Author: Sugarman Education

Behaviour Management Techniques for SEN Students


Managing behaviour in a classroom setting can be challenging. However, when it comes to students with Special Educational Needs (SEN), teachers and teaching assistants must adopt especially thoughtful and adaptable strategies. These students often require a more individualised approach to ensure that they can participate fully in learning and social activities. 

If you’re working with special needs children and are stuck on how to go about managing the behaviours of your students, we’ve got you covered! We will identify classroom-based strategies, which may be useful in meeting pupils’ needs within their lessons. By implementing the following techniques, SEN teachers and teaching assistants can create an environment where all students feel valued and able to achieve their potential. 


Positive Reinforcement 

One of the most effective strategies in behaviour management is positive reinforcement. SEN students often respond well to rewards for positive behaviour rather than punishments for negative actions. This could be verbal praise, stickers, or earning time for a preferred activity. The key is to make the reinforcement immediate and specific, so the student knows exactly what behaviour is being rewarded. 


Clear and Consistent Rules 

Clear, simple, and consistent rules are crucial for SEN students, who may not understand complicated instructions. Visual aids such as charts or pictures can help reinforce what is expected of them. Consistency in enforcing these rules, across different times and settings, helps students learn appropriate behaviours more quickly. 


Structured Environment 

A structured classroom environment can significantly reduce undesirable behaviours. This includes having a predictable routine, organised physical spaces, and clearly defined areas for different activities. Such structure helps SEN students feel secure and understand what is expected of them throughout the school day. 


Choice Offering 

Giving students choices can be a powerful technique to manage behaviour. By allowing choices in their activities, how they complete tasks, or with whom they work, teachers can motivate students and reduce behavioural issues. Choices empower students and give them a sense of control, which can lead to better engagement and reduced frustration. 


Use of Visual and Verbal Cues 

Visual and verbal cues can help guide behaviour before issues arise. Visual schedules, timers, and cues can help students understand transitions and prepare for changes in activities, which can often be triggers for behavioural issues. Gentle verbal reminders can also help reorient a student’s attention and reinforce expectations. 


Collaborative Goal Setting 

Work with pupils to find out what they need. Engaging students in discussions about their own needs and goals can be useful. This collaborative approach not only respects their input but can lead to more personalised and effective strategies. Ask them what helps them feel calm, focused, and happy at school, and integrate this feedback into your behaviour management approach. 


Breaks and Sensory Tools 

Scheduled breaks can be particularly beneficial for students who may become overwhelmed or overstimulated. During these breaks, sensory tools like stress balls, resistance bands on chair legs, or quiet areas can help students manage sensory overload and regain focus. 


Adapt the Physical Environment 

Modifying the classroom layout to minimise distractions can significantly benefit SEN students. Consider factors like seating arrangements away from high-traffic areas, using partitions for students who benefit from reduced visual stimulation, or creating clearly marked zones that help students understand where different activities take place. 


Clear Communication 

Communicate clearly and simply. Use clear, concise language when giving instructions or setting expectations. Rephrasing complex directions into simpler terms and using visual aids or gestures can help ensure that all students, regardless of their abilities, understand what is expected of them. Consistent language and symbols used across various contexts help reinforce learning and understanding. 


Individual Behaviour Plans 

For students with more significant challenges, individual behaviour plans (IBPs) tailored to meet their specific needs can be effective. These plans are developed in collaboration with SENCOs, psychologists, and parents to ensure that the strategies are cohesive and supported across home and school environments. 


Structured Reward Systems 

Set up reward systems for good behaviour. Develop structured reward systems that are predictable and easily understood. This can involve a token economy where students earn tokens for specific behaviours and exchange them for a reward, or a chart where progress towards a reward is visually tracked. Ensure that the rewards are meaningful to the students and aligned with their interests or needs. This method not only motivates but also teaches valuable skills related to cause and effect, planning, and delayed gratification. 



Behaviour management for SEN students isn’t about enforcing a rigid set of rules but rather about creating a supportive learning environment that anticipates and meets their unique needs. 

By implementing these strategies, educators can help SEN students navigate their school day successfully. Ultimately, the goal is to equip these students with the skills to manage their behaviour, enhancing their ability to learn and interact with others both inside and outside of the classroom. This approach not only benefits the students but also contributes to a more inclusive and supportive educational environment for everyone involved. 

Are you interested in starting your career in SEN education? Click the link below to view our latest SEN job vacancies. 

Explore SEN roles here. 


Spooky Sustainability Myths: Busted!

Welcome to Recycle Week 2023!

This October during recycle week 16th to the 20th, we’re diving headfirst into the world of sustainability and recycling to bust the most common and spooky myths that have been haunting our eco-consciousness.

Join us on this adventure as we shed light on the truth behind these myths in a witty and informative way. Armed with knowledge, we can all make informed choices and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Top Tips for a Sustainably Spooky Halloween

Myth #1: Recycling is a waste of time and resources

Bust: Recycling is an essential part of the sustainability puzzle

Recycling has often been misunderstood as a futile process that consumes more resources than it saves. However, this myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Recycling plays a critical role in preserving our planet’s resources by reducing the need for raw materials, saving energy, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. By recycling, we can help conserve water, reduce pollution, and minimise waste in landfills.

So, the next time you catch yourself thinking recycling is a waste of time, remember that every action counts when it comes to creating a greener future.

Myth #2: It doesn’t matter if I don’t recycle; others will do it for me

Bust: Every individual’s contribution is vital for a sustainable future

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the responsibility for recycling lies solely in the hands of others. However, the truth is that each and every one of us has a role to play in creating a sustainable future.

Fostering a recycling mindset starts at home, in schools, and in the workplace. By actively participating in recycling programs, we demonstrate the power of collective action and send a strong message to manufacturers and policymakers that sustainability matters to us.

So, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you; take charge and make recycling a priority in your daily life.


Myth #3: All recyclable materials are actually recycled

Bust: Understanding what’s truly recyclable is key

In the age of greenwashing and confusing recycling labels, it’s no wonder this myth has gained traction. The truth is that not all materials labelled as recyclable actually get recycled. Some materials, such as certain plastics or mixed materials, are harder to recycle or lack the necessary infrastructure for efficient processing.

To make informed eco-friendly choices, educate yourself about what can and cannot be recycled in your local area. Look for clear recycling symbols and guidelines provided by your local council or waste management company.

By understanding the recycling process, you can make better choices when it comes to purchasing and disposing of items.

Find a recycling facility near you.

Now that the spooky sustainability myths have been busted, let’s put our knowledge into action. Together, we can create a world where recycling is the norm, sustainability is embraced, and future generations can thrive.

If you would like to read more about Recycle Week 2023 then head over to the link below!


Recognising Dyspraxia in the Classroom: 7 Key Signs for Teachers

How to spot Dyspraxia in the Classroom?

Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), affects children’s coordination and motor skills. For Dyspraxia Awareness Week from 9th to 14th October 2023, it’s important that educators understand the signs of dyspraxia to provide inclusive support to their students.

The experience of dyspraxia/DCD varies for each individual, influenced by factors such as age, skill development opportunities, environmental demands, and the support/understanding received from their surroundings. Nevertheless, there are identifiable common signs of dyspraxia/DCD to look out for. In this blog, we will explore seven key signs that teachers can look out for to recognise a child with dyspraxia in the classroom.

1. Difficulty with Physical Activities:

Children with dyspraxia often struggle with running, jumping, hopping, catching, and throwing, compared to their peers. They may appear less coordinated and encounter challenges in executing these basic motor skills.

2. Frequent Tripping and Falling:

Dyspraxic children may display an increased tendency to trip and fall, which could be attributed to issues with balance and spatial awareness. If a child consistently exhibits clumsiness or experiences frequent accidents, dyspraxia might be a factor worth considering.

Dyspraxia in the classroom

3. Poor Pencil Grip and Immature Writing:

A notable sign of dyspraxia is a poor pencil grip, resulting in slow and immature handwriting. Teachers should observe students’ fine motor skills closely, as well as their ability to hold and control writing instruments effectively.

4. Difficulty with Social Interactions:

Children with dyspraxia often find it challenging to keep friends and struggle to judge appropriate behaviour in social situations. They may require additional support and guidance in understanding social cues and forming meaningful connections with peers.

Dyspraxia in the classroom

5. Difficulty Following Instructions:

Dyspraxic students may struggle to process and follow instructions effectively. They might require instructions to be broken down into smaller steps, repeated, or provided in a visual format to enhance understanding and ensure successful task completion.

6. Challenges with Time Management:

Managing time can be particularly difficult for children with dyspraxia. They may struggle with gauging time intervals, estimating the duration of activities, and adhering to schedules. Providing visual aids, timers, or structured routines can help them better manage their time.

Dyspraxia in the classroom

7. Flourishing in One-on-One or Small Group Settings:

Dyspraxic students often thrive in one-on-one interactions or small group settings. They may benefit from additional support, personalized attention, and tailored teaching strategies to accommodate their unique learning needs.

By recognising these key signs, teachers can identify potential dyspraxic students in their classrooms and provide them with the support and resources needed for their academic and personal success. Dyspraxia Awareness Week presents an opportunity for educators to promote inclusive learning environments and empower every child to reach their fullest potential.

For more information on Dyspraxia and Dyspraxia Awareness Week head to:


10 Ways Educators Can Support Children’s Mental Health

Mental health is important at all ages

World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10th, is a crucial reminder of the importance of mental well-being in our lives. This year let’s shine a spotlight on the role educators play in supporting children’s mental health in schools.

Teachers and teaching assistants are not just academic guides; they can also be pillars of strength and support for students who are struggling with their mental health. This listicle offers ten practical ways teachers and teaching assistants can support students struggling with their mental health.

1. Recognise the Signs:

Stay vigilant for behavioural changes, academic declines, and emotional expressions.

2. Create a Safe Space:

Encourage open communication, practice mindful listening, and normalise discussions about mental health.

3. Positive Reinforcement:

Boost students’ self-esteem by acknowledging their achievements, no matter how small.

4. Work in partnership with Professionals:

Share concerns with school counsellors and psychologists and work together to create support plans.

5. Promote Self-Care:

Set an example by maintaining a healthy work-life balance and seeking support when needed.

6. Attend Training:

Stay informed about mental health resources and attend relevant training sessions.

7. Coordination with Parents:

Work together with parents to ensure students receive consistent support at home and school.

8. Inclusivity and Diversity:

Respect cultural differences and consider diverse backgrounds when offering support.

9. Teach Stress Management:

Integrate stress-reduction techniques into the curriculum to empower students with coping skills.

10. Encourage Peer Support:

Create a supportive classroom atmosphere where students can help each other and share experiences.


A different kind of homework…

Britain Get Talking – ITV Campaign

Additionally, on World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2023, ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign is taking a unique approach to address the mental health challenges facing school children. With mental health concerns rising in nearly 40% of school children, this campaign is assigning a different kind of homework—one aimed at reducing stress and anxiety by encouraging open conversations about what’s on our minds. You can participate by engaging in a chat tonight or taking part in their national homework exercise. There’s no need for pen and paper; you can start by downloading their task and expressing your worries by writing or drawing them on the front cover. It’s a meaningful initiative to promote mental well-being and create spaces for vital discussions about mental health.

Download the ITV Campaign schools resource pack here:

Make a difference to children’s mental health

Teachers and teaching assistants have the potential to make a profound impact on a child’s mental health. On World Mental Health Day 2023, let’s commit to creating compassionate, safe, and inclusive learning environments where children can thrive academically and emotionally.

By recognising the signs, promoting open communication, collaborating with professionals, encouraging self-care, and embracing diversity, educators can be beacons of hope and support for children facing mental health challenges. Together, we can help our students navigate the path to mental well-being and a brighter future.

Remember that there are numerous organisations that offer valuable resources and advice to teachers concerned about their students’ mental well-being. Don’t hesitate to reach out to organisations like YoungMinds for more information and assistance.


Unsung Heroes: How Support Staff Supercharge Inclusion in SEN Schools!

In the bustling world of education, the spotlight often shines brightly on teachers, principals, and curriculum development. However, there’s a group of unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes, making a profound impact on the lives of students with special educational needs (SEN). These unsung heroes are the support staff, and their role in boosting inclusion in SEN schools is nothing short of remarkable.


Support Staff: The Heartbeat of Inclusion

In any SEN school, the support staff is the heartbeat of inclusion. These dedicated individuals include teaching assistants, speech therapists, occupational therapists, behaviour specialists, and many more. Their primary objective is to ensure that every student, regardless of their unique challenges, receives the education and support they deserve.


Personalised Learning

One of the most remarkable aspects of support staff in SEN schools is their commitment to personalised learning. They understand that no two students are the same, and they go the extra mile to tailor their teaching methods and strategies to meet the specific needs of each child. This personalised approach can make all the difference in a student’s academic and personal development.

Building Strong Relationships

Support staff excel at building strong and nurturing relationships with their students. In SEN schools, where trust and emotional support are paramount, these relationships are the foundation of success. Through patience, empathy, and understanding, support staff create safe spaces where students can thrive and express themselves without fear of judgment.


Addressing Diverse Needs

SEN schools cater to a wide range of disabilities, from autism spectrum disorders to speech and language impairments. Support staff members are the experts who bridge the gap between students and their academic goals. They use their expertise to implement specialised interventions and accommodations, ensuring that no student is left behind.

Promoting Independence

Inclusion doesn’t just mean sitting in the same classroom; it also involves fostering independence and self-confidence. Support staff work tirelessly to empower students to become self-advocates, teaching them essential life skills and providing the scaffolding they need to navigate the world with confidence.


Collaboration is Key

Support staff members are true team players. They collaborate closely with teachers, therapists, and parents to create a holistic support system for students. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone is on the same page, working toward a common goal: the success and well-being of the students.

SEN teacher working in a nursery school

Recognising the Unsung Heroes

In SEN schools, it’s crucial to recognise and appreciate the invaluable contributions of support staff. Their dedication, patience, and unwavering commitment to inclusion create an environment where every child can flourish. As a society, we owe a debt of gratitude to these unsung heroes who, day in and day out, make a profound difference in the lives of students with special educational needs.


If you are interested in a support role within an SEN school get in touch with our team today!

Click here to send us an enquiry!


Affinity Extra: Our Online Cashback Platform for Candidates

 Here at Sugarman Education we appreciate the hard work and dedication of our candidates. That’s why every candidate has access to Affinity Extra – our  discounts and cashback platform. 


Candidates have access to offers from high street stores, supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas and attractions! 


Affinity Extra opens the door to exclusive discounts on a wide range of products and services. From fashion to electronics, groceries to dining out, entertainment to leisure activities – enjoy substantial savings on your everyday expenses. 


As well as discounts and cashback offers, candidates also have access to wellbeing resources and free eye tests.


Sugarman Education candidates can log into their Affinity Extra by clicking here


Affinity launches mission to reduce carbon emissions

Affinity Workforce Solutions has launched a brand new campaign – Affinity Zero, to help protect communities across the globe by reducing its carbon footprint.

Monarch Education, part of Affinity Workforce Solutions (AWS), is committed to playing its part in helping the planet by reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint and becoming a sustainable business.

AWS and its sister brands have teamed up with organisations Greener Energy Futures and TEMWA Carbon Balance, to offset and reduce its carbon emissions to protect communities across the world that are severely impacted by climate change. Savings made through reducing our carbon will be re-directed to support education projects in Malawi.

As part of Affinity Zero, AWS has appointed 7 green champions across its 10 branches to drive change across the businesses to become greener and more sustainable.

Working with Greener Energy Futures, AWS’ green champions have built a 7-point action plan to address key areas of the business where it can reduce its carbon footprint.

CEO of AWS, Esme Bianchi-Barry said: “Sustainable is one of our six company values, so it is important that we live and breathe by our values and they are at the heart of everything we do.

“As an education recruitment agency, we feel it is necessary we do everything we can to support communities across the globe that are affected by climate change. We want to help them build communities where they can learn and thrive.”

Where its carbon cannot be neutralised, AWS has teamed up with TEMWA Carbon Balance to plant trees in Malawi to offset any carbon used.

In January 2023, TEMWA Carbon Balance planted 4,120 trees in Malawi from the funds provided by AWS. Due to climate change, Malawi and in particular Nkhata Bay has experienced more frequent extreme weather including heavy rainfall, droughts and floods. Since 2000, the Nkhata Bay district has lost 22% of its forest, so AWS wants to help support these communities by helping with reforestation.

Although this is a positive step forward to offset its carbon, CEO, Esme Bianchi-Barry believes there’s still more AWS can do to become a greener organisation.

She explained: “It is great to see the positive impact we have made by funding the planting of trees in Malawi however, there is still a lot of work to do. We are reviewing our travel and procurement policies, looking to partner with greener brands and implementing a green energy pledge. These small steps will hopefully make a massive difference in reducing our carbon footprint.”

Find out more about Affinity Zero by clicking the link below


Affinity CEO looks ahead to the new academic year

Starting the new academic year always brings a feeling of excitement, apprehension and countless opportunities. As we look ahead to the new academic year, it is the perfect time to set new objectives. Reflecting on the past year, I am immensely proud of what Affinity Workforce have achieved within the education sector, providing an outstanding service to our candidates and schools.

The challenges we have faced since the Covid pandemic are now a thing of the past and we are certain that we can adapt to any changes and continue to be a success in the market.

Our journey in numbers 

Within the last academic year, we have placed over 8000 candidates into work and worked with over 3000 schools, saving them almost £425,000 in supply staffing. This is testament to the transparent and efficient service that we provide. Once again, we are proud to be one of eight companies with a place on the CCS Framework for the next 4 year term, providing our Managed Service Provision to 10 Multi-Academy Trusts across the UK.

This allows us to continue to provide a cost effective, streamlined and professional service to our clients. I cannot thank our staff enough for all of their effort and support in achieving this, as we look to add more amazing partnerships to our Managed Service.

Providing vital tutoring services

Since the successful launch of our tutoring services last year, we have provided over 10,000 hours of tuition to our schools as part of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). As an approved partner for the second year running, we intend to be the leading recruitment agency supplying high quality tutors to schools and supporting pupils who need it most.

The best in the business

Over the last year, we have recruited some exceptional consultants, with experience in both recruitment and teaching. Hiring the top talent within the sector demonstrates our mission to seek the best candidates for our clients.

Affinity Workforce would not be the success we are today without our staff and we celebrated in style this summer with our annual education conference in Paris! It is so important for us to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of our colleagues and I can’t wait to see where in the world we end up this year!

I have no doubt that this will be another record breaking year, with so many exciting opportunities within the business.

I am hopeful that with the determination and resilience of our Affinity family, there will be some huge things to celebrate!

Wishing you all a successful and positive year!


Esme Bianchi-Barry CEO,

Affinity Workforce Solutions


Changes to NTP Funding

The Government has recently announced changes to the NTP as of September 2022, which simplifies the funding model.

Schools currently have three funding pillars to use their tutoring subsidy either through an approved Tuition Partner, academic mentors or the ringfenced school-led tutoring grant.

No funding pillars

As of September 2022, there will be no funding pillars. The NTP will provide tuition grants directly to schools, so they will no longer need to go through a central supplier to draw funds. Schools will have the freedom of picking their own private tutors and will be able to select external staff from a list of approved NTP tuition partners.

During the 2021/22 school year, the DfE covered 75% of the tutoring costs for each school. Under the new ruling, this will now change to 60%, meaning schools are required to pay the remaining 40% using other funding sources.

Making a Difference

This year, Sugarman Education has supplied experienced, qualified tutors who have delivered in the region of 1000 hours of extra tuition to students outside of the classroom. We will continue to provide high-quality tutors both in the classroom and virtually throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, as well as offering summer tuition to those who need extra support during the school holidays.

Alex Champion, Operations Director at Affinity Workforce, said: “We are delighted to be a supplier on the NTP for the next academic year to support pupils to continue to grow, develop and learn.

“Schools are still seeing the effects of the pandemic on the younger generation and we are committed to ensuring that students have access to specialist tutors so they can achieve their potential.

“We welcome these changes to the NTP, making it easier for schools to access experienced tutors and educators to support students and everyone at Affinity Workforce and our brands are proud to be able to make this happen.”

Next steps

So, if you are interested in utilising the funding with an approved NTP Tuition partner, or would like further information about the NTP for 2022-2023 academic year, please email: or call 0345 450 7540


Affinity Workforce Education Conference Paris 22

Every July we hold our prestigious Affinity Workforce Education Conference. This is our most anticipated event of the year, which celebrates the successes of the last 12 months, highlights our top performers within the business and gives the teams a chance to let their hair down after a busy school year.

After the challenges we faced during the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted this year to be bigger and better than ever! Which is why we took Affinity Workforce on tour to Paris! Over 100 employees across our Affinity brands (CER, Monarch and Sugarman) headed to the French capital to enjoy, music, awards and lots of wine!

So let’s take a look at some of our awards…

Star Performer: Every year, our star performers are awarded based on recommendations by their branch managers, highlighting their exceptional work during the past 12 months and what they have done to stand out as key team members.

Consultant of the Year: The winners of Affinity’s ‘Consultant of the Year’ award have shown an outstanding work ethic during the last year, have hit financial and KPI targets and generated large revenue across the brands. As well as showing great enthusiasm and dedication in their role, they have built strong relationships with their candidates and provided an efficient service.

Top Biller:  Our top billers are awarded in each sector for billing the highest gross profit for the business.

Both our top billers and consultants of the year will be whisked away on an all-expenses paid trip this year to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the business.

Our other winners on the night included:

  • Back Office Supporter of the Year
  • Business Supporter of the Year
  • Billing Manager of the Year
  • Non-Billing Manager of the Year
  • Team of the Year Monarch
  • Team of the Year CER

Not only did we celebrate the achievements of the last 12 months, but we also celebrated the 20 year anniversary of Monarch Millionaire, Sam Stockley. Sam has been a huge part of Monarch and has consistently delivered outstanding results for the branch. Congratulations to Sam!

The AWS Values Award was introduced last year to acknowledge those who represent the core values of the business, which are not just numbers driven. This year the award went to Milly and Laura from our Monarch Birmingham branch, for assisting another staff member as he was attacked outside the office. Their brave efforts did not go unnoticed and they received a standing ovation from the entire conference. Well done girls!

Congratulations to all of our worthy winners. We hope you enjoyed the bright lights of Paris and we are looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months will bring! Here’s to Affinity 2023!