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Cover supervisor

Cover supervisors are suitably-trained school staff who supervise pupils carrying out pre-prepared exercises when teaching staff are on short-term absence. The cover supervisor’s main job is to manage a classroom, ensuring that students remain on task with the work they have been set.

What's involved

Cover supervision varies significantly depending on whether the role is undertaken in a primary, secondary or special school. Existing staff who are asked to undertake cover supervision should be given the option of taking it on as a role in itself or as part of a role. The role should not require any active teaching, marking or planning. Duties may include:

  • supervising work that has been set in accordance with the school policy
  • managing the behaviour of pupils while they are undertaking this work to ensure a constructive environment
  • responding to any questions from pupils about process and procedures
  • dealing with any immediate problems or emergencies according to the school’s policies and procedures
  • collecting any completed work after the lesson and returning it to the appropriate teacher
  • reporting back as appropriate using the school’s agreed referral procedures on the behaviour of pupils during the class, and any issues arising


Skills and experience you'll need

  • good communications skills
  • to be highly flexible
  • to enjoy working with young people

Entry requirements

It is up to schools and local authorities to decide what qualifications and experience applicants need to have. so it is important to check locally. Some may employ people on the basis of their experience and potential alone. However, to be asked to supervise cover for a whole class, you should be qualified to, and paid to, at least level 3. 

Possible qualifications include:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Cover Supervision of Pupils in Schools (currently awarded by City & Guilds and OCR) 

If you need more help speak to the person at work responsible for your career development or your Union Learning Representative.

Useful links

Have a look at the cover supervision role profile under the teaching and learning support job family to find out more about the role and different roles you could do.

For more information in Scotland, contact Skills Development Scotland

In Northern Ireland contact Careers Service Northern Ireland

In Wales / Cymru contact Careers Wales