What is the role of a cover supervisor?


When full-time teaching staff are impacted by short-term absence, schools will turn to cover supervisors to limit any potential disruption to pupil’s learning.

But what does the role entail, and could it be a non-teaching opportunity that is often overlooked by those considering a career in the education sector?

Understanding the role

Cover supervisors step in when teachers are away – as a result of sickness or training for example – and they are tasked with ensuring that pupils behave and complete pre-prepared work.

It should not require any active teaching, as it should be a case of guiding pupils through the lesson, providing instructions and direction as necessary for the work set.

Having an understanding of a school’s behaviour policy – and behaviour management more generally – is also important, as it will be a key element of maintaining order and control in the classroom.

A cover supervisor will also require knowledge of other school policies around equal opportunities, health and safety, and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

In terms of qualifications, schools will often look for applicants that have an honours degree and experience of working with children; that said, completing a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) may suffice.

The role is especially popular amongst graduates who can use the experience to understand how schools work and whether they would like to pursue a PGCE. 

What’s in a typical cover supervisor job description?

If you’re questioning whether a cover supervisor role could be right for you, it helps to know what’s involved.

Most job descriptions will include the same key elements, with the major difference between each role depending on whether it is in a primary, secondary or special school setting.

For instance, working with pupils of different ages and abilities will provide varying challenges and will require different approaches as a result.

The main duties of a cover supervisor involve overseeing the completion of work and managing pupil behaviour while tasks are being done.

They’ll also need to respond to any questions from pupils if they are unsure about how to complete the tasks that have been set.

Should any problems or emergencies occur, a cover supervisor will also be expected to act following the school’s policies to resolve those issues.

Any work will need to be collected at the end of the lesson and returned to the main teacher, alongside a degree of feedback on behaviour and issues that arose.

What doesn’t the cover supervisor role involve?

Cover supervision is a non-teaching role, and this is reflected in the job requirements.

It should not involve lesson planning, marking or setting homework and there should not be an expectation that an individual has the same level of subject knowledge as the regular teacher.

Cover supervision could therefore provide a valuable opportunity for those who are keen to work in a classroom setting, but who do not want the pressures of full-time teaching. 

Tradewind Recruitment are an education recruitment specialist and with 12 offices across the UK, we have tons of fantastic temporary / supply, long-term and permanent jobs in primary, secondary and SEN schools, including:

Primary teacher jobs

Secondary teacher jobs

SEN teacher jobs

Teaching Assistant jobs

Interested in applying? You can view all of our jobs here or alternatively you can submit your CV - your local education recruitment consultant will get in touch with you shortly.