Category: Sugarman Education News

Learning at work week

Learning at work week is a unique annual event to recognise the importance of continual learning and development in the workplace. Here at Affinity, we are passionate about providing opportunities for staff to increase their knowledge and understanding of the business, as well as encouraging them to focus on personal growth and what strategies they can put in place to achieve their goals.

As part of our ongoing service to our staff, Affinity offer numerous training and coaching sessions, including online and team building exercises. 


This year, staff at Affinity Workforce were given the opportunity to take part in business coaching with well-known psychologist, Kas Ramus. Kas runs a business called ‘InsideMind’, working with people to help them shift their mindset both personally and professionally, using simple tools and techniques to help them perform better and have a positive impact on people around them.

Divisional Operations Manager, Sophy Green and Corinna Holden, Operations Director, have taken on a course with Kas and have found the sessions very useful, allowing them to step out of their comfort zone. 

Sophy said: “The process has been hugely beneficial for me, and has provided clarity in my career and personal life. I had previously been listening to podcasts and reading into personal growth online to help me achieve my goals. When I started speaking to Kas, I was struggling to join the dots and really invest or believe in the information I was being given.”


Sophy has taken part in various exercises during her sessions, to help her maximise her potential and create actions that align with her personal goals, allowing her to reassess and realise what is important to her. 

She added: “Your values are the foundation to your goals, so this was a really important task. Coaching has helped me be more courageous in my decision making, stepping outside of my comfort zone. In turn, I have achieved my goals and feel confident in progressing forward with what I am working towards.”


Kas has provided Sophy and Corinna with valuable content to help them respond more mindfully to thoughts and emotions at work, providing a different outlook on how to approach difficult situations and listen effectively.

Corinna added: “The first few sessions were difficult, I don’t think anyone naturally really enjoys putting themselves out there and discussing perceived faults and vulnerabilities, especially in a professional setting, but this became much more natural and I started to really feel the benefit of some of the specific things we discussed and the ideas and outcomes we planned.”

The personal nature of the courses enabled Sophy and Corinna to really dig deep into their life and gain a new perspective about how they approach challenges at work.

“In terms of how the sessions have impacted me professionally I think that I have developed my listening skills, I have more faith in my decision making and also feel that I have a clearer vision and understanding of what I want for the business and how we will achieve it as a group. 

Significantly, I think that it has helped me to understand people I work with more and for those people to understand me.”

If you would like more information for learning at work week click here


Xinha – From classroom to consultant

When Xinha joined Sugarman this year as a Recruitment Consultant, she knew her previous experience in education would help her to succeed in the role and build lasting relationships with her candidates.

For many years, Xinha was registered with Sugarman Education as a TA, working in a long term role at a SEN school. This has given her a real insight into what qualities are required for the right candidate and how to meet the needs of each school.

She said “I loved the TA role and did it for many years. I am actually still in touch with one of the children’s parents and I help out with tutoring from time to time.”

A different perspective

Xinha’s former consultant Bianca, is now her mentor within the Sugarman team and has supported her within the role to ensure she is comfortable and offering support as she sees supply work from a different perspective.

“I’ve always had a great working relationship with Bianca and I want to make sure that I emulate that with my own candidates so that they feel comfortable the way that I did. I now know how hard it is when a candidate can’t make it to work that day!”

Past experience

By building trust with her teaching staff, Xinha has been able to recognise what people are best suited to the role and takes an honest approach when explaining their suitability.

“It is important candidates are using the right language towards children in SEN schools and are open to the experience. I have been in their shoes and you must gauge the needs of each child. I stand by that and won’t place just anyone in a school.”

Since joining the team, Xinha has been able to develop personally in the role and has succeeded in managing a busy desk, with no two days the same.

“I make sure I am calm in this role. It can be very hectic when you have their whole life in your hands and you need to make sure the staff are prepared for work. It is a good adrenalin rush.”

I have received lots of guidance here and we really help each other. It is a very open space and I am able to learn from my own mistakes and find out what works well for me.”

If you would like to speak to Xinha about the opportunities she has available, please call 0203 9577 251.


Schools Visits with Sarah

After 3 years due to pregnancy and then covid, I was able to go out and visit my schools and clients. I had the best day. It made me realise how lucky I am to be doing this job and supplying schools with SEN professionals.

I work with an SEN school in Lewisham where I supply 20 Teaching Assistants (TAs). Seeing all my TAs in action was amazing. The feedback I got from not just the client but the TAs also was amazing and it touched me.

I was able to support the team by helping the children off the buses. Seeing their little faces looking forward to a new day at school and achieving something new that day was something I’ll never forget.

One little boy gave me the biggest hug when I entered the class and led me straight to his learning folder. He picked up the felt numbers and showed me he could count to 10. This little boy had ASD and Downs Syndrome and nothing was stopping him from showing me how bright he was… this for me was another I’ll never forget.

I also went to another SEN school of mine afterwards in Swanley, which I’ve volunteered at several times. Due to covid, I wasn’t allowed to look around but I saw my client face to face for a good catch up.

As I was walking out, I noticed a basket full of bunches of daffodils that the students had collected and picked from the school’s grounds and they were selling them to raise money for their school prom in July. I instantly brought a couple of bunches and walked out with the biggest smile on my face, knowing these wonderful students had picked them and would be so proud of themselves that they had made a sale.

If you need support in recruiting SEN staff for your call then contact our team today on 0207 614 4270 or email:


Making a difference through the NTP

At the start of the academic year, Affinity Workforce Solutions and its market-leading brands, CER, Monarch Education and Sugarman Education were appointed as an approved provider on the National Tutoring Programme (NTP).

Set up by the Department for Education, as part of the Government’s £1 billion funding package, the NTP was established to help students whose education has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and offers extra support to close the attainment gap.

Schools and academies can work in partnership with a tuition partner to provide one-to-one and group tuition for pupils in specific subject areas.

Six months as an NTP tuition partner, Affinity Workforce Solutions and its brands have supplied experienced, qualified tutors who have delivered in the region of 1000 hours of extra tuition to students outside of the classroom.

Building Confidence, Engagement and Motivation

One of the tutors delivering these sessions, under the NTP, is Faye Brown. Faye is a qualified teacher and registered with Affinity Workforce in 2008. Since September 2021 Faye has been supporting pupils with extra tuition and has seen first-hand the impact the programme is having on the younger generation.

She commented: “The NTP is having a positive impact on the pupils I teach. Whether teaching individual pupils or small groups, pupils all benefit from the additional input they receive. I have found that pupils are very responsive to the personalised learning approach and some have even asked if they could have longer lessons.”

The tuition Faye provides not only supports pupils academically but also helps to build confidence, engagement and motivation and this is something Faye is also witnessing when delivering tuition.

She explained: “Sometimes pupils just need some praise and a little encouragement to realise that they can achieve more than their current level of attainment. For example, one pupil was unable to write his name correctly but after a few lessons, he could write it effortlessly.”

Making a Difference

These stories are not uncommon – every day our tutors are making a difference to those pupils whose education has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Group Operations Director at Affinity Workforce Solutions, Alex Champion is proud to be able to supply high quality, experienced tutors who are making a difference.

He 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.

“Every day our tutors are inspiring, encouraging and supporting hundreds of pupils so they can achieve and everyone at Affinity Workforce is proud to be able to make this happen.”

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

If you would like more information on how your school can work in partnership with Affinity Workforce email:



How to relax during the half term break

Half term is upon us and it is time for teachers to reset for the next term. Teaching is a demanding role and can take up a lot of your energy. It is important that you take the time to switch off and prepare for the rest of the school year.

Stick to your plan – You may not be able to completely forget about school and there may be some work you need to catch up on before you return. Be sure to dedicate a certain amount of time for work only and stick to it, do not let your workload take over your break.

Rest – Make sure you get enough sleep to feel refreshed and recharged. Try not to sleep in too late though – you will find those early mornings much harder when you are back at work!

Plan a trip – Having something to look forward to during the school break will keep you going through those tougher days! Why not book a city break or even plan a day out with friends doing something you enjoy?

Enjoy a hobby – You may not always have the time for your favourite things when you are working. Whether it’s walking, reading or going to the theatre, take the time to do something that you enjoy. Getting outdoors and taking your mind off school will help you to destress and relax.

Disable communication – Unless you have some urgent work to attend to, turn off your emails and work phones so that you can truly shut off during your well-earned break. Having regular access to your colleagues will make it harder to wind down.

We hope you enjoy a well-earned break and are ready to take on the new school term! If you are looking for work this school year, have a look at our latest vacancies online.


Affinity Workforce Solutions to present at the Schools & Academies Show 2022

Affinity Workforce Solutions is delighted to be presenting at this year’s Schools & Academies Show 2022 on 27th April.

Alex Champion, Group Operations Director at Affinity Workforce, David Parsons and Corinna Holden, from our marketing-leading recruitment brands CER & Monarch Education, will be presenting in the Trust & Trustees Theatre between 11.50am-12.20pm.

Members of our Senior Leadership team will discuss how Trusts can attract and engage the best talent through a managed service. The session will also include:
•    How Trusts can improve the quality and consistency of supply workers whilst making significant cost savings
•    The processes and technology Trusts can implement to reduce the administrative burden
•    The improvement to a Trust’s financial and strategic planning due to easy access of management information data

Alex Champion commented: “Affinity Workforce is a supplier on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) ‘Deal for Schools’ Frameworks. We support its ambition to transform the landscape of education supply wholeheartedly with a transparent and ethical approach.

“We are delighted to be able to present at this year’s Schools & Academies Show 2022 to give Trusts an insight into a managed service and the ground-breaking, transparent way of operating with supply staff being paid more and academies charged substantially less.”

Take a look at Affinity Workforce’s managed service offering or email us for further information.


Teacher Training Diary – Part 3

Christmas feels like a lifetime away now but, as promised, in this month’s blog I reflect on the run-up to Christmas in my home school and the transition to my new school in the New Year.

Christmas in school was the time of year I was most looking forward to. After having two years of COVID, schools were really hoping to have a bit more normality this Christmas. Christmas time in schools comes with a lot of joy; making Christmas cards, putting up decorations and Christmas parties. However, this means that there is a lot of disruption to the usual timetable and so as a trainee teacher, you need to be adaptable and sometimes just be ready to ‘go with the flow’.

“Goodbye for now”

Christmas was also a sad time for me, as I said “goodbye for now” to my home school. On a School Direct placement, you spend a term in an ‘alternative’ or ‘away’ placement. This is a placement in a different school in the alternative key stage. As you know, I have been in Year 1 in my home school.

As such, in my away placement, I knew I would be placed in KS2. I was really looking forward to seeing a different side of teaching. One question I always get asked is, “Do you want to teach in KS1 or KS2?”. I always find this difficult to answer, because until you’ve had experience in both key stages, it’s simply impossible to know! Perhaps this is a question I’ll finally be able to answer in the next instalment of my blog.

I found out that I was going to be in Year 3, and I was really excited! In order to prepare, I brushed up on the Year 3 programmes of study within the National Curriculum over the Christmas break. I also contacted my new school to introduce myself to my new mentor and find out more about the expectations for my upcoming placement.

Academic Work

The majority of my Christmas break was then spent writing my essay for university. In order to obtain a PGCE, our university requires us to complete two essays. One is worth 20% (which was due in November) and the other 80% (due in January). Of course, every university may be different, but you will have to complete some element of academic work in order to obtain the PGCE qualification.

We could choose one core subject pedagogy and one foundation subject pedagogy to critically analyse. As such, there was quite a lot of freedom to discuss pedagogies you found interesting. This directly fed into my own practise too, as I was analysing what I had seen in the classroom and the theory behind the practice. This allowed me to reflect upon my own teaching and how I could improve.

A New School

With Christmas over, essay submitted, bag packed and laptop charged, I got ready for the first morning on my new placement in a new school. We started with an Inset Day which involved some phonics training and assisting the subject-leaders with some preparation for the upcoming term. I have been extremely lucky to be placed in yet another school with supportive, friendly and welcoming staff. I settled in really quickly and I am loving my time there so far!

In next month’s blog, I will be talking about my teaching time in my alternative placement and how I have been finding teaching in KS2. 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.



Online Safety for Children

Our children are spending more time than ever online. That’s why it is essential we provide a safe and secure space for children to play and learn. We have put together some factors to consider when ensuring children are protected online.

Check your settings

There are plenty of security settings and parental controls that you can install onto your computer such as location tracking and screen time restrictions. Have a chat with your child to advise why you use these and what they can expect while they are online.


Have a conversation about who they will be interacting with online. If they are being homeschooled, be sure that they are logged into the site with their teacher when you are present. Remind them not to share any personal details online and to come to you if they come across something inappropriate.


Be sure to check out any apps or downloads that the children are using for work or interactive learning. It may be worth checking with the teacher that these are vetted.


Be sure to set up the camera for your child during online learning so that they can interact with the teacher and/or group sessions. Allow them to have the option if they want to turn off the use of the camera and ensure it is switched off correctly once the lesson is completed.

Personal Information

Remind your child not to share any personal information online, such as locations or photographs. Advise them to come to you if they are asked to share any details that they are uncomfortable with.


Adapting your classroom for SEMH pupils

As a teacher, being responsible for a class of 30 children is a challenging and demanding role. This can become much more of a challenge if you are working with children with SEMH (Social, Emotional & Mental Health) issues and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). In order to keep the class running smoothly and have every child’s interest at heart, it is important to create a structure in order to keep pupils engaged.

We’ve put together some ideas to keep your classroom a safe and secure learning environment.

Create a safe space

Be aware of what makes the child feel comfortable. Identify any triggers early on and allocate a space for them to regroup if they become overwhelmed during the school day. Discussing their behaviours with the parent/guardian beforehand will help you to manage your approach and acknowledge the child’s specific needs.

Adapt the lesson 

Be sure to create a lesson that is easy to understand for pupils of all abilities. Ensure each child understands the task and be prepared to change the difficulties of the lesson if it is not suitable for all.

Allow Movement 

Many children with SEMH issues tend to have shorter attention spans and are not able to sit still for an entire lesson. This is a common barrier for teachers to overcome as it is hard for them to remain focused for long periods of time. Simply allow the child to move from their seat when needed whilst still conducting the lesson, so as not to distract the rest of the class.

Are you experienced with SEN/SEMH teaching and would like to take on a new challenge? Take a look at our latest vacancies on our website.


February CPD Courses Announced

In September 2021, Sugarman Education launched a brand new ‘CPD Supply Toolkit’, with a range of various CPD courses to help with our candidates’ learning and development within the education industry.

The free, online sessions are available exclusively to our candidates and we’re pleased to announce another two courses are taking place in February. These include:

Why is Social, Emotional Learning (SEL) becoming a cornerstone of an effective curriculum?

Tuesday 15th February 6pm – 7pm

The session will aim to allow participants to:

  • Understand what SEL is and the ways many schools are embedding it within their curriculums
  • Explore different resources used to promote SEL from stories, to objects, to the use of technology and web-based materials
  • Examine current theory and research around SEL and the impact on children

Promoting curiosity in the classroom as a hook for learning

Thursday 24th February 6pm – 7pm

This session will aim to allow participants to:

  • Examine how promoting curiosity in the classroom from pupils acts as a hook to learning
  • Look at practical ways to engage pupils and put together a sequence of lessons or activities using an object
  • Unpick current research around engagement

You can register to take part in the live session or you can receive a recording. Please email or contact our team for more information.