Month: December 2021

Sugarman awarded as a Tuition Partner on NTP

Sugarman, part of Affinity Workforce Solutions (AWS), is delighted to announce we are an approved tuition partner on the National Tutoring Programme (NTP).

The NTP was set up by the Department for Education, as part of the Government’s £1 billion funding package, to help students whose education has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and offers extra support they need to succeed.

As a Tuition Partner, schools can work in partnership with Sugarman to provide one-to-one and group tuition for pupils in specific subject areas, across Primary and Secondary schools and academies, either face-to-face or via our brand-new online platform, Affinity Tutors.

There are different funding pillars under the NTP – two of which are the School Led Tuition Grant and the Tuition Partner Pillar. Sugarman is hosting a webinar on Tuesday 18th January at 9.30am to explain the different funding pillars and explain how schools can capitalise on the subsidies and grants available by using their ‘recovery premium’ funding.

Alex Champion, Group Operations Director at Affinity Workforce Solutions, said: “We are delighted to be a supplier on the NTP to support pupils to continue to grow, develop and learn. The pandemic affected the younger generation massively and we are committed to ensuring that students have access to specialist tutors so they can achieve their potential.”

Sugarman provides additional tutoring either face-to-face or via our online platform Affinity Tutors. All our tutors are experienced educators with up-to-date knowledge of the current curriculum and are registered with Sugarman Education with Gold Standard in Safeguarding. Our tutors have completed a rigorous compliance process that is in line with Keeping Children Safer in Education and hold a current enhanced DBS.

Alex added: “Having spoken to the schools we work in partnership with, we feel it is beneficial to explain the different funding opportunities and how schools can utilise these making their funding go that bit further. That is why we are hosting the webinar on the 18th January to give schools more guidance and clarification.”

If you would like to register to join our NTP Q&A Engagement webinar or for more information about the NTP, you can call the branch or email


Returning to work after Christmas

It is a new year and a fresh start for those in education. We hope you had a relaxing break and are now ready to take on the next school term. After another uncertain and tumultuous year, some may find it difficult to head back into a school routine.  As a teacher, it is important to relax and refresh during the school holidays, whilst planning for both yourself and your pupils.

We have put together a few tips on how you can prepare to take on 2022…


Re-organise your wardrobe a few days before school starts and swap your loungewear for your work attire. Planning your outfits for the first week of school will eliminate the panic of putting an outfit together in the early hours and throw you off for the day.

Set your alarm

Try and slip back into your routine beforehand and wake up early a few days before you are due to head back to work. This will make the school day a much smoother transition and will leave you feeling less tired during your first week back.

To-Do List

It is a good idea to make a list of what needs to be done before you return to the classroom. It can be overwhelming to forget where you left off before Christmas and you want to ensure your pupils have some structure as they learn to adapt to school life after a break. You want to feel prepared that you are not walking into an unorganised classroom.

Start slowly

Just like teachers, students will take some time to ease back into learning after a long break. Try not to overwhelm them and start with some easy assignments during their first week. Maybe they can write a piece about what they did in the holidays? Or share a presentation? Schedule a task that may take a couple of days.

Stress Management

As teachers, it is easy to take on too much work at once, especially when you are planning for a new term. Be sure to take time out for yourself every day, whether it be a 10 min meditation or a walk in the fresh air. This will help to relieve stress and clear your mind.

We hope you have a successful and stress-free 2022! If you would like to find out about the opportunities we have for next year, check out our latest jobs here


Time to Teach

In this month’s blog, I reflect on the time I have spent teaching so far and what you can expect when the time comes to take full responsibility for your class for the first time…

After having spent the first half term mainly observing my mentor teach, between October and Christmas, I began to take up more teaching time. This is something that increases slowly as you begin to gain confidence and although becoming responsible for the learning of 30 children sounds daunting, I have learned so much already.

My first lesson was a “team teach” lesson whereby my mentor and I shared the teaching between us. This was a good way to ease into teaching and develop a class presence. Once I felt comfortable in doing so, I planned and taught my very first solo lesson. Don’t panic – you will not be thrown in at the deep end! Your mentor is there to guide you through the process. They will assist you with your planning and will be in the classroom with you to guide you or to jump in if anything goes awry.

At the end of each lesson, your mentor gives you constructive feedback and you are encouraged to reflect on your teaching too. This is a crucial part of becoming a professional teacher – by reflecting on our practice we learn from our experiences and this helps us to become better teachers. It’s helpful to start thinking about reflection early on, even if you are just undertaking work experience or simply observing a lesson. Think carefully about the lesson you have seen.

As you become more confident with your teaching, you will begin to take up more teaching time. By the end of this term, I will have observed a lesson in almost every subject and taught all three core subjects (English, maths and science) as well as some foundation subjects (Art, D&T, history).

One of the most important aspects of delivering a successful lesson in any subject is to have effective planning. At university, we use a planning proforma which encourages us to break down our planning by looking at the area of the curriculum we are teaching, thinking about the learning objectives and learning outcomes, and by considering the pedagogical choices and teaching steps.

Translating the planning into practice is the best part. You have 30 children relying on you to really ‘know your stuff’ and help them to learn it too, and this level of responsibility is really exciting. This is not to mention all the other elements of the lesson you will have to juggle including managing behaviour, ensuring all pupils can access the lesson and all other manners of other things that are part and parcel of being in the primary classroom. Every single day you overcome a new challenge and learn something new. There is a lot of ‘thinking on your feet’ as the lesson progresses so being alert and flexible is so important as things may take a different route than what you had initially planned for.

For me being able to witness that ‘Eureka!’ moment a child has when something you have taught them finally clicks, is priceless. I had a pupil come up to me during one of my recent lessons and tell me that he was so excited about what we were learning he felt like he was going to burst! These are the moments you have to treasure and remind yourself of when things aren’t going according to plan.

In next month’s blog, I will be reflecting on the run-up to Christmas in school! It’s the time of the year I have been looking forward to and I cannot wait to tell you all about it. I will also be looking ahead to my upcoming “away placement” and discuss how I have been preparing for that. In the meantime, if you would like to follow my teacher training journey and get more insight into the things I’ve been up to, follow me on Twitter at @BAFTeacher.


Managed Service Solutions – CCS Framework

In 2020, Sugarman Education became part of the Affinity Workforce group. Affinity Workforce is a fresh, bold and innovative business with a rich and impressive heritage. Formed from a group of established, trusted brands, and previously part of Capita plc, we are now one of the largest privately owned public service recruitment specialists in the UK.

In January 2020, Affinity Workforce Solutions successfully implemented a CCS Lot 2 Managed Service with Northern Education Trust in the North East of England. During the first 3 months of the service, we were able to release just over £113,000 of cashable savings vs. the same period prior year and we would project circa £350,000 of savings annually.

If you are looking to make significant savings on your agency supply spend here is why you should consider Affinity Workforce Solutions’ managed service offering:

  • Significant savings on your current agency spending
  • Ring fenced talent pool for all your schools
  • Specific recruitment campaigns for your Multi Academy Trust with no temp to perm fees
  • In depth and LIVE management information charting your spending per school and by candidate type
  • 1 monthly invoice for all of your schools

Affinity Workforce Solutions are a committed provider of temporary staffing to multi academy trusts in the UK. We are reaching out to gauge your interest in rationalising supply spend through the CCS framework. Affinity Workforce Solutions consists of three brands – Monarch Education, CER Education and Sugarman Education, each with strong heritage in their respective locations and as a CCS Lot 2 provider we have the facility to implement a managed service solution for any sized multi academy trust.

Check out our case study here: Crown Commercial Service

Please get in touch with Alex Champion, our Group Operations Director to discuss further our managed service offering:


Switching off from work this Christmas

The Christmas holidays are upon us and countdown to the end of term has well and truly begun.

Although you may be looking forward to the Christmas break, some may find it hard to shut off from their everyday routine and take work home with them, so they can prepare for the new term.

Some find it can be a stressful time – the expectation of spending more money on gifts, the pressure of having the ‘perfect Christmas’, or having additional jobs to do on top of your busy lives.

It is so important that you maintain a healthy work-life balance and take the time to rest, recuperate and enjoy the festivities… after all Christmas is a time for celebration!

We’ve put together a few tips on how to make the most of your Christmas break whilst feeling prepared for the new year.


Take time to reflect on the past term. What have you achieved? What challenged you and how did you overcome these? What are your targets for the term? Write down your ideas, plans and goals to give you focus during the next academic term.

Set boundaries

Once you have started your holidays, switch off any work phones or laptops that may distract you. If you need to catch up with work over the festive period, write a list of all the things you would like to achieve before the start of the new year. Once you have made your list, set a suitable date and time when you can really concentrate and spend a day preparing for the new term.

Stop people – pleasing

Many people find it hard trying to fit everything in at Christmas. Stop people-pleasing – it is OK if you don’t try to be everywhere or do everything. Prepare and plan in advance how your time is going to be shared and remember to spend quality time with those that matter the most to you.

In a world where social media has a massive impact on our lives, it can be easy to compare yourself to those you see on social media. Remind yourself that what you see online is a version of what people want you to see, not reality.

Don’t compare yourself to others – no one is perfect. Have a break from social media and take the time to focus on what really matters to you.

Focus on the positives

You may feel pressurised to buying the ‘perfect’ gift or overwhelmed with additional jobs Christmas bring. If you are feeling overwhelmed during the festive period, focusing on the positives can impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Try and focus on what you have achieved and accomplished and look at the positives of a situation, this will help you feel a sense of reward and achievement.

Surround yourself with family

Some may find it hard to connect with their family as much as they would like, due to busy work schedules and demanding work hours. If you have children, plan some festive days out or get creative with some arts and crafts.

New opportunities

If you are looking for a new challenge in 2022, why not consider working as a supply teacher. There are many benefits to registering with Sugarman Education.

Our job is about finding the best people to work in our schools. Whether you’re looking for a supply cover role or a long-term position, we’re confident we can match you with the perfect school. Find out more here.


From teacher to Senior Recruitment Consultant

James Cooney is part of the furniture here at Sugarman Education. Now in his 13th year at the company, James is one of the long-standing members of the team.

As part of our Shaping a Future campaign, we sat down with him to find out how Sugarman Education has helped him shape his future and why he is still as passionate about recruitment as he was on his very first day with the company in 2008.

A teacher in a recruitment world

James ‘fell’ into the recruitment sector. He qualified as a Primary Teacher and wanted to take a gap year before he started his career in teaching. In his gap year, James worked 6 months for another agency before joining Sugarman Education.

It was here that James decided he would stay in recruitment and so he swapped the classroom for an office.

James, who is now Senior Recruitment Consultant, explained: “My gap year has turned into 13 years! I started as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant and to be honest, I didn’t know what a Recruitment Consultant did. I learnt on the job and when the opportunity came to work at Sugarman Education I took it.”

Where it all began

James was one of three people at Sugarman Education when he started, since then they have grown tremendously – something he is particularly proud of.

“I’m proud of working at Sugarman Education and where we have come as a company. From when I first started to where it has grown to now is a massive achievement!

“I’ve built some strong relationships in the team which I think is important. When people join here, they stay 6,7,8 years plus. That’s testament to itself that we have a really good group of people here, who can develop new team members.”

Shaping a Future 

James naturally nurtures new members of the team, not only because of his teaching background but due to his experience within the business. This helps new starters shape their future and forge a successful career within recruitment.

“I think a lot of people are pointed towards me because I am the biggest biller in the team. I explain to them my journey and how they can work towards achieving this in their career. I always try to support team members and hopefully, this helps them succeed.”

James’ background in teaching has not only led him to nurture and develop new staff within the team, but it also helps him to understand the roles he is recruiting.

“I think you have to have four things when working in recruitment – loyalty, flexibility, understanding but, most importantly, empathy. Our candidates work incredibly hard in sometimes challenging roles, you have to empathise and support them as best as you can.

“I help them find meaningful placements, so continue to enjoy their role, develop their skills and have new experiences which will help their career progression.”


James has shaped his future with Sugarman Education developing from Trainee Recruitment Consultant to now Senior Recruitment Consultant. Commitment and a strong work ethic have been instilled in James from a young age.

“I always remember my mum and dad working long hours and sometimes at the weekends. This inspired me to contribute, so I started my first job at 14 and I think that has always helped me on a good path towards a successful career.”


It’s not only his parent’s work ethic that inspired James. Looking back at his childhood, we asked James what he wanted to be when he grew up and he replied, “a magician”.

He explained: “I always wanted to be a magician. My dad was a big magic man and would always be doing tricks and I think that’s what got me so fascinated with magic and its history. I still do some magic occasionally.”

Looking for supply work in North & East London? James has worked his magic and conjured up some amazing opportunities for SEN Teaching Assistant across Tower Hamlets, Islington, Haringey, Camden. You can also speak to James directly by submitting an enquiry form on our contact page.