Category: Sugarman Education News

From Supply Teacher to Recruitment Consultant – Lieneke’s Story

Phones ringing, animated chatter and cheers when making a placement, Sugarman Education’s HQ is vibrant and energetic – just like its surroundings. Nestled in the corner of the famous Soho Square, the area is trendy and has a unique vibe and this continues as you walk into the contemporary office space.

Although now working in a new office, Sugarman Education has operated out of London since it was established in 2006 and prides itself on the long-lasting relationships it has with its clients and candidates. The majority of the team have five or more years’ service including Team Leader, Lieneke.

The cocktail of success

A former music teacher, who “fell” into recruitment, Lieneke has made a successful career in the industry thanks to her determination, ambition and eagerness to succeed.

Lieneke was enticed by the bright lights of London and she travelled from South Africa to England’s capital city after graduating with a Bachelors in Education. She planned to travel around Europe but after falling in love with the city, she soon settled in the area.

From Teacher to Recruitment Consultant

Her first role in London was working as a supply teacher at a special educational needs school teaching pupils with autism and coincidentally this school is now one of Lieneke’s long-standing clients.

“Although I loved music and teaching, I have always had a passion for business and so I decided to explore opportunities within recruitment. I had dealt with agencies when I was a supply teacher so I thought I would give it a go.

“At the beginning it was hard. I had to build a name for myself. I learnt on the job and pushed myself to succeed. Working at Sugarman has enabled me to do this and I love what I do. I can’t see myself doing anything else, to be honest.”

Sharing experiences

Despite Lieneke having no experience within recruitment, her teaching background helped her when building relationships and has assisted her candidates to shape their future.

She explained: “When I tell my clients that I have been a teacher and worked in SEN schools they know I understand what type of qualities they are looking for when recruiting supply teachers and teaching assistants. I understand the challenges they face, the pressures they are under and what makes a reliable member of staff.”

Shaping a future

Since joining Sugarman Education Lieneke has shaped her future and has developed her career in recruitment. She joined Sugarman Education as a Recruitment Consultant, before being promoted to Senior Consultant and has now taken on the role of Team Leader. This sees her take on the extra responsibilities of training and developing a new consultant, Jordan so he too can shape his future.

“I suppose with line managing someone the teacher side of me is coming out again. I want to give Jordan as much support and understanding of the role so he too can forge a career within the recruitment sector.”

This opportunity has arisen since Sugarman Education became part of Affinity Workforce and Lieneke believes that there are more opportunities to progress now that Sugarman is part of the Affinity family.

“I am proud to work at Sugarman Education. I know it sounds cliché but there is a family feel around the team. Since being part of Affinity Workforce there seem to be even more opportunities to develop your skills and career if you want to.”

If you’re looking for supply work within schools across London and Essex or you want to start a career in recruitment then get in touch.


Retired teachers register with Sugarman

Due to the latest rise in Coronavirus cases, teachers are in high demand across the country as more teaching staff are absent from schools.

It is important now more than ever that this does not affect our children and young people’s education. Therefore, we are calling out for any retired or out-of-work teachers to register with Sugarman Education and help the next generation during this time.

We have opportunities for you to work part and full time in schools, ac­­­ross the UK. From taking a class of 30, to providing extra support to individuals on a one-to-one basis or in small groups, we have assignments to fit around you.

For those individuals who haven’t taught in the classroom within five years, we deliver a Returning Teacher Programme, which includes specifically selected CPD and supported school-based experience. This is to ensure the individuals are brought back up to speed with the current education landscape and curriculum.

When you register with Sugarman Education you have access to some amazing benefits including guaranteed pay schemes, free CPD sessions and up to £200 referral bonus*.

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some of our candidates say…

“I have been working for Sugarman Education for 3 years. My consultant is always extremely friendly and co-operative during my time as a Teaching Assistant.” Lucas- Teaching Assistant

“My consultant, Sarah, is absolutely amazing at Sugarman Education. She’s enthusiastic, attentive and reliable. I’m never without work and she’s incredibly accommodating when it comes to working around my schedule. Couldn’t recommend Sugarman Education enough!” Kate – Candidate

If you want to find out more about returning to the classroom with Sugarman Education, then get in touch with your local branch or email

*Terms & Conditions apply


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.


The career journey of a Recruitment Consultant

Every job requires certain skills and qualities and working in recruitment is no different. As a Recruitment Consultant, you have to be confident, chatty and able to build strong relationships.

When Bianca joined Sugarman Education 8 years ago, as a Compliance Officer, she was new to the world of recruitment and in her own words “was quite a shy person.” Working at Sugarman Education has allowed Bianca to build her confidence and the skills which have helped her shape a very successful future in recruitment.

The qualities of a Recruitment Consultant

During her time at the education recruitment company, Bianca has progressed from Compliance Officer to Recruitment Consultant and is now one of the senior members of staff holding the role of Senior Recruitment Consultant. She believes recruitment is very much a career, not just a job.

“All the Recruitment Consultants were outgoing and confident, and I was really shy. Working in the Compliance Team meant I had already built a good rapport with schools and candidates, so when the Recruitment Consultant vacancy became available, I thought I would apply.

“Recruitment is very much a career if you want to progress. I suppose when I joined, I saw it as a job but I really loved what I did and wanted to develop and progress further in the company and the sector.”

A day in the life of a Teaching Assistant

As part of the Senior Recruitment Consultant role, Bianca recruits Teaching Assistants and Teachers for Special Educational Needs schools in East London including Redbridge, Hackney, Barking & Dagenham.

She loves nothing more than meeting new candidates and visiting schools to see first-hand the difference her candidate’s make in shaping the future of the next generation.

“I love meeting new candidates and I also love going into schools and volunteering for the day. Before Covid-19, I would volunteer some of my time whether it be helping at Easter and Christmas Fairs or on school trips.

“I have also spent a day shadowing a Teaching Assistant in the classroom, which was eye-opening. It gave me a real insight into the role and what kind of person you need to be to work in the environment and take on those responsibilities.”

A personalised approach

Sugarman Education is not your typical recruitment agency. How the Consultants recruit is unique. Instead of placing any candidate in any role, the team at Sugarman Education takes the time to get to know their candidates and understand what placement will suit their skillset.

Bianca commented: “I always make sure my candidates are happy in the positions they are in. I take the time to get to know them and find out what they want from each placement so every placement they work is meaningful to them.”

This is something that when speaking to Sugarman Education candidate and Teaching Assistant, Carolina praised her consultant for.

Speaking to Carolina, she said: “Bianca is lovely – I love her! I have tried different agencies and it’s just not worth leaving her! She is so kind, very responsive and understanding. I have never had any issues.”

Career Progression

During the eight years Bianca has worked at Sugarman Education, she has developed strong relationships with her candidates, like Carolina, and this has helped her to progress her career in the recruitment industry.

Bianca commented: “As I have been at Sugarman Education for several years the management do ask my opinion and I’m sometimes part of the decision-making process. As part of my continued development, the company is helping me to develop into a Team Leader role where I will line manage a Trainee Recruitment Consultant and they will help me with my candidates.

“I’m looking forward to this new challenge and it’s another opportunity to further develop my skills.”

Shaping a Future

This commitment from Sugarman Education is one of the reasons why many of the consultants are long-serving members of the team.

Bianca added: “We are all friends and there is a family vibe. I am proud to be part of the team at Sugarman Education. We support one another and share each other’s successes.

“I think I have shaped my future at Sugarman Education. I was a shy 24-year-old when I joined and during the past 8 years, I have developed my career, grown in confidence and celebrated personal milestones including buying my first house and getting engaged.”

If you want to Shape Your Future and start your career in Recruitment, then find out more here.


World Children’s Day

What is World Children’s Day?

World Children’s Day was established in 1954 to be seen as a day to promote and celebrate children’s rights. Today Monarch Education would like to highlight how well-being is being promoted and nurtured among children and young people within schools, and how teachers and support staff make a difference to children’s lives on a daily basis.

What does well-being mean?

A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterised by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare, comfort, contentment, happiness, health, prosperity, protection, safety, security, success, eudemonia.

When I asked the assistant head of one of our secondary schools how she would sum up well-being in one sentence, she said, “it is the centre of everything. It allows students to emotionally develop, to socialise and to grow as positive and happy individuals”. How true that statement is and how fortunate I was to interview her. I wanted to find out more about how the school promotes well-being and how the staff, including ours, make a difference to the students’ lives.

For over 6 years the school have had a specialist provision in place called ‘Opportunity’; a centre where students have the opportunity to move on from things that may be holding them back. The centre focuses on mental health, well-being and happiness. It is run by a pastoral lead, a youth worker, counselling support staff and additional specialist staff who offer unique opportunities to students.  Students can be referred to the centre by their teachers, parents or can just drop in if they feel the need to talk to someone.

To run in line with the centre all staff have access to a safeguarding database, where they can input any concerns they may have about a student’s behaviour, mental health, physical wellness or change in personality or character. The interventions used internally offer a wide range of opportunities for students to seek counsel in non-conventional ways; it may be that a specialist member of staff can offer a creative workshop, which allows freedom of speech and expression – a safe haven for students to feel free to talk openly about something that is bothering them.

This is where Monarch Education has had the privilege of providing specialist staff to the school; staff who can contribute to the extra-curricular activities and offer a welcoming ear to students. The specialists we have placed come with very interesting work histories; one was a circus performing aerialist and another was a semi-professional ballroom dancer – not the average Teaching Assistant by any means! Upon speaking to the Monarch Education staff placed in the Opportunity centre they informed me just how much the school focuses on well-being and how much they enjoyed working in such a place. They commented on how well the students were supported and that they felt part of a family.

School resources

The school ensures that all members of staff have mental health and well-being at the heart of their teaching. They are regularly updated with new strategies to use and are informed of new topics to be aware of and focus on, they are always reminded that the Opportunity centre is there to be accessed by anyone who needs it.

As well as the specialist provision the school ensures that children are taught to be open about mental health and not treat it as a taboo. In years 7, 8 and 9 Health & Well-being is taught through PE and classroom-based lessons; in the upper parts of the school students access the Life Curriculum where they learn life skills and can discuss future careers; the school have an excellent area for outdoor learning which all students are encouraged to be part of and this space includes a quiet area for thought and reflection.

Due to the exceptional ethos of this school, the training provided and the dedicated staff they employ this is an environment where all students feel they are cared for, listened to and understood. They feel safe, secure, and content and they can prosper through their teenage years knowing they have such support in place. Monarch Education is proud to work within an industry that promotes well-being to such a degree and is committed to providing excellent staff to schools such as this one. Please join us today on World Children’s Day to acknowledge all children and their right to a happy and healthy childhood.