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Celebrating Diwali in the Classroom

Creative ways to celebrate Diwali in the classroom

Every year Indian communities come together to celebrate the religious holiday Diwali, the celebration of lights. This year, the five day festival spans from the 21st of October to the 25th, providing a perfect opportunity to educate children with a range of literature, food and values that originate from the Indian festival.

The celebration of lights does just that, championing light over darkness and good over evil, lighting up homes across the globe. There’s more to Diwali than just putting up some lights, if you’re looking for creative ways to celebrate Diwali in the classroom, carry on reading as Education Recruitment Agency, Initial Education, have come up with their favourite ways to bring even more magic to the festival of lights.

Host a Mela

A Mela is a type of Indian street fair where local residents come together to sell their home grown produce and handmade goods. Providing the perfect opportunity to ignite student’s creative sides, hold an arts and crafts lesson or day to create pieces that students can later trade in a year group-wide or school wide Mela. Not only does this inspire imaginations, this creative way to celebrate Diwali teaches children about significant ancient artifacts an sculptures synonymous with the religious festival.

A Festival of Lights

You can’t celebrate the festival of lights without a nod to the beautiful clay candles lit by Hindu, Sikh and Jain households alike in honour of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Allow students to decorate the classroom with clay tea light holders and LED lights to illuminate the room throughout the 5 day festival. If you want to go a little further, introduce the magic of rangoli patterns to the class, perhaps by using coloured pencils or pens instead of sand at first to keep the mess to a minimum.

Share Stories

Include students in story time by sharing Indian stories behind the origins of Diwali and encourage students to share their own anecdotes of what each tale reminds them of. Ask students to interpret the concept of light over evil and how this occurs in their everyday lives, perhaps even ask them to bring in an object that symbolises that concept most to them. Creating relatable situations, particularly for younger children, during story time can aid in magnifying the impact of the tale you are telling and encourages a collaborative atmosphere that can create personal connections to the legend.

Food!

In line with the brightness theme, sweets are an integral part of Diwali celebrations, with the second day of the festival typically dedicated to the buying and sharing of sweets such as Halwa. Allow children to make their own sweets and take it in turns sharing tasks such as mixing to make sure that everyone gets a chance to be involved. Simple sweets to make include coconut Burfi sweets, made out of desiccated coconut, condensed milk and food colouring. Be careful of allergies as many traditional Indian sweets contain nuts and milk as a base, so be sure to read the ingredients list before sharing.

Other, more savoury snacks include bhajis, pakoras and samosas. Set children the task of going home and baking traditional Indian snacks over the weekend ready to bring in on the Monday.

As an education recruitment agency, we’d love to hear about the creative ways that you are planning on celebrating Diwali in the classroom, whether you’re an experienced teacher, ECT or teaching assistant, just get in touch via email, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and be sure to tag us!

If you’re looking for a new challenge in Worcestershire or Gloucestershire and love working with children, get in contact with Becky from Initial Education today to hear how we can help find your ideal role.

Refer a Friend

Refer a teacher friend and as a thank you, you’ll both receive a £10 Amazon voucher. There is no limit on how many friends you can recommend.

Ask your friend to contact Becky Oram to discuss opportunities to learn new skills, boost their CV and gain valuable experience in a variety of schools whilst applying for permanent roles.

Amazon vouchers will be issued on completion of sign up and following two days of work.

As specialists in primary education recruitment, if you are looking for a new role in education, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with education manager, Becky Oram, today to find out what teaching opportunities we have in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

NQT social media prize draw T&Cs

NQT Social Media prize draw T&Cs

Terms and conditions
Promotion opens at 17:00 on 18/05/2022 and closes at 23:59:59 on 15/06/2022.

  1. This promotion is 2x £50 Amazon Vouchers.
  2. Entry is open to all customers aged 18 or over (‘the participant’).
  3. One entry per person.
  4. To enter, entrants must fill out the entry form online https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SBHVBBX
  5. The competition will end on 15th June 2022, the winner will be announced within 7
    working days from the deadline. Winners will be notified by email via the email address
    provided.
  6. There are a total of two Amazon Vouchers to be won.
  7. The prize is non-transferable, and it may not be sold or advertised for sale.
  8. No cash or alternative option will be provided for the prize. However, the Promoter
    reserves the right to substitute it with a similar discount of equal or greater value should
    it become necessary for reasons beyond their control.
  9. The Promoter accepts no liability whatsoever for any losses of damage to the claimed
    voucher. This does not affect user’s statutory rights.
  10. Except as otherwise required by law, the Promoter accepts no responsibility or
    liability for lost, late, damaged, corrupted or misdirected entries or claims and the
    Promoter is not responsible for any late or misdirected delivery of communications
    (email or otherwise), except in the event of wilful intent on the part of the Promoter or its
    agents.
  11. By entering this promotion, you agree to these terms and conditions, which will at
    that time become binding between you and the Promoter. In the event of circumstances
    outside the reasonable control of the promoter, or otherwise where fraud, abuse, and/or
    an error (human or computer) affects or could affect the proper operation of this
    promotion or the awarding of the voucher, and only where circumstances make this
    unavoidable, the Promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the promotion or these
    terms and conditions, at any stage, but will always endeavour to minimise the effect to
    participants in order to avoid undue disappointment.
  12. The Promoter reserves the right to verify all vouchers, and to withdraw voucher
    entitlement and/or refuse further participation in the promotion and disqualify the
    participant where there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been a breach of
    these terms and conditions or any instructions forming part of this promotions entry
    requirements or otherwise where a participant has gained unfair advantage in
    participating in the promotion or won using fraudulent means. The Promoter will be the
    final arbiter in any decisions and these will be binding and no correspondence will be
    entered into.
  13. Data Protection: Any personal information that entrants share with the Promoter will
    be kept secure and only used in line with these terms and conditions unless the entrant
    has opted in to future marketing from the Promoter and/or the Supplier. By entering the
    promotion, entrants agree that their information may be used by the Promoter to
    administer the promotion and winners consent to give their name and county for the
    winners’ list.
    Promoter: Initial Education
    Initial Recruitment Services
    Highnam Business Park
    Highnam
    Gloucestershire
    GL2 8DN
    Good luck!

As specialists in primary education recruitment, if you are looking for a new role in education, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with education manager, Becky Oram, today to find out what teaching opportunities we have in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

Improving Pupil Participation in the Classroom

How to Improve Pupil Participation in The Classroom

Student engagement and pupil participation in the classroom are crucial to both learning and personal development, however this can be difficult to maintain, especially on the run up to Christmas. Getting children focussed and participating in lessons is easier said than done, after all if they aren’t fully absorbed and captured by the lesson in front of them, they’ll quickly switch to finding something that interests them. There’s nothing unusual about children zoning out in lessons, however education recruitment agency, Initial Recruitment, are on hand to provide some key insights into how you can improve pupil participation in the classroom this term.

Pupil Participation in Classrooms

Don’t Skip The Warmup

You wouldn’t start a gym session without an appropriate warm up to get your muscles going and the most out of your session, and a lesson is no different. Start the class with a warmup to get children engaged from the offset and promoting a pupil centred approach through question and answer sessions or mini competitions to create a buzz in the room. Once the warmup is over, children should be ready to sit down and focus on the lesson in front of them.

Create a Pupil-Focussed Learning Environment

When children are tired and begin to zone out during a lesson, its all too easy to slip into a teacher-focussed learning environment in which you simply stand in front of the class and talk, however this is going to do nothing towards improving pupil participation in the classroom. Instead, use this as an opportunity to engage children in peer teaching, teamworking activities and collaborative projects. If you create an environment in which both teachers and students are working with and learning from each other, you’ll soon begin to see you spend less time managing student behaviour and more time witnessing exceptional results.

Embrace Different Learning Styles

Just as there’s no one size fits all approach to teaching, you will know by now that children learn and absorb information differently, whether they be visual, kinaesthetic, or aural learners. Take time to find out how each individual learns best and create tasks best suited to each individual.

What’s more, get to know your students’ extracurricular activities and hobbies in order to tailor your lesson planning to incorporate these factors, allowing students to instantly connect with the message you are communicating. Simple tasks such as asking students to come up with a mind map of what they enjoy doing at the weekends or after school will help harness this.

Teamwork

Enhance student interaction through group work and discussions within the lesson, ensuring that you monitor and guide children in order to ensure that it is effective. Encourage open ended conversations that can be followed with questions and be sure to respect everyone’s ideas before reaching a final agreement. Giving children a change from solo work will allow them to share ideas and ensures active participation from all pupils in the classroom.

Avoid cliques by creating fluid teams based on individual strengths to enable primary school children to gather different strengths from those around them. Change up the groups every morning in order to allow those less confident to shine, avoiding the possibility of established roles within groups.

It is not only collaboration between pupils and class teachers that contribute to improved pupil participation in classrooms, it is imperative that special educational needs (SEN) teaching assistants collaborate effectively with the class teacher. SEN teaching assistants have the knowledge of their child’s specific needs and challenges and understand what is needed to best encourage development. Children with SEN needs are then able to fully maximise their education and achieve academic goals through utilising an adapted and tailored approach to learning.

Make Lessons Fun

Remind children that school can be fun and give them something to look forward to at school by creating engaging and educational quizzes instead of assessments, helping to ease stress and therefore generate more accurate insights into pupil performance. Instant assessments in the form of quizzes or collaborative assessments will also help you as a teacher to collate information at the moment it is shared and instantly identify knowledge gaps that can then guide the narrative of future lessons.

Keep pupil participation at a high by following formal assessments with physical activity or an educational game, eliminating ‘dead time’ within the classroom by keeping brains active and creating positive associations to assessments. Make every lesson an experience by introducing classroom games to assist young primary school children in enhancing their language an communication skills.

Give Children A Choice

Add value to lessons and encourage emotional engagement by introducing an element of choice to lessons. Indeed, children are instantly more likely to engage in a lesson if they feel they have had an active impact in the way that it is laid out. Whilst expecting and allowing children to be entirely independent and responsible for their learning is possibly not the wisest choice, create options for visual, kinaesthetic an aural learners to facilitate the shift from a teacher focussed to student centred learning environment.

A fantastic way to introduce the element of choice in the classroom is to throw away the seating plan, allowing children to sit where they want in the classroom. Avoid cliques by maintaining condition that children are not allowed to sit next to the same individual more than once a week.

Pupil Participation in classrooms

Teachers and teaching assistants must harness the three types of engagement to maximise pupil participation in the classroom; behavioural engagement, emotional engagement and cognitive engagement. Once these three factors are captured, students will begin to listen and absorb information around them, meaning that disruption and sinking into chairs can become a thing of the past.

If you are an experienced teacher, ECT / NQT or teaching assistant, we’d love to hear how you improve pupil participation in the classroom, especially with the run up to Christmas. Share your stories on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and don’t forget to tag us!

As specialists in primary education recruitment, if you are looking for a new role in education, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with education manager, Becky Oram, today to find out what teaching opportunities we have in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

What To Expect From An SEN Teaching Role

What To Expect From An SEN Teaching Role

If you’ve ever considered an SEN teaching or teaching assistant role but you’re worried about what to expect, read on to gain a little insight to see if it is a career path suited to you. Working with children with special educational needs in schools can be an incredibly rewarding but equalling challenging field and as a teacher or teaching assistant it can be a daunting aspect to dive into at first. Whether you’re a supply teacher, NQT / ECT or a teaching assistant, working in an SEN school might be completely novel to you but you are keen to explore it. As specialists in SEN recruitment, education recruitment agency, Initial Education, have outlined the top things to expect when working in an SEN school for the first time.

“When I first came into the special sector, people told me a lot about what pupils couldn’t do and I felt they knew what they couldn’t do. I always wondered what they might do.”

Mr Britten, Headteacher on BBC’s Life in a Special School

You’ve got to have Patience

The saying ‘the patience of a saint’ has never been more relevant when working with special needs children. When working in an SEN school, you’ll fast begin to notice that each student has their own way of learning and interpreting information and being patient with this is crucial. Dyslexia and Autism, amongst other learning disabilities, make learning more challenging for young children, meaning that more often than not they require extra time, patience and reassurance in the classroom. You will find that some students have shorter attention spans than others as they sit down to complete a task and quickly deviate from it, whilst others will require your attention elsewhere and so remaining calm and patient in order to put out one fire at a time is one of the best things you can do.

Every day is different

As part of the team in an SEN school, your day to day will consist of working with and assisting young children with learning difficulties, whether they be physical, emotional, behavioural, visual or hearing. As a supply teacher in an SEN school, you won’t be expected to provide a lesson plan, however adapting to individual learning plans and altering your teaching style to suit the differing abilities in your class is expected. Unlike mainstream schools, SEN schools tend to have smaller class sizes (6-12 students) along with a higher staff to student ratio so you won’t be left on your own

Working in an SEN school is SO rewarding

Whilst the prospect of stepping away from a mainstream school to a special school for an SEN teaching or SEN teaching assistant job may seem daunting, it can be one of the most rewarding things you do during your teaching career. Supporting the children that need it most, you will have the chance to have a real impact on a child’s learning, opening the doors for them to explore future opportunities that they didn’t believe possible. Watching a child come out of their shell, master a skill they have been struggling with or simply connecting with and building relationships with those around them can some of the most rewarding events you witness. Be prepared to be inspired by the sheer determination your students exhibit on a day to day basis, despite the challenges they face, we can guarantee your day will be made up with laugher and smiles from those around you.

Communication

Language and communication are crucial elements to succeeding within an SEN school and it is regularly seen as good practice to apply simple and accessible language whilst avoiding coming across as patronising. Try breaking down tasks into shorter, more digestible sentences and adapt your approach if you discover some students are still struggling. If you are working as a 1:1 teaching assistant in an SEN school, be sure to ask the class teacher what communication techniques are best to use, some children will comprehend everyday communication, whilst others might communicate most effectively though eye movements or technology, so outline this before you begin so that you can hit the ground running.

Makaton is a technique used by students that are non-verbal or struggle with communicating verbally and it’s an invaluable communication technique in SEN Primary schools. Many SEND schools will have students that communicate through British Sign Language (BSL), whilst you won’t be asked to use this method if you do not know it, be prepared for students to use sign language within the classroom. Whilst BSL is designed to assist those with hearing impairments, Makaton plays an essential part in supporting spoken language, featuring elements of BSL interspersed through sentences.

Pupil Profiles

If you are going into an SEN school to work as a 1:1 TA or as a teacher, pupil profiles are essential on your first day. A pupil profile details a student’s educational and medical needs, alongside an analysis of their specific motivators in order to keep children engaged and focussed on the task in hand. Expect to arrive at your school early and take a look through the pupil profile and discuss any other behaviour with staff before school starts – profiles aren’t always updated daily so its important to have the most up to date information.

The number of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) make up 15.5% of the population and this is increasing year on year. With an abundance of SEN teaching and teaching assistant roles available, if you’re a passionate and enthusiastic teacher looking for a new challenge, there’s no time like the present. Indeed as a SEND teacher you pick up a host of valuable and transferable skills that can contribute to making you so much more employable in your future career, wherever it may take you. If you are a resilient teacher or teaching assistant looking for a new challenge, get in touch with SEN specialist, Becky, at Initial Education today to find out what opportunities we have available in SEN schools.

Key Strengths of a Great Teaching Assistant

Teaching assistants form an integral part of our education system and are crucial to supporting both teachers and pupils in and outside of the classroom. Working 1:1 with students that need a little more guidance or working in larger groups in primary and secondary school settings, a great teaching assistant is able to encourage and develop students to get the best out of their learning.

So, we’ve established the importance of teaching assistants, but what really are the key strengths of a great teaching assistant I hear you say, well the team at Initial Education have come up with the key strengths that they look or when hiring teaching assistants.

Building and maintain strong relationships

Whilst maintaining long-lasting bonds with pupils seems an obvious requirement for a good teaching assistant, great teaching assistants are also able to build those relationships with their colleagues and parents to ensure that pupils have a strong support network built around them. Trust is crucial to any successful relationship, so get to know your pupils, their parents, and teachers in order to get the most out of the learning environment.

With relationships built on trust, it’s not uncommon for a teaching assistant to stick with one pupil throughout their primary or secondary school career thanks to the fantastic bonds that are built between themselves and a pupil.

Be prepared to be flexible

Teaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and what worked with one class may not work with the next, meaning that teaching partners should be ready to adapt to different teaching styles on a daily basis. This is particularly pivotal when working in supply contexts as responsiveness and thinking outside of the box is fantastic for personal development.

Teamwork and Communication are KEY

Teamwork and communication are not only buzzwords that you use to bulk out your CV, indeed they are vital strengths to a great teaching assistant. Teaching assistants act as an intermediary between teachers and students, requiring you to relay and explain information accurately in a manner that your students will best understand. As we’ve discussed, it is so important to work closely with teachers and parents to ensure that student needs are correctly addressed and this strong communication skills.

Additionally, as a teaching assistant you will often be required to work with a number of different classes and pupils on a daily basis, amplifying the importance of exceptional team working and communication skills to encourage successful learning development.

Enthusiasm and Passion go a long way

A great teaching assistant will have a passion for working with and developing children, whether that be in early years, SEN or mainstream primary and secondary. An energetic approach will create an exciting atmosphere in the classroom, encouraging students to want to learn. What’s more, great teaching assistants will build on that passion but partaking in online courses designed to improve your competencies as a TA.

If you’re looking for a career change and think you would make a great teaching assistant, or if you’re simply looking for a fresh start in a new school, we have a great candidate and client base and we would love to hear from you!

Complete our online form and a member of the team will be in touch!

Click here for the online form or give us a call on 07827 323208.

Hiring an NQT : What To Look Out For

Hiring a new, inexperienced NQT or member of staff can be a tough decision, and although you may feel yourself gravitating to those candidates offering years of experience, a young or newly qualified teacher can bring so many strengths to your educational setting. Indeed, the drive and passion of new teachers is unrivalled, bringing with them a new approach and energy to the curriculum. Take a look at Initial Education’s key things to look out for when you’re hiring new teachers.

Flexibility and adaptability

At Initial Education we believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and the best teachers are those that are able to adapt to differing and challenging situations on a daily basis without getting flustered. When hiring an NQT, look at whether they have completed supply work previously or worked with both mainstream and SEN schools as this is a clear indicator of an individual’s ability to adapt to alternative environments.

Enthusiasm

Love what you do and do what you love. Teaching isn’t easy at the best of times so when hiring NQTs, look out for those that have a true passion for what they do and why they do it. Passion and enthusiasm go a long way in teaching as a teacher’s energy can easily be reflected onto those in the classroom, creating a great learning environment for all those involved. Indeed, when hiring an NQT you should consider that they are likely to incorporate new technologies into the classroom fresh from training, keeping pupils engaged and reinforcing their love for school.

Patience is underrated

A crucial skill that is often overlooked, educators that display patience and a degree of tranquillity are hugely valuable. Regardless of age group, pupils learn differently, misbehave, or simply struggle to process information in the same way. When hiring an NQT, look for those that are able to remain calm, cool and collected in even the most frustrating of situations in order to get the most out of their students.

Communication

Fundamental to teaching success, look for teachers that are able to effectively communicate with pupils, their parents and other teaching staff. Indeed, contributing to the learning development of students requires exceptional communication with other teachers in order to tailor your approach to each class. Additionally, building trusting relationships with parents and pupils is great for keeping students engaged in their learning, making the best teachers those that are able to demonstrate that they are able to provide effective and constructive feedback.

Furthermore, look at your existing team of staff and take into consideration the benefits that they would obtain from bringing on a newly qualified teacher. Indeed, this provides fantastic opportunities for existing staff to develop their own leadership and mentoring competencies, alongside reflecting on new techniques and practices.

Consider an agency

If you’re worried about the calibre of staff that you bringing to a school, whether they be newly qualified teachers of those with years of experience, consider looking to an agency for assistance. We’ve done the leg work for you and have a pool of the best NQTs and experienced teachers in the area, saving you time and worry. What’s more, we make safeguarding children our top priority, so when taking on a new teacher or teaching assistant from Initial Education you don’t have to worry. All our candidates are interviewed, and references are thoroughly reviewed prior to registration, in addition to an up-to-date enhanced DBS check.

If you’re looking for teaching staff for supply, temporary or longer-term work, we have a great pool of candidates and would love to hear from you, just get in touch.