What is a Cover Supervisor?


Sometimes there are occasions when a Teacher is unable to teach their regular classes and there is a need for another member of staff to take over. This is the job of the Cover Supervisor. They are there to support permanent teaching staff by using pre-prepared materials to cover classes in their absence.


What does a Cover Supervisor do?


A Cover Supervisor mostly works in secondary schools with Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils aged 11 to 16, although they are sometimes needed in primary schools with younger Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils. Cover Supervisor positions can be in private, public, religious, specialised, independent or free schools and academies, with mixed ability pupils.

The main role of a Cover Supervisor is to manage the classroom in the Teacher’s absence. The Class Teacher will provide all the materials and tools needed for the lesson ready for the Cover Supervisor to deliver.


Although not actively teaching, it is important for a Cover Supervisor to have the skills and confidence needed to keep the class motivated and focused so they can work on the activities set and prepared for them. The role requires you to support pupils as they work through the lesson and to understand how to help them to complete tasks, where needed.


Being a Cover Supervisor requires flexibility, as positions are often temporary or short-term and can mean working in different schools across the local area. The nature of the job also means lessons in a range of subjects will need to be covered, providing lots of variety. 

Is a Cover Supervisor job a good fit for you?


If you are thinking of becoming a Teacher or are considering working with children and want some classroom experience, then working as a Cover Supervisor is an excellent opportunity. It is also something you could consider if you are a Teaching Assistant (TA) and want to gain more classroom practice.


Prior experience or teaching qualifications are not always required for this role, but previous work with young people in an educational setting is a definite advantage. Individual schools will have their own requirements and some may ask for Cover Supervisors to be educated to degree level.


Qualified Teachers can also choose to do this type of work. Being a Cover Supervisor can provide opportunities to work in different schools, experiencing different educational environments and adapting to working with pupils from different backgrounds. 

Day-to-day duties for a Cover Supervisor include:


  • Supervising pupils, ensuring they are engaged in the classwork. 
  • Encouraging pupils to interact. 
  • Helping pupils to become more independent in their learning. 
  • Establishing trust with pupils, interacting with them according to individual needs. 
  • Assisting pupils with tasks as needed. 
  • Creating a safe, positive, supportive classroom environment. 
  • Promoting good behaviour, dealing promptly with conflict and incidents in line with established policies, encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour. 
  • Collecting completed work and returning it to the teacher. 
  • Assisting with the supervision of pupils before and after school and at break times. 
  • Providing feedback to teachers on pupil’s achievement, progress, and if any problems. 
  • Upholding policies and procedures related to child protection, health and confidentiality, reporting all concerns to the appropriate person. 

Are you a good fit for a Cover Supervisor job?


To succeed in a job as a Cover Supervisor you need to draw upon your own personality, people skills, and communication skills.


Ideally you will have:


  • Basic understanding of the national Key Stage Curriculum. 
  • Knowledge of child development and learning. 
  • Skills to self-evaluate your own learning needs. 
  • Strong communication skills. 
  • Ability to cover a wide range of lessons. 
  • Confidence to manage a class of mixed ability pupils. 
  • Ability to keep students focused and on task. 
  • Ability to provide constructive feedback that encourages pupil’s positive self-esteem. 
  • Dedication to establishing positive relationships with pupils. 
  • The ability to handle complex and sensitive issues with empathy and understanding. 
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of staff providing support to the faculty. 
  • Competence in using software such as Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. 

Qualifications, Licenses and Certifications


The following qualifications are essential to become a Cover Supervisor:


  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and Mathematics. 
  • Ideally, previous experience working with children of the relevant age. 
  • Fluent level of spoken and written English. 
  • You must also pass an enhanced background (DBS) check.


The following qualifications are highly recognised for Cover Supervisors, as they demonstrate the expected standard of professional conduct: 


  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools. 
  • Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. 
  • Level 3 Award/Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. 
  • Level 3 Certificate in Cover Supervision. 
  • Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools. 
  • Level 4 Higher Level Teaching Assistant Certificate. 


More information about these qualifications can be found on the City & Guilds website. 


Any of the following qualifications will put you far ahead of the competition:


  • An Undergraduate Education Degree or a degree in any subject. 
  • A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). 
  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 


It is not only qualifications that employers look at. A successful Cover Supervisor needs to be professional and trustworthy to take on this role. A positive and supportive attitude is essential, as well as being flexible enough to adapt quickly and easily to working with children across different classes and subjects. Having the confidence and assertiveness to manage each class are also necessary attributes for this job. 

Where can a Cover Supervisor job take you?


If you have a desire to work in a classroom, educating young people, learning from others in the teaching profession, then a career as a Cover Supervisor is a good choice. You must enjoy the flexibility and be willing to move around different classes and schools. To future-proof your career it is important to keep up-to-date with changes to the National Curriculum and take responsibility for self-development and learning in a variety of subject areas.


Starting out in a Cover Supervisor position is a great option if you are looking to become a Teacher. You will gain classroom experience in a variety of educational settings which will enable you to decide if teaching is the right career choice for you.

Where next?


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