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Questions You Need To Ask Your Agency

If you met us at a university career fair, you only needed to look around the room to see how many different agencies there are that recruit teachers for the UK. At the end of the day we all offer the same service (although the quality of this service differs greatly) so it can be incredibly hard to tell us apart.

To help out we’ve given you a list of 7 questions to ask of your agency to make sure that you’re getting what you’re entitled to.


1) How many offices do you have?
Don’t rely on small agencies with limited scope and size – register with established agencies with strong school networks to increase your chances of securing a role (be it casual or full time) that suits you best

Tip: We are the largest education staffing agency in England. We have 40 branches with 19 separate offices across England. We work with nearly 1000 schools in London alone and over 3500 across England.


2) Do you use umbrella companies?
Umbrella companies are a way for the agency to save money, NOT a way for you to earn more. Regardless of if you can claim your flights to the UK as a tax deduction (which you are entitled to do when you register with an umbrella company), you will always be worse off being paid through an umbrella company.  This is often to the tune of £50-60 a week.
Agencies that advocate the use of umbrella companies do so out of their own financial interests, not yours, so if your agency recommends that you register with an umbrella company then run for the hills!

Tip: We do not make it a requirement that teachers register with an umbrella company, nor do we financially penalise those who choose to be paid directly through our PAYE payroll team. We have our own payroll department and pay you directly - not through an outsourced umbrella company - so your take home pay is maximised when you work with Protocol Education


3) What is my take home pay (after tax) going to be each week?

This is one of the more important questions you need to ask your agency. If you are paid through an umbrella company you have to pay a myriad of additional fees and charges; this severely impacts your take home pay. If you choose an agency that pays you directly - like Protocol - you are paid weekly and you pay only the taxes you are meant to pay, not additional fees and charges like you do with an umbrella company.


Tip: If you work 5 days a week in London on our minimum rate of £130 you will take home approx. £505 each week. If you are on £150 a day you will take home £570 per week. Ask your agency how your take home rate compares - you will never earn more money being paid through an umbrella company on the same rate of pay. Never.



4) What work options can you offer me?
Register with an agency that offers a variety of work options; daily casual relief (supply) teaching, guaranteed casual work, short term blocks and full time roles. You need to register with an agency that listens to your preferences and acts upon them. If you’re only looking work casually, and your agency is steering you to accepting full time roles, this reflects their interests, not yours.  This is a good barometer of how you will be treated whilst in the UK too.

Tip: We offer all types of work and will listen to your preferences too. If you’d prefer to start of casually first then that is perfect for us too – we can’t get enough casual teachers! If your goal is to have your own class then we can organise Skype interviews before you leave too. The choice is yours.


5) Can you offer me guaranteed casual work?
Any agency worth their salt nowadays can offer you guaranteed casual work. Check out ours here.

Tip: Other agencies can offer you guaranteed work but will make you sign with an umbrella company as a requirement. Be careful!


6) How far will I have to travel?
This is the benefit of working with the largest agency in England; we have branches and offices everywhere. In London most teachers travel 45-50 minutes one way to school on public transport; often times less, occasionally longer. It does depend on where you live, but ask your agency how long you have to commute each day.

Tip: In our guaranteed work agreement (GWA) we make it so that you never have to travel more than an hour to a school  Try finding an agency that guarantees that you won’t have to travel more than an hour in London as part of their agreement!


7) Do you make me sign a contract?
Would you really want to sign a contract before you leave? Heading to a new country for the first time can be daunting – especially if you take a full time role – so be wary of any agency that gets you to sign a contract before you leave. What happens if things go wrong? Am I financially liable? What if I don’t enjoy my time at school?

tip: there are no contracts with Protocol - you always maintain ultimate flexibility.


This just scratches the surface of the conversations you need to have with your agency to ensure that everything is transparent and you’re getting everything that you’re entitled to. Feel free to contact your local Aussie consultant for more info on these questions and to being the registration process.

Tags: Teaching in London, Teaching Agencies for Australians in the UK, Teaching Agencies for Australians in England, Teaching Agencies for Australians in London

Category: Australian Teachers

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