Category: Sugarman Education News

Education Conference 2021

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.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year was different to most. For the very first time we held the conference virtually, streaming across all 3 brands, in 6 locations, with almost 150 employees enjoying croupiers, casino tables and lots of fizz!

Let’s take a look at some of the winners…

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. This year’s winners are:

  • Ricky Cano – Monarch – Bristol
  • Paul Prescott – CER – Liverpool
  • Lynn Hardwick – CER – Newcastle
  • Keeley Jones – Monarch – Birmingham
  • Natalie Moody – CER – Newcastle
  • Chris Pender – CER – Sheffield

 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. The winners are:

  • Adam Turnbull – CER – Newcastle
  • Anita Mason – Monarch – Birmingham
  • Kevin O’Connor – Sugarman – London

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

  • Top Biller Primary (CER) – Elaine Berry – Liverpool
  • Top Biller Primary (Monarch) – Louise Roadknight – Birmingham
  • Top Biller Secondary (CER) – Jamil Albarq – Newcastle
  • Top Biller Secondary (Monarch) – Chris Moon – Bristol
  • Top Biller (Sugarman) – James Cooney – London

There have been many changes to the conference due to the recent pandemic, one of which is the prize awarded to the top billers and consultants of the year. Those who are lucky enough to win the sought after titles would usually be treated to an all-expenses trip to LAS VEGAS. Sadly, due to the current travel restrictions, a STAYcation is in order.

Therefore, the winners will be treated to an overnight trip to London. This includes an Oxford Street shopping trip, Selfridges vouchers, a 5-course meal at the award-winning Murano Restaurant and an overnight stay in a top hotel.

Our other winners of the night include:

  • Best Newcomer – Matty Hope – CER – Newcastle
  • Business Supporter of the Year – Laura Kilminster – Monarch – Birmingham
  • Team of the Year – CER Newcastle
  • Team of the Year – Monarch Birmingham
  • Manager of the Year – David Parsons – CER Newcastle


Not only did we celebrate the achievements of the last 12 months, but we also acknowledged our longest-serving CER member, Elaine Berry.

Elaine started out as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant 25 years ago! She is now the Senior Divisional Operations Manager for CER Liverpool and has been a huge support to her team and a passionate and dedicated role model for many. Elaine was presented with some wonderful gifts and celebratory messages from her team.

Congratulations Elaine!

A huge well done to all of our winners and to everyone for making our first virtual conference a huge success!

Stay tuned for some conference highlights on our social media pages. Here’s to the Education Conference 2022!


Winding down for summer

With the end of the school year in sight, it is natural for teachers and pupils to begin winding down for the summer holidays. After a challenging and unusual school year, some may find it hard to shut off from their everyday routine and take work home with them, so they do not fall behind. It is so important to maintain a healthy work-life balance and take time out in the summer holidays for yourself.

Before you start your summer holidays, reflect on your experiences during the past academic year. What were your successes? What challenged you and how did you overcome these? What are your targets for the next academic year? Write down your ideas, plans and vision including lesson ideas, classroom displays and priorities.

Make plans
Set time aside to do the things you enjoy; start a new hobby or schedule some time with friends. This will allow you to switch off from work and focus on something other than marking coursework or lesson plans! Spending time with others, who do not work in your industry, will also help to disconnect from work.

Set boundaries
Be sure to switch off any work phones/laptops that may distract you. If you need to catch up with work over the holidays, write a list of all the things you would like to achieve before the start of the new academic year. Once you have made your list, set a suitable date and time when you can really concentrate and spend a day or two preparing for the new term. Don’t leave it until the last minute!

Get outdoors
It is proven that spending time outdoors, be it exercising or socialising, is great for your mental health and will boost your mood. Why not head out for a picnic or go for a long walk? Make the most of the nice weather we may only have a few days of sun!

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 great days out or get creative with some arts and crafts. Your
children need the break as much as you do!

If you are looking for a new challenge, 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.


Keeping motivated as a teacher

With the end of the academic year in sight, it can be hard for teachers to stay motivated. This year in particular has been a very strange school year, with many teachers having to change the traditional methods of teaching in the classroom to online lessons and remote learning. 

At this time of year, pupils are already looking forward to their summer holidays but with the added disruption of remote working and classroom-based teaching, it is a challenging time for most teachers who are feeling exhausted. 


So, we have some tips to keep you motivated and your pupils focused before your well-earned rest.

Be creative

Introducing interactive games or discussions to your lesson plans will help keep your pupils engaged. There are lots of resources from training courses, free online resources and books to help you develop as teachers, so take the time to read through these for interactive game ideas. 

Teach outdoors  

Although there are current social distancing rules in place, why not take the class outdoors. Changing the location of teaching will not only be an exciting change for the pupils, but it will also keep you and your students refreshed for the rest of the day. 

Being outside, surrounded by nature is great for your mental health. You don’t need to take your pupils far, you can teach within the grounds of the school such as on the school playground, on the field or in a school garden.

Try something new 

If you feel like you have fallen into a routine with your lesson plans and feel stuck in a rut, why not engage with your colleagues or other teachers. Sharing best practices and ideas with colleagues will help you find some inspiration on how to mix up your lessons.

There are also lots of groups on social media and blogs where teachers share ideas and lesson plans. You can join these groups to share and read about other experiences. 

Take care of yourself 

Teaching is a demanding job, which makes it so important that you have plenty of rest, planning and keeping healthy.

Do something for yourself every day, whether it is reading a book or catching up with friends on the phone, it is so important to give yourself time to switch off from work and focus on yourself. If you have a hobby, make time for it as much as you can, so that you can return to work refreshed and focused on your role.


If you’re looking for a new challenge, we have lots of opportunities to take that next career step. Our friendly consultants are here to offer guidance and provide the best support for your new role.

Find out more about the opportunities available here or get in touch today via our Contact Page and see how we can help you!


Sugarman Education appoints Mental Health First Aiders

At Sugarman we believe everyone’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. As part of our commitment to our employees’ wellbeing, we have appointed Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) across our organisation to provide support to individuals who are experiencing poor mental health and/ or emotional distress.

Our MHFAs have completed a recognised, accredited training course by MHFA England to equip them to:

  • Have an understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing;
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues;
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress;
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgmental listening; and
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support, whether through self-help resources, the employer, or the NHS.

Our MHFAs are not qualified therapists or psychiatrists but are there to provide non-judgemental listening and guidance to our employees. 

Esme Bianchi-Barry, CEO of Sugarman, who is leading on the initiative, said: “We are committed to ensuring our employees, who may be struggling with their mental health, have the right level of support and guidance in place.

“Our Executive Team recognises the need for wellbeing support, especially during the current pandemic. Our dedicated team of first aiders will promote a workplace culture where staff are free to discuss mental health issues openly and feel supported by their colleagues and Employer when they do so.”


ECT – What are your options?

After all of your hard work and qualifying as a new teacher, you may be wondering what your next step is? How do you apply for your new role? Are you interested in a particular sector?

Supply teaching can offer you a great work-life balance, a variety of experiences in several school settings and can be the first step to a rewarding career. It will give you the chance to explore different classroom settings, so you can decide how you want to progress in your teaching career.

Not only will you be at the beginning of your new career, but you will also be likely to face a more challenging classroom environment since the Coronavirus Pandemic. This is the reality for today’s trainee teachers: school closures, remote teaching and, for some, personal circumstances may have overshadowed your training year.

Here at Sugarman, we can provide short or long term work to suit you. There are many benefits to both, which will help you gain exposure to a range of different learning styles and receive great training opportunities first-hand. Now that classrooms are full again, we are guaranteed to find you a suitable school to gain the experience you need. 

So what are your options?

Short Term

Short term work allows you to sample several different schools, ranging in a variety of age groups and learning capabilities. You will gain exposure to a wide range of teaching styles, with mentoring on the job and the chance to observe experienced teachers who are happy to offer support. 

By gaining ideas from various learning techniques you can use that knowledge to become an established teacher, which can guarantee regular work and consistent pay.

Long Term 

Monarch can offer long term roles such as maternity cover, which is a great way to cover your ECT induction period. Every ECT must complete an induction period which is equivalent to 3 school terms including regular observations. Completing a long term role is a great way to sample different subject topics that you may not have a chance to teach in a short term role

Tempany McFadden, an ECT from 2019, told us:Going into different schools allows me to see the different ways in which they teach, behaviour management strategies, new schemes of work and I ‘magpie’ these ideas and apply them to my teaching which has been recognised in other schools.’

What makes a successful supply teacher?

  • Go the extra mile – make yourself available at all times and be flexible when it comes to placements. Offer to work whenever you can at short notice, this will give you a better chance at securing something more permanent
  • Come prepared – Have a structured lesson plan and always arrive on time
  • Be confident – Teaching a classroom of students can be challenging, be firm and have your discipline plans in place from the beginning of the lesson
  • Listen – Children may be more anxious/curious about being back at school after lockdown and may find it hard to settle back into learning. Be sure to be patient and acknowledge if there are pupils who may be struggling
  • Talk – Be sure to communicate with colleagues around you and ask as many questions as possible. Always seek advice from more experienced teachers who can provide tips on how to make your first year a success
  • Ask for feedback – This is the best way for you to improve in each lesson and to make sure you have a proper handover at the end of the day

Petrina Gaile has reaped the benefits of our supply work during the last year. She says:There are so many good parts, from meeting new people, gaining a vast amount of experience and getting your name in schools for possible long term work. Another good part is the fact that despite having the main consultant, many other staff members who try their hardest to get you out into schools’.

Monarch is here to take you into your new career, offering guidance and providing the best support for your new role. Get in touch with our friendly recruitment consultants today via our Contact Page and see how we can help you.



Managing stress as a teacher

This month, the Samaritans launch their annual ‘Talk to us’ campaign. This is to highlight the importance of good mental health and encourages people to speak out who are struggling. Teaching can be a demanding job, especially during the recent pandemic. Teachers may have felt isolated and anxious whilst juggling their workload and teaching children both remotely and in the classroom.

In March 2021, 82% of teachers described themselves as stressed. Excessive workload and long hours have been sighted as the main factors of stress. With teachers adapting to various methods of schooling and the uncertainty Covid restrictions in the next academic year, it is important to have a work-life balance and take rest when needed.

So we have put together some tips on how to manage stress as a teacher:

Set priorities – Make sure you plan your lessons in advance and manage your time effectively. Do not take on too much work and say ‘No’ if you feel that you are overwhelmed. Make a list of tasks to take on that week and keep your classroom organised. If you have a long list of things to finish, prioritise. What is the most pressing piece of work
to complete? What can I finish before the end of the school day?

Ask for help – Whether you are an NQT or an experienced teacher, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A colleague may have a certain lesson plan or teaching tips that may be useful to you. Being honest may relieve some of your stress levels.

Get outside – During breaks between lessons, try to spend some time outdoors and get some fresh air. Studies have shown that any form of exercise releases endorphins which will reduce feelings of stress, clears your mind and helps you to feel refreshed.

Go about your routine – Whether it’s a playlist you listen to on the way to work, ten minutes you set aside in the day to sit quietly, a hot beverage whilst at your desk, whatever you choose you will feel like you’ve regained control and it will ease stress. Try to arrive at work early to mentally prepare for the day ahead.

Reduce caffeine intake – This stimulant in coffee can increase feelings of anxiety. Try to limit yourself to one tea/coffee per day, especially whilst teaching!

Keep work at work! – There are times when you may have to take your work home due to the amount of marking or lesson planning you need to do. If you can, try to maintain that work-life balance. If you can complete your work before you leave the classroom for the day, you can then enjoy your free time.

If you would like to find out more information about the Samaritans campaign and how you can get
involved, visit their website here.

If you’re looking for a new opportunity in education, contact your local branch to discuss your next
career move. You can find out more details on our Contact Page.


Tips and advice on teaching during the Covid-19 lockdown

We are living in strange and fast moving times. You have either suddenly found yourself teaching online for the first time, or homeschooling or tutoring when this isn’t the norm for you.

If you’re in that situation then don’t worry – there’s plenty of help out there to get you up and running. Below we’ll give you some tips on how to make this transition and share with you some resources you can use to make things easier.

Create a working space

When you’re working in your home environment – whether that’s delivering digital classes or home schooling – it’s important that you have a differentiated space for you to do that work in.

This helps you to create a clear divide between your work life and your personal life. It will also help those you’re teaching to recognise that this is a clear space for learning and help them get in the right frame of mind.

You may not have enough space or enough equipment to create a working and learning space completely independent from your personal spaces. If this is the case then don’t worry – try to make some changes so that when you start and finish work you are transforming the space into ‘work mode’ and then back into ‘home mode’.

As an example, part of that change might be having text books on hand during work and learning time, and then placing them out of site during personal time.

Structure and schedule

Schools should be providing a timetable to students to follow for the foreseeable future. However, if you haven’t received this then we would strongly recommend you create your own – having a regular timetable will help this new way of learning feel like a routine.

If your student was already homeschooled or working with a tutor, then mirroring their existing timetable and routine as much as possible is recommended.

The key points here are to ensure that there is schedule and structure – again this helps to draw the line between ‘work time’ and ‘personal time’ for both you and your students. Any elements of that structure that can mirror normality will also have a positive impact.

If you are creating your own timetable, don’t forget to include breaks!

What to teach

Again, schools should have provided a list of what students will need to learn during this time.

If the student was already homeschooled or tutored, then continuing with the schedule of learning will help to keep some continuity.

If for some reason you don’t have access to this information, then you can find the national curriculum here.

Learning resources

BBC Bitesize is a great resource that offers free educational content across various age ranges.

We Are Teachers is a good place to go when you need help or inspiration, with a variety of curated resources for you to look through. In particular, this list of authors doing online read-alouds and activities is a great way to get your younger learners engaged with literature.

Teach is another resource from the BBC that is focused on video content – all mapped to the curriculum. It also features some videos for tutors and homeschoolers that you may find insightful.

Bramble is an online tutoring tool. If you sign up under basic tutor, this will allow you access to a remote classroom setting.

Free digital learning resources by age group

Early Years and Primary (KS1, KS2)

2Simple – ‘Purple Mash’

This is an online digital platform which allows teachers to deliver the curriculum online through a range of online resources. Find out more.


An online video resource which offers a series of video classes for early learners. Find out more.

Classroom Secrets

A series of bright and colourful activities for primary age pupils. Find out more.

Cross-Phase (Primary, Secondary or Primary, Secondary and FE)


An AI engine which creates a personalised learning path for each pupil and allows them access to thousands of English, Mathematics and Science resources. Find out more.

Breakout EDU

A US-based series of digital games for learners. Find out more.


A series of national curriculum-aligned online English and Mathematics lessons, available online and compatible with tablets and computers. Find out more. (Free for a 2 week trial)

Secondary and Post-16


US-based app that lets students undertake virtual chemistry experiments. Find out more


Mobile phone all that lets students check their solutions to mathematics problems with explanations to support. Find it on the app store.


Online courses focussed on a range of subjects, offered from beginner to undergraduate level. Find out more


Mini-courses in digital, enterprise and computing skills. Find out more.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalised learning dashboard across a range of subjects based on a range of ‘missions’. Find out more.


A FREE Skills/Careers/PSHE resource pack for young people with a full days worth of content. Email

History Learning Site

This site contains a range of basic resources that provide an introduction to core historical topics. Find out more.

For Teachers


A video conferencing app to allow schools to run classrooms virtually using pupils’ mobiles. Find it on the App store.


An app and online programme covering the UK national curriculum in literacy, numeracy and phonics at KS1 and KS2. Find out more.


Access to 35,000 books, learning videos and quizzes. Find out more.

Other resources

With more time at home and more time accessing digital resources, online safety for younger people is more important than ever – ThinkUKNow have launched #onlinesafetyathome. You can find out more about ThinkUKNow here.

The government has also provided some useful guidance on free school meals for students that are now learning from home – you can read the government guidance here.

Staying active

While keeping your students mentally active and learning is important, it’s also important that they are physically active and getting some exercise.

Joe Wicks is doing daily PE classes on his YouTube channel – you can find the videos here, with new ones being uploaded every day.

For younger students, you can also try Cosmic Kids – this channel offers free yoga videos designed specially for children.

We’re here to help

If you’ve found yourself homeschooling or online teaching for the first time then we’d love to help – contact Sugarman Children’s Services and we’ll see what we can do to help.

You can reach us on 0203 793 2009 or email us at


5 Useful Tips for Teachers New to SEN Education

SEN teacher working in a nursery school

Special educational needs (SEN) teachers play a crucial role in the lives of students who need extra learning support and guidance to help them reach their full potential.

Despite its challenges, most SEN teachers will tell you that working with students who have special needs is a remarkably rewarding career, and they’re right.

If you’re training to become an SEN school teacher, or if you’re in the early stages of considering the role, these tips will help you understand and prepare for what to expect in this unique educational environment.

  1. Prepare for complexity

As with most teaching roles, being a SEN teacher comes with its own complexities. After all, you’ll be teaching students with different types of special educational needs who will automatically require more attention than the average mainstream student.

Many SEN children express themselves in ways that may cause harm to themselves or others, this can be overwhelming, particularly in the early days.

The trick to preparing for complex and potentially stressful situations is to remain calm and stay in control of any situation that may present itself. Remember that your TAs will be on hand to help and there are a number of support forums wherein you can discover effective ways to maintain a sense of safety and security in the classroom for both you and your students.

  1. Start each day with a clean slate

When you’re working with students who span the vast spectrum of learning difficulties and behavioural challenges, it’s pretty much a given that you will experience some trying days in the classroom.

The important thing to remember is that no matter what happens on any given day, always treat the next day as a fresh start. Progress can take time, and it’s your job to deal with classroom incidents in the most productive way possible.

That means that if a student makes a mess or lashes out at yourself or a fellow student, it’s better to deal with the consequences there and then – ask them to clear up or apologise to apologise so they can learn from their mistake, then put the episode behind you.

  1. Watch out for your wording

It’s really important for you to be mindful of the language that you use when you speak to your students and their parents. Try to avoid using words that carry negative connotations, such as “slow” or “behind”.

Instead, consider using positive framing to get your point across in a constructive way that doesn’t upset or devalue. For example, “Billy is still catching up” or “Lucy requires extra thinking time.”

  1. Always have a plan B [resources for class]

Even with the best will in the world, there will almost certainly be times when your students lose focus on the lesson at hand. During these times, it’s super important to have a backup plan.

If your students are over-stimulated or are struggling to calm down, keep a social activity like role-play in your back pocket to help regain control of the class.

  1. Remember that it’s worth it

There is nothing more satisfying than helping a child to learn and develop vital life skills. Don’t let the trials and tribulations fool you into thinking that it’s all stress all the time, in actual fact it’s one of the most rewarding jobs there is.

Here at Sugarman Education, we continuously work hard to deliver positive outcomes for children with special educational needs. What’s more, many of our staff also volunteer to help support children within the schools that we work with.

Learn more about becoming a SEN teacher.


An Impromptu Partnership With A Ugandan Charity

On an ordinary day in June 2019, an extraordinary man contacted the head of Children’s Services here at Sugarman Education. What started as a simple request soon became a shared endeavour to positively impact the lives of impoverished children in Kayunga, Uganda.

The call that started it all

When the call came, it was difficult to initially verify its authenticity! But the man at the other end of the line soon made his purpose known, and his message was one of compassion, selflessness, and goodwill – three traits we truly value Sugarman Education.

It turned out that this man’s name was Paul Oyo, and he was seeking ways in which he could further support children via his community health centre in Kayunga – a town in the central region of Uganda.

Giving back to the community

Founded by Mr Oyo, St Mary’s Adi Community Health Center’s health services for children help to protect the most vulnerable kids in the community. Mr Oyo has dedicated his life to providing these children with ongoing health and education support – and so he turned to Sugarman.

After explaining his mission and talking about the work he does at the health centre, we were extremely impressed and moved by his efforts and we wanted to support his mission.

United support for young people in need

We sent a member of the Sugarman team to assess the situation in Kayunga and review the most effective ways in which we could help.

To support these children in their education, we sent a large number of English, Maths, and Science textbooks to the children of Mr Oyo’s health centre. These textbooks spanned a variety of key stages to allow children of all ages to benefit.

What’s more, Sugarman has worked alongside Mr Oyo in order to build and shape a comprehensive curriculum that he can teach to the children to broaden their horizons and enhance their potential.

A shared vision of a fairer society

As part of Cordant Group – the UK’s largest social enterprise – Sugarman share the overarching mission to support local communities, positively impact the lives of others, and help create a fairer society.


Top Tips for Aspiring Teachers, from Former Teachers


Here at Sugarman Education, 21% of our recruitment professionals are former teachers themselves. That’s why we take great pride in helping others find their dream jobs within the education sector.  

We asked some of our consultants who used to be teachers to share their answers to the questions they’re most asked by aspiring teachers all over the UK.

What personality traits should a teacher have?

While there are many ideal personality traits for a teacher, these three qualities are absolute must-haves if you’re thinking of working in the education sector:


Having a friendly attitude towards your students can give them a better learning experience. However, it’s important not to let your friendly demeanour compromise your authority.

The ability to care

The ability to build caring relationships with your students is vital. A great teacher is able to develop a strong rapport by establishing and maintaining trust.


A great teacher should be passionate about working with children and excited by the opportunity to influence and educate the next generation.


What should I be prepared for if I become a teacher?

It’s important to be aware of the aspects of teaching that aren’t necessarily advertised in the job spec – the factors below may help you make a more informed decision about becoming a teacher:

Working after hours

The 2018 Global Teacher Status Index study found that teachers in the UK work some of the longest hours in the world. In fact, at 50.9 hours per week on average, the UK placed 4th of the 35 countries studied – with only teachers in New Zealand, Chile and Singapore working longer hours than that.

Dealing with parents

It’s virtually impossible for an educator to avoid dealing with difficult parents at times, that’s why it’s important to be diplomatic in all decision-making processes. Keep your cool, show that you care about their child and try to find an amicable solution where possible.


According to the 2018 Global Teacher Status Index, teachers’ average hourly pay has fallen by 15% in the last decade. Be sure to do your homework on pay scales and earning potential before fully committing to a teaching role.

What skills are important for a teacher?

Qualifications and knowledge aside, there are many other skills that lend themselves to being a good teacher:

Excellent communication

If you don’t have the skills to convey your knowledge in an engaging and understandable way, then it doesn’t matter how much you actually know because no one will benefit from it. The key is to explain all assignments and expectations clearly, making sure that every student understands.  


By the same token, being a good listener is crucial. In an ideal learning environment, a teacher should actively and attentively listen to their students and use what they hear to build upon that communication.

Organisation and preparation

Not surprisingly, you’re going to need to be organised. After all, you can hardly expect your students to exhibit organisational skills if you can’t! And believe me, you will have a lot to organise and prepare. From lesson plans, to marking work, to a long list of administrative tasks, you’ll need some sort of system in place to keep from drowning in paperwork.

What do you wish you’d been told before becoming a teacher?

Be prepared to work hard!

Although teaching is arguably one of the most rewarding professions out there, it is by no means an easy ride. To the contrary, you’ll work harder than you ever have before, but the advantages of enriching the lives of young people and building a better future will help you grow both professionally and personally.   

Want to chat with one of our recruitment advisors? Get in touch today!