Tag: blog

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: info@sugarmaneducation.co.uk


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: abetterway@affinityworkforce.com



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.


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.


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 candidatesupport@affinityworkforce.com or contact our team for more information.


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.


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.


Interview Tips for Teachers

Two teachers sat at table talking

This is the time to show your potential employer that you’re perfect for the role and can conduct yourself in a confident and professional manner. Interviews can be nerve wracking and intimidating, so you need to make sure you are prepared for every question and any tricky situations that may come your way.

We have put together some top tips to help you through this process:

Research the school

This information will help you to show that you are genuinely interested in their school and form some questions to ask them. You may be asked what challenges you perceive the school may have, what its’ strengths are and how you could contribute to moving the school forward. Read their OFSTED report, or maybe check the latest exam results to provide your own ideas on where they can improve.
Be sure to read over the job description again carefully and check that you have clear examples of what they are looking for. Take this time to list all of your achievements and current experiences so you can incorporate them into your answers.

Prepare for common interview questions

Many of the questions that are used at interview are quite standard. By preparing your responses you can sound much more confident. Remember to keep these responses simple with a clear and detailed response, along with what your areas are for development. Add your own personality to your answers and sell yourself as to why you are the perfect candidate! We have listed some examples below:

  • Name an achievement that you are proud of?
  • Explain what inspired you to become a teacher.
  • Name a professional book you have read and how it impacted on your practice.
  • Describe what you think your safeguarding responsibilities will be?

Try your best to maintain a structure to your answers so that you don’t go off track or start to waffle. A great learning tool is the STAR method, which enables you provide a problem and a solution to the question

  • Situation – think of a specific situation where their question would have applied.
  • Task – what was your responsibility in this situation?
  • Activity – what did you actually do?
  • Result – what was the positive impact of your actions?

Don’t Over-prepare

Part of the interview process will most likely involving teaching a lesson at the school you are applying for. Try not to overthink the lesson plan. Have a structure in mind with a key objective, but don’t try to cover everything. Focus on a topic that you are interested in so you can show enthusiasm and keep the children engaged for longer. Be sure to include lots of interactive learning and ask your students plenty of questions.

Ask the employer questions too!

The person interviewing you will always ask if you have any questions for them. If you do not have anything prepared, it can show that you are uninterested and have no drive for the role. Perhaps ask what support you will receive when you start the role, or what room there is for progression within the school? Don’t be afraid to put them on the spot, it shows willingness and a desire to succeed.

Dress to impress!

First impressions are everything! Be sure to dress smart, be aware of your body language, smile and try to look relaxed. A firm handshake and eye contact when you meet the panel and answer questions can make a good initial impression. Let your personality shine through! The clarity of your speech is very important and you should always try to sound positive and enthusiastic.

If you would like to hear more about how we can help you find your perfect role, get in touch with one of friendly recruitment consultants now!

Good Luck!