NISTR Teachers Newsletter

October 2022

This edition includes information on forth coming training sessions, important reminders, and top frequently asked questions.

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Welcome to the first NISTR Newsletter

Welcome to our first NISTR Newsletter since our launch of the new NISTR solution to Supply Teachers and Schools/EA Service Users in August. In this newsletter, we aim to provide an update on NISTR and other important information for Supply Teachers.  

There are currently 8,197 live Supply Teachers within the NISTR solution, and over 181,794 bookings have been made in the system since the NISTR launch, which equates to a total of 955,770 Supply Teacher days booked!

The NISTR Project Team will continue to work in collaboration with the solution developers and the NISTR Working Group, with representatives across all key stakeholder groups including Supply Teachers, Schools, Employing Authorities and Trade Unions, to bring Supply Teachers and School Users even more features over the academic year including enhancements in the booking process and end user experience. Thank you to those that have contacted NISTR to provide feedback on the system to date, as this has significantly informed our approach to future technical releases.

We are keen to hear feedback throughout the next stages of development and will be actively seeking Supply Teachers’ and School Users’ thoughts on what is working well and what could be improved. If users are interested, please share your constructive feedback with via the  NISTR Contact Form (Please select the option ‘Feedback – compliment, comment or Suggestion’.)

New NISTR Training Dates released

We are pleased to share that Supply Teachers can now register for additional training dates in October. The training will provide teachers with the opportunity to attend focussed ‘bitesize style’ sessions that will address key system processes.  The topics that will be covered have been chosen based on user feedback and frequently asked questions on system functionality.

The sessions will last between 15 - 30 minutes and will take place via MS Team Webinar from 18th – 20th October. The training schedule can be seen below, please click on the corresponding link to register for the training session. Users are encouraged to sign up to a variety of sessions based on the topics you would like more information on. You only need to register for one session per topic, as the same content will be covered across both sessions.



Training Session Topic


18th October 2022

15.30pm - 16.00pm

Managing Discoverability for LIVE Supply Teachers


18th October 2022

16.15pm – 16.45pm

Managing Discoverability for LIVE  Supply Teachers 


19th October 2022

15.30pm - 16.00pm

Managing bookings & Short Notice Supply for LIVE Supply Teachers


19th October 2022

16.15pm – 16.45pm

Managing bookings & Short Notice Supply for LIVE Supply Teachers


20th October 2022

15.30pm - 15.45pm

Pending Account Status training for PENDING Supply Teachers


20th October 2022

16.00pm – 16.15pm

Pending Account Status training for PENDING Supply Teachers


In addition to training, we would also like to take this opportunity to remind users of our extensive online support resources that are regularly updated as we make developments to the system. Users are asked to view our training videos, quick reference guides and detailed FAQs to support their transition to the new NISTR solution: Northern Ireland Supply Teacher Register (NISTR) | Education Authority Northern Ireland (

Updating your Supply Teacher profile

Through analysis of data within the NISTR solution, we have identified a significant number of Live Teachers who have not yet updated their NISTR profile since go live, specifically their Availability, Core Subject, Teaching Experience and their Travel Radius. Consequently, without the completion of this key information, a Teacher’s profile is not visible to schools, and will not be able to receive any bookings for work nor be paid for work agreed outside of the system. This places significant pressure and frustration on Schools and the NISTR Administration team to ensure the system remains up to date for reporting to payroll.  

We have created a short presentation to support users in understanding the process of updating your NISTR profile. Please click here for access:Creating a booking: How the Supply Teacher & School NISTR platform work together (

To help us ensure that the system is utilised in the most effective way please regularly update your profile. Please act today and review the following areas of your profile:

  • Set your Working Availability - Teachers availability is initially set to ‘unavailable’ (Schools are unable to locate you in the system) therefore you MUST update your availability on your calendar  

TIP: Please ensure you have set your availability far enough in advance for any long term or bookings in 2023.  Some Schools are reporting they are unable to find teachers they have previously found in NISTR, this is because their availability is not updated that far into the future.

  • Set your Core Teaching subject (Step 4 of registration)-Teachers MUST ensure they have set one teaching ‘core’ subject ‘ (i.e. your teaching specialism(s)/ cover preferences) to show up on a School’s booking search
  • Set your Schools Availability – Teachers MUST ensure they have set their travel willingness and school preferences (via the My Schools list) in order to show up on a school’s booking search
  • Set your Teaching Experience (Step 3 of Registration)- Teachers MUST tailor their educational settings to show up on a school’s booking search

See our Managing availability and School Selection guide for how to update your Working and Schools Availability. Please see Step 3 & 4 of the First time registration guide  for how to update your Core Teaching and Teaching Experience.   

Please also refer to the sections ‘ Updating your account’ and Availability & Schools Widget’ within our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are also available to you.

Contacting NISTR

Since the NISTR launch, we have addressed individual’s technical and compliance queries through direct communication, routine fixes, and system enhancements reported up until the start of October.  We wish to thank you for your valuable feedback, which continues to inform future improvements. If, however, you experience an ongoing or new issue, or you require additional support to effectively use NISTR going forward, please contact our NISTR Phone lines. Alternatively, you may wish to submit a NISTR Contact Form.

If you are making contact via phone, please ensure you have all the necessary details to hand to assist your enquiry. The NISTR phone line opening hours are Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.

We would like to remind users, before contacting the team to please ensure you have referred to our useful support resources that can be found on the NISTR website including Frequently Asked Questions, Quick Reference Guides and Bitesize Videos. These helpful resources have been developed to ensure your query is resolved easily and quickly.

Top 10 Frequently asked questions

Please see below the top 10 questions received by the NISTR Team.

NISTR Log in/ Password Issues

If you are experiencing issues with logging into NISTR, please see steps below that may help you gain access depending on the error message you are receiving.

Password reset– ‘invalid Username or Password error message’

  • Log in to NISTR
  • Enter username (email address) and your password
  • You will see a red pop-up message ‘Invalid username or password’ displayed
  • Click the ‘Problems logging in?’ link - this will take you to the ‘Account Recovery’ page
  • Enter your email address* where prompted and click ‘Reset password’
  • A blue pop-up message saying ‘If your email is registered, you will receive and email with a link to reset your password’ will appear at the top of the screen
  • Navigate to your email inbox (outlook, hotmail, yahoo etc)
  • Find the email from NISTR and click on the email verification link or copy and paste the link into your web browser (Safari, Edge, Chrome etc.)
  • Set your new password (the password should have a minimum of 8 characters, with at least 1 uppercase letter, 1 lowercase letter, 1 number, and 1 special character)
  • Click ‘confirm’ - a green pop-up bar will appear at the top of your screen saying ‘Your account settings have been updated’
  • Navigate back to NISTR enter your email and new password (click on the eye icon to ensure it's correct) and click the ‘Log in’ button.
  • You will be given access to your NISTR account.

Email verification Process - ‘connection time out error message’

  • Log in to NISTR
  • Enter username (email address) and your password
  • You will see a red pop-up message ‘the connection has timed out, you will need to verify your email to activate your login’
  • Click the ‘problems logging in?’ link, which will take you to the account recovery page
  • Enter your email*, click resend verification email
  • Receive blue pop up - ‘If your email is registered, you will receive and email with a link to reset your password’
  • Navigate to your inbox (outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo etc)
  • Click the link in the email from NISTR
  • This will open a new log in page, you will see a green pop-up message will ‘email verified’
  • Navigate back to NISTR, enter your email and password (hover over the eye icon to ensure its correct) click log in.
  • You will be provided access to your NISTR account. 

*Please note that the email address used must match exactly.

I am Live, but part of my profile is showing as incomplete, can schools book me?

As part of the log in communications sent on Thursday 25th of August, Supply Teachers were requested to complete a set of actions to ensure their profile was ready for bookings. (see New NISTR solution now live for supply teachers)

All Supply Teachers who had used the previous NISTR system will have a status of either LIVE, PENDING CHECKS or NOT SUBMITTED when they log-in to the new NISTR system for the first time. 


Supply Teachers with a status of LIVE should only review Registration steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 when they log in to the new system. All other Registration steps (even if they’re marked as Amber/ incomplete) do not need to be reviewed, this is because you were previously LIVE in the old NISTR system and this data has been migrated across. 

Some Users are seeing this Amber/ incomplete status and believing that they are not fully ‘live’ in NISTR or available for bookings -  this is NOT the case. Please ignore the status %, as there is no further action to be taken.

Please note: It is vital that ‘Live’ users also complete the required steps outlined below to ensure they can be booked/ discovered by schools.  

  • Update your Availability  -  Your availability is automatically set to ‘unavailable’, therefore it is vital that you update your availability on your calendar.  
  • Update your Core subject  - Please add a core subject (subject specialism)
  • Update your My Schools List  - Please check your ‘My Schools’ list to set your travel radius and edit the schools you would like to work with.   

Full instructions on how to update your availability and schools list can be accessed in our Managing Availability and School Selection Quick Reference Guide

Once you have completed steps 1-4, updated your availability and My Schools list, and confirmed that your account status says ‘Live’ you are available for bookings for schools (regardless if you are seeing Amber/ incomplete status for GTCNI/ AccessNI checks) 

My account Status is ‘Pending’, what does this mean?

If your account is currently marked as ‘Pending’ in the NISTR solution or if you have contacted the NISTR Administration Team requesting an update on your Pending status, please be reassured that we are working hard in the background to validate all compliance checks (AccessNI/ GTCNI/ Right to work checks/ health questionnaires). Delays at the start of the academic year can be expected due to the high quantity of new registrations at this time of the year. Once these checks have been completed, you will receive an email notification that your account has moved to Live. We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause, and endeavour to complete the checks as quickly as possible to get you set up on NISTR.

The school that wants to book me, cannot find me on NISTR, why is this?

There are several reasons a school may not be able to locate you on NISTR. Please note, for a school to ‘locate’ you, they must first create a booking.

Please check:

  • Your account status is set to LIVE (i.e your registration process has been fully completed)
  • Your availability is updated to reflect available for the time of the booking (i.e you are not booked by another school, you are available for the full amount of time required for the booking)
  • Your distance willing to travel is within the radius of the school
  • You have set your school type (e.g Primary school) and this aligns with the booking request
  • You have set your core subject as well as including the key stages you are willing to work (and this aligns with the booking request)
  • You have set all other subjects that you teach and at what key stage (and this aligns with the booking request)

Once these have been updated, the school can refresh their search results and you should appear on their search list.

If the school can still not find you, please contact the NISTR Administration team

A School is trying to offer a booking, but I am unable to accept it, why is this?

Currently, a school can offer a booking if you have more than 75% availability for the duration of the booking. The School may ring you to discuss directly. If you have already confirmed a booking that overlaps with a new offer, the booking must be adjusted accordingly (e.g the teacher can cancel the existing booking, or the new booking must exclude the dates of the existing booking).

The system currently does not allow you to confirm a new booking that overlaps with another previously confirmed booking.

The system has been designed like this to provide Teachers the option to benefit from longer term bookings, even if they have confirmed bookings in the system. However, it is vital that any bookings that the teacher is no longer interested in are removed so that can accept the longer booking.

Please see an example of this in practice below:

  • Jane has a confirmed booking for 1 full day in NISTR at St Patricks school on Monday 14th November
  • St Marys School has completed a search in NISTR for a teacher for a 5 day booking from the dates of 14th November to the 18th November. They would like to book Jane for these days, as her details have been returned in the search results, however she is only a 75% match because she is only available for 4 out of the 5 days the booking requires. The schools sends out an offer to Jane.
  • Jane receives a notification that she has an offer for St Marys
  • Jane can see the offered booking in her dashboard but cannot confirm the booking, as it is overlapping. This is because she is currently booked by St Patricks on the 14th of November - which overlaps with the dates offered by St Marys)
  • There are 2 options available at this point:
    • Jane can cancel the existing booking on the 14th with St Patricks, and St Marys school can re-issue the booking for the 14th – 18th, which Jane can accept
    • St Marys can adjust their original booking search dates, for only the 15th – 18th November, locate Jane by using the teacher Search functionality, and offer Jane the booking. Please note: St Marys will then need to create a new booking for the 14th November if this date still needs to be covered.
  • It is recommended that the Supply Teacher and School(s) should discuss how they are going to proceed so everyone is aware how the booking will be processed.

What is a ‘Core Subject’ in NISTR?

A ‘core subject’ is one that a supply teacher can label to indicate their subject specialism(s)/cover preferences as part of ‘Step 4 – Teaching Subjects’ in their NISTR account.  

Any subject(s) added at KS2 level or below will be given a ‘core subject’ status automatically.  However, this feature is particularly useful for Post-Primary teachers that may have a plethora of subjects to offer to a school but need a chance to highlight their particular specialism(s)/cover preferences.  A supply teacher can label any subject(s) as a NISTR ‘Core Subject’ at any time by clicking on the label marked ‘CORE SUBJECT?’ in Step 4. 

When a school searches for a supply teacher in NISTR, it will need to select at least one subject to be added to the ‘Core Subject’ search box as shown in the screenshot below:

create a booking screenshot

Only teachers that have ‘Core Subject(s)’ in Step 4 that MATCH EXACTLY with the one(s) used by the school when creating a booking will appear in the schools search results.

Other subjects (not labelled as a ‘Core Subject’) added by a supply teacher can be used by a school to refine a booking search by entering it into the 2nd Subject box.

Please note that non-subject specific cover options can also be included with ‘Core Subject’ matches e.g. nursery (for nursery level general cover), foundation (for foundation level general cover), Primary/General (for KS1 & KS2 level cover), and General Cover (for KS3-KS5 level cover).

How do I manage which schools I prefer to work with?

When you login to your NISTR profile you will have the ability to set a preferred radius of distance you are willing to travel to work from your home, these schools will show under your ‘My Schools’ list. You will also be able to deselect individual schools that you are not willing to work with in your ‘My Schools’ list.

Please follow our Managing availability and Schools Selection Quick Reference Guide.

My previously confirmed bookings have been removed from my calendar, why is this?

Once a booking has been confirmed in NISTR (I.e. the teacher has accepted and offered booking), the Teachers calendar will update to reflect a line underneath the dot (See image below). This shows a teacher has been BOOKED all day.

booking screenshot icon

When the booking has been completed, the status of the booking will change e.g to be signed off, signed off etc. The booking icon will no longer display the line under the dot (See image below).

booking screenshot icon

Please note, this is how the system is designed and the removal of the line does not indicate your booking has been deleted/ removed. It simply means the booking is now in the past.

You can review your full list of bookings by visiting the booking screen, and selecting the relevant drop-down filter to view the various bookings status’s (e.g. offered, confirmed, to be signed off, signed off)

What is a TR23/ TR25 form?

Payment for all approved periods of substitute teaching are made on a monthly basis by DE Teachers’ Pay and Pensions Team. The only exception relates to those teachers working in a Voluntary Grammar school, who are paid directly by the school and not the DE Teachers Pay Team.

Prior to the 1 May 2022, in order to have substitute teaching days paid, schools/teachers would have been required to submit a TR23 form for approval to their appropriate employing authority or school for onward submission to DE Teachers’ Pay and Pensions Team.  This process has now changed.

As of 1 May 2022, all newly registered GTCNI teachers will be contacted directly by the DE Teachers’ Pay and Pensions Team and will be requested to complete and return a TR25 form.

The purpose of the TR25 form is to provide DE Teachers’ Pay and Pensions Team with the personal and banking information required from the supply teacher for payroll purposes. 

For full details on the new process and useful contact details, please see the Important change NISTR bookings publication link to read the new guidance for Principals, Line Managers and Teachers for engaging substitute teachers via NISTR.

I do not have access to the email address linked to my account, what should I do?

If you no longer have access to your email account that you registered with NISTR and you are unable to reset your password or receive notifications, you will need to contact the NISTR Administration team. 

Last updated: 14/10/2022