on supply teachers last year, the Evening News can reveal.
The huge amount, exposed through a Freedom of Information Act request, showed Graham School had the biggest outlay, running up a bill of £284,702.
It is believed the school’s partnership with Raincliffe School to form a new federation may have inflated the figures.
George Pindar Community Sports College, in Eastfield, spent £98,490, with Scalby School paying £63,514 for cover.
Braeburn Community Junior School was Scarborough’s highest paying primary school with an outlay of £66,896.
Headteachers put the spending down to a range of factors, including illness, maternity leave and cover for teacher training.
David Read, headteacher of Scalby School, said he was content with the school’s expenditure, which marked a huge drop from £198,000 just a few years ago when the school was hit by Ofsted criticism.
The school had 96 per cent of students achieve five or more A* to C GCSE grades this year, and Mr Read said: “The cost of supply teachers is an expensive business and there are many factors behind a school using them.
“It is a mixture of things, such as illness and maternity leave, but also training and when teachers go out on trips.
“For example, if we go on excursions and take five teachers, the cost of covering those would be £1,000 a day. You have to ask if we would we change that but the answer is no because those trips give rich experiences and social development for the pupils they don’t get in the classroom.
“The figures also reflect the professional development of teachers.
“Education and the pace of which it is changing is constantly evolving, so we need to keep up with that and will have training days out of school where we can.
“However, current courses will sometimes run in term time and we have to deal with that.
“We are really pleased with the downward pressure we have put on our spending though, because if you look at what the school was paying when it was in difficulties to the figures now, there is a big difference.”
John Senior, headteacher at George Pindar Community Sports College, also acknowledged while their figure was relatively high, the spending had benefited the school and its pupils success.
Mr Senior, who this year oversaw the school gain 88 per cent of its students pass five or more GCSEs at A* to C level, said: “One of the main reasons for using supply cover is the continuing professional development for teachers because we have train and develop staff.
“We are always identifying areas where certain members of staff want to broaden their expertise and, when that occurs, they have to go on extra courses.
“The changes in the structure of GCSE exams mean they are now very different to what they were with regards to specific examinations, so staff have to go on relevant courses to understand the marking formula.
“But we also have cover supervision on site all the time now who can fit straight into lessons and continue the work which will be used throughout the year and mean less supply cover is needed.”
Vicki Logan, headteacher at Overdale School, also said she was happy with its £57,758 outlay.
She said: “Most of the money is down to maternity cover which we get back from insurance.
“We do have some days when we use supply cover but that is a very small fraction of the money in the figures.
“We also need cover occasionally when we carry out forward planning for our school development, for example, in the scrutinising of books and have teaching assistant cover which is better than using supply cover.”