Launched in January 2005 by the Fife Council, the supply teachers messaging system helps cover staff absences in an effective way.
Around 1500 teachers, auxiliaries and classroom assistants have joined the program. As part of the process they were asked to provide information about their location and availability together with e-mail and mobile contacts.
When a school has a specific staff need, they can do a search and be shown a list of teachers who match the requirements. The school then clicks the ones they have chosen and the system automatically triggers an e-mail or text message to those persons. The message specifies issues like the name of the school, the length of the placement and a telephone number in case supply teachers want to take up the opportunity. The technology, developed through the council’s intranet and Fifedirect website, offers an innovative solution for a usual problem faced by schools trying to plug teaching gaps. The initiative was recently awarded by the e-Government National Awards 2006.