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Celebrating Teaching Assistants this Teaching Assistants Day, September 29th.

Teaching Assistants are an integral part of the education system, providing support to teachers and pupils during their formative years. Their hard work often goes unnoticed, making it all the more important to recognise and celebrate Teaching Assistants’ Day.

These individuals play a vital role in the classroom, helping to create a positive and supportive learning environment for students. Working closely with teachers to develop lesson plans, providing one-on-one assistance to struggling students, and helping to manage classroom behaviour.

We meet many people at Initial Recruitment who are looking for a new role as a Teaching Assistant. In addition, we work with many schools in placing TAs in their setting. This helps us to really understand the qualities and experience required from the ideal Teaching Assistant.

Here are some ideas on how to celebrate Teaching Assistants on their special day:

Thank you notes for your TA’s

Encourage pupils, teachers, and other staff members to write heartfelt thank-you notes or letters expressing their appreciation for the TAs. These messages can highlight specific times when your Teaching Assistant’s support has made a significant difference.

Teaching Assistant Recognition Ceremony

Teaching Assistants can be acknowledged and celebrated for their efforts with a recognition ceremony. This can be done during a staff meeting, assembly or a special event dedicated to honouring their contributions. Provide certificates of appreciation, small tokens of gratitude, or personalised gifts.

Social Media Shout-Outs

Utilise your school’s social media platforms to publicly acknowledge and appreciate your Teaching Assistants. Share posts that highlight their positive impact, exceptional qualities, and contributions to the school and the class they work in. You can also encourage others to join in by using a designated hashtag to share their own messages of gratitude.

Classroom Surprise on Teaching Assistant’s Day

Coordinate with other teachers to surprise the school’s Teaching Assistants with a small celebration in the classroom. Put up decorations, bring in snacks or treats, and get pupils to participate in activities to showcase their appreciation.

Professional Development Opportunities

Offer Teaching Assistants the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge through workshops, training sessions, or professional development courses. A great way to show they are valued and supported!

Lunch or Tea Gathering on Teaching Assistants’ Day

Host a special lunch or afternoon tea gathering where Teaching Assistants can relax and enjoy some quality time together.

Highlight Success Stories

Share success stories of TAs who’ve made an impact on pupils’ lives or have gone above and beyond through newsletters, bulletin boards, or presentations to showcase their achievements and inspire others.

Despite the challenges they face, Teaching Assistants remain committed; driven by a passion for making a difference in the lives of children. By acknowledging their efforts for all they do, we can inspire them to continue making a positive impact.

On Teaching Assistants’ Day and every day, let us take a moment to thank these dedicated professionals for their hard work and unwavering commitment to our children’s education.

If you’re looking for a new teaching assistant role in a new school, 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 01452 740001.

Helping children settle back in to school after the holidays.

Helping children settle back into school after the holidays is an important task for teachers.

Returning to school can be a daunting experience for many children. It’s a teacher’s/teaching assistants’ responsibility to ensure that all of the pupils are school-ready and prepared to tackle the new academic year with confidence.

Here are some tips for getting your pupils back into the school routine and ready to learn.

Create a welcoming environment in class

Set up the classroom in a way that is inviting and familiar to the children. Make sure the spaces are clean, organised, and visually appealing. Consider displaying their pictures from the last academic year for familiarity or create a ‘Welcome Back’ bulletin board. (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/karinalvarez90/welcome-back-bulletin-boards/ )

Make time for talking to all the children

It’s important to remember that school is not just about the curriculum. Many children will have missed their school friends during the holidays, so it’s crucial to create an environment where they can catch up and reconnect. Create some class icebreaker games https://www.teachit.co.uk/cpd/teaching-and-learning/20-best-icebreakers ), group projects, or class team-building exercises (https://www.weareteachers.com/team-building-games-and-activities/) to help children reconnect with their classmates and peers.

Encourage the children to reflect on their holiday experiences and share any highlights. This can help limit any disruptions during focused learning time and boost confidence while easing anxieties.

Establish a routine in class

After a long break, it’s essential to re-establish a routine as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that there may have been a discrepancy in the amount of work and listening done at home compared to what is expected at school. Plan your first week of lesson plans with this in mind, so that routine can be re-established naturally, and the children can reacquaint themselves with the daily schedule and the rules of the classroom.

Check in with your pupils

Some of your pupils may have had a difficult home life during the holidays, so it’s important to check in with them on their return to school. Building a rapport with your class, their parents, and key care workers will help make this easier for you to identify. Consider things that can be done in the classroom to help manage any overwhelm.

Remind your class of the basics, such as where the toilets are, that you are there to help, timelines, etc. Showcase areas of your classroom that may be a place of sanctuary for those feeling overwhelmed, such as book corners and quiet spaces.

Focus on the well-being of all the children

Recognise that some students may have mixed emotions about returning to school after a holiday. Adding wellbeing-focused activities to the start of term can help your class feel less overwhelmed and give you an insight into how they are feeling. Provide opportunities for students to express their feelings and offer support if needed.

For example, ask your class to draw an image of how they are feeling or choose a colour that represents their mood and explain why. The Colour Monster story (https://www.teachingideas.co.uk/library/books/the-colour-monster ) is always a great place to start. These activities not only help your class feel supported but also give you valuable information on who you may need to keep a closer eye on as the term starts.

Be mindful of hunger and tiredness

Sleep routines can often be lost during school holidays, and snacks throughout the day can increase. This can mean that when your class returns after the holidays, they may be struck by overwhelm, hunger, and tiredness.

Be sure not to plan too many high-intensity physical activities in the first week back, and perhaps look at your PE plan, keeping in mind that some children may not have been as active or well-rested during the holidays. If your timetable allows, add in a snack time or create a lesson plan that includes food, such as a DT lesson on making fruit cocktails or tasting new foods.

Support parents

The more informed your classes’ parents are regarding what makes the return to school easier for their children, the better the process will be. Most children deal with some level of stress or anxiety about school, added with a change in routine. Providing resources before the school holidays begin and just before they return is amazingly supportive. You can make these resources independently or link to your school’s website or government-provided resources.

Helping children settle back into school after the holidays can be challenging for both pupils and teachers. Remember, the key is to create a positive and supportive environment that helps children ease back into the school routine while fostering their academic and emotional growth.

By following these simple tips, you can help ease the transition and ensure that your pupils are ready to learn. Remember to prioritise communication and well-being, establish a routine, and provide support for both your pupils and their parents. With these strategies in place, you can help make the new academic year a success for everyone involved.

If you’re looking for a new teaching role in a new school, 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 01452 740001.

How staff can help each other with mental health and wellbeing

An issue that extends past one day or an awareness week, we discuss what you can do as a teacher to help each other to raise awareness and help to improve wellbeing within schools.

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘anxiety’. Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.

It should come as no surprise that school staff are experiencing more symptoms of poor mental health, with 77% experiencing symptoms due to their work.

We also know that great relationships at work can help you to deal with and share the stresses of school life.

Top tips to help a colleague who needs support –

Adapt your approach

Adapt your approach to each individual – remember not everyone communicates in the same way and what works for one person won’t work for another. If they’re finding it difficult to express themselves, let them know that you’re there when they are ready. Simply giving someone space to talk, and listening to how they’re feeling, can be really helpful in itself.

Be open

Be open and honest. Making yourself approachable can be pivotal in helping someone. Let your colleagues know that you can see they might be struggling and you’re there anytime that they may need some support.

Ask questions

Ask your colleague if you can help or if they need anything. Try and encourage an open dialogue, resisting the urge to simply ask how you can ‘fix’ the issue and focus on guiding conversations and ask instead how you can improve circumstances or make things better.

This can help pinpoint specific issues and often enables you to resolve them more efficiently than dancing around the subject.

Be kind

Express your empathy. Often the greatest gift we can someone else is the gift of empathy. It can sometimes be difficult for colleagues to show weakness at work, so be kind and take the time to listen and to offer reassurance.

Just be there

The organised chaos of a typical school day makes it hard to find the time to speak to a colleague who seems to be struggling, especially if you are also feeling the strain of work and life in general. Taking the time to just be there can really make a huge difference to someone’s day or even week and may even also help you to have open conversations and to share familiar struggles in the classroom.

If you’re looking for a new challenge or change of scenery, Initial Education would love to hear from you so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with by calling 01452 740001 or registering your interest here.

The lowdown on NQT teaching jobs.

NQT’s ask us ‘When should I start looking for my first teaching job?’ a lot, and this is an interesting question. You started your PGCE in September and your fellow students are already talking about finding a job by December. This can make you feel rushed, but our advice is not to rush into it.

There’s a lot to consider when applying for your first teaching position. We hope this blog helps to answer some of your questions and helps to get your applications off to a great start.

When should NQT’s Apply?

Teacher positions can of course open at any time, but most commonly after Christmas for a September start date.

The peak time for applications though is between the start of March and the end of May. This is because Easter is the deadline for teachers to hand in their notice for the current school year. Some schools will advertise as early as January, while others may advertise as late as June or July, due to unforeseen circumstances.

It’s worth applying for roles, either permanent or temporary (or both), as soon as you’ve submitted your dissertation. Seeking a temp role as soon as you’ve completed your dissertation will allow you to:

  • Earn money in a relevant role
  • Gain valuable experience in a variety of schools while applying for permanent roles
  • Learn new skills
  • Boost your CV, helping you to stand out from the competition

The teacher recruitment timetable: what to do and when

Autumn term: Start looking early and don’t just apply to any school. Consider what’s important to you, the ethos, site, size and catchment of the school you’d like to work at. Autumn is a great time to do some research on the schools in your ideal area and to attend university recruitment fairs.

December and January: Local Authorities advertise vacancies and may have closing dates. In January, schools start directly advertising vacancies.

January to May: This is the busiest period for recruitment. Register with websites to receive updates on the latest opportunities. Make applications to teacher registration schemes and databases.

Consider registering with an agency for supply work. This experience will be incredibly valuable, giving you more to put on your CV to stand out, allowing you to gain valuable experience and another bonus, earn money.

31 May: The final date before which teachers leaving their jobs in the summer must resign, so more jobs appear around this time.

Where to Look

Most primary schools will advertise on their local authority website (look up local council education jobs) and in the local newspaper.

Secondary schools tend to use job websites.

Agencies are great resource also, with full-time and part-time contracts available, which could work around your studies and other commitments until you’re ready to start a new role in September. The more flexible you are, the more work you can get. As you get to know them more, you can work with the agencies to tell them your preferences and strengths.

Applications and CVs

Schools may have their own application form they would like you to complete. Sometimes this is a form set by the local authority. Other schools may request a CV and cover letter. Often the most difficult part of the application is the personal statement. This is where you explain why you would be the best candidate for the role.

Be very specific when completing the application form – tell them what you’ve done, focusing on your successes and giving as many examples from your time in the classroom as possible.

Personal statement

Write a strong 300 to 400-word personal statement; show you’ve done your research and understand something about the school you’re applying to, talk about your course and what you’d personally bring to that school. Get some feedback on your form before you send it off.

Here are a few helpful tips to tick off as you write your personal statement:

  • tailor your application to the school, for example their ethos, Ofsted report and latest exam results
  • visit the school, as many recruiters view this as a part of the application process and it can help you to see if you would want to work there
  • get it proofread to ensure there are no spelling mistakes
  • ensure your employment history has no gaps and if it has make sure they’re explained
  • tell them what skills and extracurricular opportunities you can bring
  • convey a passion for teaching
  • evidence your success, where you bring added value and have met targets.

Managing Expectations

Finding the perfect role can take time, and sometimes it takes a while to get into the flow of interviews. Some people will find this easier than others. It’s important to persevere and have someone to talk to who can support you during this potentially difficult time.

Good Luck!

If you’d like to get in touch with Initial Education to understand how we could help you, give us a call on 01452 740001 or you can register your interest here.

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.

Anti-Bullying Week in Schools

Anti-Bullying Week in Schools – One Kind Word

Throughout the week commencing 14th November, schools across the country will be celebrating Anti-Bullying Week, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of bullying. As with Black History Month in October, this awareness event should not be limited to a week, however Initial Education, an Education Recruitment Agency, have come up with their top ways in which you can mark anti-bullying week in schools and make a lasting impact that gets children talking for weeks to come.

One Kind Word

This year’s theme centres around the concept of ‘one kind word’, creating the perfect opportunity to frame your messages around positivity and inclusion when discussing anti-bullying week in schools. Alongside combatting bullying, this theme was derived to highlight the importance of everyday kindness, helping to eliminate the issue at its roots. Encourage students to say one kind thing to each other every day when they come into class and ask them to pin point one positive aspect that they have got out of their day when the day comes to a close. Teach kindness and empathy from an early age and be sure that children will carry these values with them throughout their lives.

Anti-Bullying Week in Schools

Odd Socks Day

The week will kick off with Odd Socks Day on Monday 14th November, where adults and children where odd socks to celebrate what makes us all unique. A concept that encourages children to celebrate and embrace their differences by standing out from the crowd wearing odd socks to school.

For older children, the buzz on social media is an important part of Anti-Bullying Week, and a great opportunity for schools to share how they’ve embraced the anti-bullying message. Get involved via #AntiBullyingWeek and #ReachOut on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter.

Get Talking

As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, so invite children into open discussions about what they think constitutes as bullying in order to educate them on key principles. Highlight issues concerning race, ethnicity, gender and appearance and emphasise that the use of prejudiced language towards someone as a result of one of these factors is unacceptable.

Additionally, building on social and emotional intelligence through having in depth discussions on bullying, children will be able to better spot clear patterns that lead to this unacceptable behaviour, helping to eradicate it from the classroom. Let children know where you are should they feel the need to speak up and dedicate a hour a day, perhaps in lunch or break time, to set aside to listening to those who are struggling.

Go Online

As always, the likes of Twinkle and the Anti-Bullying Alliance are on hand to provide some fantastic resources designed to bring Anti-Bullying week to life in your primary school. Indeed, both associations have teamed up with the BBC this year to create engaging and high quality resources designed to combat bullying.

We all play a part in preventing bullying and right now, with the rise in technology and online activity, it is now more important than ever to raise awareness and draw attention to the destructive behaviour that is bullying. As always, as an education recruitment agency we would love to hear your stories as to how you have marked anti-bullying week in your school. Whether you’re an experienced teacher, ECT or teaching assistant, share your stories with us via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter!

It goes without saying that if you are interested in a career in education, get in touch today. With supply and longer term teaching roles in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, we will be able to find the best opportunity to suit you.

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. Focusing and engaging children in lessons proves challenging, as they readily shift their attention to what interests them when not fully absorbed in the current material. There’s nothing unusual about children zoning out in lessons. Education recruitment agency Initial Recruitment are here to provide some key insights on improving pupil participation in the classroom.

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 a lesson is no different. Start the class with a warmup to get children engaged from the offset. Promote 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’ll 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 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. Incorporating these factors allows 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 out of school will help harness this.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork

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 invite questions, respect everyone’s ideas, and work together to reach 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 possess knowledge about their child’s specific needs and challenges, and they comprehend how to effectively promote 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. Using quizzes or collaborative assessments for instant evaluation as a teacher enables you to gather information in real-time, allowing you to promptly identify knowledge gaps and steer the direction 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 much more likely to engage in a lesson if they feel they actively shaped its layout. 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. Prevent cliques by ensuring that children cannot sit next to the same person for more than 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 students grasp these three factors, they will actively listen and absorb information from their surroundings, turning disruption and sinking into chairs into 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. Share your stories on Facebook, LinkedIn or X (formerly known as 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 A SEN Teaching Role

What To Expect From A SEN Teaching Role

If you’ve ever thought about a career in SEN teaching or as a teaching assistant but are unsure of what to expect, keep reading to gain insight and determine if this path suits you.

Teaching children with special needs can be rewarding and challenging, making it a daunting yet exciting field for teachers and teaching assistants. Whether you’re a supply teacher, NQT/ECT or a TA, working in a SEN school might be completely novel to you.

As specialists in SEN recruitment, Initial Education have outlined the top things to expect when working in a SEN school.

“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

Have patience

The saying ‘the patience of a saint’ has never been more relevant when working with special needs children. You’ll fast begin to notice that each student has their own way of learning and interpreting information. Being patient with this is crucial.

Dyslexia and Autism, amongst other learning disabilities, make learning more challenging for young children. This can mean 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. Others may require your attention elsewhere, 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 a SEN school, each 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, you don’t need to provide a lesson plan, but you should adjust your teaching style to match the varying abilities of your students by following their individual learning plans. SEN schools typically maintain smaller class sizes (6-12 students) and a higher staff-to-student ratio, ensuring that you won’t find yourself alone, unlike mainstream schools.

Working in a SEN school is so rewarding

Whilst the prospect of stepping away from a mainstream school to a special school may seem daunting, it can be one of the most rewarding things you do during your teaching career.

By supporting children that need it most, you’ll get the chance to have a real impact on a child’s learning. You can open 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.

Prepare to be inspired by the sheer determination your students display every day, despite the challenges they encounter. We can guarantee that those around you will fill your day with laughter and smiles.

Communication

Language and communication play a vital role in achieving success in an SEN school. It’s often considered best practice to use straightforward and approachable language while steering clear of sounding patronising.

Try breaking down tasks into shorter, more digestible sentences. Adapt your approach if you discover some students are still struggling. If you’re working as a 1:1 teaching assistant, ask the teacher what communication techniques are best to use. Some children will comprehend everyday communication, whilst others might communicate more effectively though eye movements or technology.

Makaton is a technique used by students that are non-verbal or struggle with communicating verbally. It’s a wonderful and invaluable communication technique in SEN Primary schools. Many SEND schools will also have students that communicate through British Sign Language (BSL).

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. You won’t be asked to use this method if you don’t know it, but be prepared for students to use it.

Pupil Profiles

When going into a SEN school to work as a 1:1 TA or as a teacher, pupil profiles are essential. 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.

Plan to arrive early to review profiles, and discuss with staff about any other behaviour before the start of school.

The number of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) make up 15.5% of the population and is increasing year on year. With an abundance of SEN teaching and teaching assistant roles available, there’s no time like the present. As a SEND teacher, you gain a host of valuable and transferable skills. These can contribute to making you so much more employable in your future career, wherever it may take you.

If you’re a teacher or teaching assistant looking for a new challenge, get in touch with SEN specialists Initial Education. Find out what opportunities we have available in SEN schools.