Reading Head Office: 0118 984 2413
Oxford Branch: 0186 523 8045
Surrey Branch: 0148 332 3041

Bringing wellbeing to education recruitment


Common Interview Questions for Teachers

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Preparing for a teaching job interview can be quite nerve-wracking, not to mention in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the virus and the resulting national lockdown, as well as impending circuit breaker lockdowns in certain areas, has meant that for a while, teaching jobs were having to be done remotely. Also, throughout the summer, schools that needed to hire permanent and supply teachers were having to resort to remote interviews, meaning that some NQTs were stepping into full-time teaching positions without even setting foot on a school’s grounds.

It’s fair to say that 2020 is not the year that many people expected. Having said that, the demand for teachers has still not gone away, and if anything, it’s imperative that schools find the perfect candidates sooner rather than later. For candidates applying for teaching jobs, through an education recruitment agency like Always Flourishing, if you land a job interview, it’s important to make sure you’re thoroughly prepared. 

Hence why we’ve prepared this short guide for you.

Preparing for Teaching Interviews

Preparation is vital for any teaching job interview; you should think carefully about the questions you’re likely to be asked and how to approach them.

Landing an interview for a job, whether working as a supply teacher, full-time teacher or teaching assistant, is a huge opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and potential. 

You’re likely to be asked a variety of questions, depending on whether you’re planning on working in a primary school, secondary school, independent school or somewhere entirely different. The questions will also depend on what teaching role you are applying for. 

We have outlined some common teaching agency job interview questions that you may be faced with. 

Teaching Interview Questions

There is no guarantee you will be asked the following questions, but they should give you a good indication of what to expect in a teaching interview.

  • Why did you apply for this teaching vacancy?
  • Why are you applying for a teaching position for this age range?
  • Describe your core strengths (and weaknesses)
  • What can you bring to the role?
  • What is your impression of the school?
  • How would you perhaps work with a teaching assistant?
  • What is your understanding of high-quality teaching and learning?
  • How will you manage the challenges of teaching in our school?
  • What qualities do you have which make you an effective teacher?
  • What skills do you think pupils look for in a teacher?
  • How would you deal with a safeguarding issue in a school?
  • Can you provide an example of when a pupil refused to cooperate?
  • Tell us about a time when you feel you made a positive difference in the classroom?

Tips for Teaching Interviews

It’s highly recommended that in any interview for a teaching job vacancy, that you get your point across concisely and contextually. Don’t waffle or shed any light on irrelevant points, as demonstrating that you are time-conscious and coherent can go a long way. Always be sure to finish on a positive note so that your interviewers can leave with a strong impression.

It’s vital that you do some independent research on the school you’re applying for. While visits may be temporarily suspended in some schools (they will not hold this against you), you should still talk to current full-time teachers, or someone who is undertaking teaching assistant training with them, for example. Find out all you can about the school’s curriculum, values, academic achievements, specialities and show your research and enthusiasm, which will help you stand out.

Also, ask a friend, family member, tutor or careers advisor to conduct a mock interview so you can practice. 

Support from a Teaching Recruitment Agency

If you are currently looking at education recruitment options, one of the preferred routes into teaching is to go through an agency. Always Flourishing aim to recruit teachers of all experience levels, and place them into the perfect teaching position for them. We work closely with schools across the Home Counties to recruit specific teaching staff that they require. We leverage our personal teaching experience, with filling education jobs that are going to be beneficial for both candidate and client.

Register with us, or get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you nail that teaching interview. 

Filling Teaching Agency Jobs with the Right Candidates in 2020

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Filling Teaching Vacancies

Schools with available teaching jobs never have it easy. Finding the right aspiring teachers, either on a permanent or supply basis, is not something that is straightforward; it’s a very time-consuming and stressful process. 

The UK has had a substantial teacher shortage for some time now. Even in a pre-coronavirus society, teacher recruitment was always an issue which was the perfect example of a double-edged sword. Not only were schools needing to hire teachers with very specific skill sets and experience, but the number of suitable and viable teaching applications they would receive arguably would never total that many. 

For schools, shortlisting candidates felt like such a struggle, and as such, many teaching positions were filled hastily, and were often rushed. Those times feel so long ago now

Put simply, just because an NQT, cover supervisor or supply teacher has the minimum amount of experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be a great fit for the school. As with any teaching job application, recruiters should look beyond the skills, and think carefully about whether an applicant will gel well with the school’s ethos, values, aims and other teachers. Filling those teaching job positions quickly and hurriedly could mean you are recruiting for the same position again a short while later.

How can schools hone their shortlists down enough, to ensure they’re getting the right new teaching staff right away?

Teaching Agency Jobs in 2020

Considering the impact that COVID-19 has had on children, applicants and institutions across the UK, the country has by no means overcome the education recruitment shortage. If anything, the shortage has only worsened due to the increased redundancies schools have had to force because of the pandemic. 

While current teaching staff and school leaders have had a nerve-racking and difficult few months, it’s fair to say that aspiring teaching assistants, NQTs and supply teaching staffhave also been feeling tense and worried about September 2020. With the mandatory return to education, this has only compounded an already-prevalent issue of teacher shortages. The difference being now, many people could be ambivalent about starting a new job working as a teacher

With all of the above in mind, it’s important for schools to ensure that they play their part in making the 2020-2021 academic year as smooth and worry-free as possible. By no means will it be easy but these are uncertain times for anyone associated with the education system.

While schools narrow down the most suitable teachers for their available roles, here are some questions they should ask themselves.

Questions to Ask Those Applying for Teaching Jobs

  1. Is this the right school for them?

    No one school is the same as the next; there are always going to be prevalent problems and issues that staff will face. If you are recruiting for teaching positions, you need to decide whether candidates can measure up to those potential issues. These issues could be concerning parent bodies, safeguarding, behaviour and much more. By talking with applicants you need to get an honest answer about how they feel about such obstacles.

  2. Do they seem prepared for the COVID-related challenges ahead?

    Speaking of which, the types of issues all schools will be forced to face will be different to usual, given that we are still currently living through a nationwide pandemic. From social distancing protocols to minimising contact with others, it’s going to be challenging and different every day. These are exceptional circumstances to the norms, but you need to ensure applicants are unconditionally prepared to deal with these new measures.
  3. Do they match our school culture and ethos?

    Staff who are in alignment and agreement with your school aims, values and who will enhance your culture are worth your consideration. Teaching job covering letters are good places to spot these signs.
  4. Do they have the right teaching experience?

    Down the line, it’s worth taking a look at your initial teaching job criteria and see whether a candidate measures up, or exceeds it. Remind yourself of what you wanted, and use your judgement on each job application.

Get Help from an Education Recruitment Agency

Always Flourishing are continuing to source teaching candidates for UK schools (primary, secondary, SEND, nurseries and more) and want to support schools across the Thames Valley with any of their teacher recruitment concerns. Our mission is putting the right staff in the right teaching jobs straight away, and we can do the same for you.

You can read more about our School Partnership Agreements.

Register a vacancy today or give us a call to see how we can help.

Can you Apply for Teaching Agency Jobs during COVID-19?

  • Category: Miscellaneous

COVID-19 Update for Teachers

The coronavirus pandemic has put an unprecedented and overwhelming strain on the education system. Back in March 2020, when the lockdown was imposed, schools were forced to close, and many were forced to turn to remote teaching. This left many full-time and supply teachers, teaching assistants and almost anybody who worked in a school, in a permanent state of confusion, uncertainty and confliction. 

As of 1st June 2020, schools gradually began reopening to pupils and students in phases. The government has now said that schools will now be allowed to move teachers between ‘bubble’ groups when all children return from September. 

These bubbles will need to be substantial enough so that schools can deliver a full range of subjects to students, particularly for older children in secondary schools. What’s more, teachers who work in a primary school, secondary school or other educational institution, will be allowed to move across different classes and year groups.


Are Teaching Agency Jobs Still Available?

The sudden closure of schools, coupled with the developing reopening procedures and social distancing protocols that schools will be implementing come September, has only fuelled the uncertainty for anyone currently working as a teacher. Not to mention those who are looking for new teaching vacancies or opportunities to become a supply teacher, for example. Recent developments might have made the teaching recruitment landscape look different this year, but Always Flourishing are here to answer any questions and offer our hand in support during this tumultuous time.

There are still teaching agency jobs out there. Some schools will be needing additional support when September rolls around, not only to cope with new measures, but to provide added support to those children whose learning has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools will need to hire teachers urgently over the next few weeks.

It’s important not to let the worldwide pandemic put a damper on your aspirations to apply for teaching agency work. Whether it’s as a supply teaching assistant or a cover supervisor, all staff are vital to the success of a school, and many schools will need help when term begins.

The right teaching jobs are still out there, and Always Flourishing are here to help you land those. No matter the current circumstances, our ethos hasn’t changed. Our mission is to help you get into teaching by landing that perfect school job, so here are some tips to help you get started through this challenging time.


Tips to Apply for Teaching Jobs

  1. Get an idea of schools in your area - whether you’re looking for full or part-time teaching jobs, you can’t currently visit schools on-site. You can, however, brush up on your knowledge to find out the types of schools looking to recruit.
  2. Arrange chats with the schools - in light of point 1, and now that schools are closed for the summer holidays, it’s difficult to get a feel for a school without being there. It helps to speak to as many members of staff as possible, particularly the main contact on a teacher job advertisement.
  3. Do a little investigation - it will pay dividends to gather as much information as you can, to make an informed decision on where to apply to teach. Find out what the schools’ environments are like, how they respond to behaviour, what their values are, read their website and materials to get a good flavour of what school life is like.
  4. Compare Ofsted reports - you can also read a school’s most recent and previous Ofsted reports, and compare it to that of other neighbouring schools. This is handy if you’re moving to a different area to apply for a teaching role.
  5. Ask questions - as a general rule of thumb, ask as many questions as you need to. If you’re feeling uncertain about anything, it doesn’t hurt to ask the school any questions concerning a teaching job application, or the current education landscape; they’re probably feeling uncertain too. If you have questions about teaching recruitment in any capacity, then we are also happy to speak to you.


Other Advice for Teachers

Rule number one here is to have patience. When you eventually land that online interview, treat it like any other teaching job interview. You should:

  • Be prepared
  • Stay focused
  • Retain eye contact
  • Avoid interruptions
  • Dress properly
  • Be friendly

Read our article on advice for NQTs for more detailed information.

Speak to a Teaching Recruitment Agency who can Help

For any advice on teaching agency work, contact Always Flourishing. We know this is a particularly challenging time for many who are in the process of applying for teaching jobs. Our experience stems from hands-on teaching experience and we will help you weather this storm.

Schools Using Supply Teaching Agencies (COVID-19 Update)

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Education Recruitment Agencies and COVID-19

Teaching recruitment agencies, specifically supply teaching agencies, are essential to the smooth running of schools across the UK. Many teaching agencies are responsible for providing candidates - on a permanent, supply or leadership basis - for a variety of teaching jobs in different schools. Supply teaching recruitment agencies are often tasked with finding day-to-day replacements or short-term cover for teacher absences, but frequently fill longer-term vacancies too.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has implemented strict procedures and protocols for schools to adhere to. Since the nationwide lockdown was enforced, and now that recent measures to ease lockdown have been announced, it doesn’t change the fact that many schools are still facing a problem. The economic and social difficulties caused by COVID-19 are likely to persist over the next several months and beyond.

The well-known ‘teacher crisis’ is another ongoing issue for the whole education industry. Education recruitment agencies are often relied on by institutions to ‘bridge the gap’; fewer people are looking to get into teaching than the Department of Education estimates are necessary to meet current and future needs. The growing demands on schools don’t help things either. So it begs the question, can schools continue to recruit teaching and support staff during the coronavirus pandemic?

Can Schools Continue Using Supply Teaching Agencies?

The short answer is yes, they can. It’s vital to ensure schools are fully prepared in terms of staff numbers. Therefore, education recruitment is arguably more important than ever and should continue where necessary and in a practical manner, provided that social distancing and protection measures are adhered to.

Social distancing protocols may mean that applying for teaching jobs may result in remote interviews, as opposed to face-to-face interviews. Schools are being entrusted by the Government to ensure they are implementing the correct procedures. Any currently employed supply teachers or supply teaching assistants should continue to support the education of pupils and offer further assistance to schools where possible.

Should Schools be Using Supply or Temporary Workers?

Schools are advised to refer to all parts of the Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 02/20,which sets out approaches and guidance, on ensuring service continues during and after COVID-19. If schools currently have teaching agency workers on live assignments, who are able to continue working as a supply teacher, they may continue to make previously-agreed payments for these workers. Schools should follow the guidelines carefully to ensure that all staff are being paid accordingly.

For candidates not currently on live assignments, or where jobs had to be abruptly paused due to COVID-19, schools should discuss any further demand for the staff. If no such demand is needed, the employers can furlough workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

Where supply teachers are still required and are continuing to work during coronavirus, they should be paid in the usual way. It depends on whether the teacher is paid directly via the school, or via the agency. 

Using Supply Teaching Agencies over In-House Recruitment

Schools are frequently stretched to effectively screen candidates, even in a pre-lockdown environment. Teaching job agencies alleviate much of the pressure on schools, taking on the responsibility of ensuring that the most suitable candidates are put forward for available teaching vacancies

It could be that some aspiring applicants oversell themselves on their CVs and don’t have the practical knowledge to back their words up. Or alternatively, they hold superb experience but can’t translate that effectively on paper for a teaching job application.

Other advantages of using education recruitment services:

  • It saves time and resources when hiring teachers.
  • An accredited teaching agency has strict vetting and registration procedures in place.
  • Some agencies offer ongoing support to partner schools, having built strong relationships.
  • Many recruitment agencies employ former teachers within their organisation (Always Flourishing is no exception to this).
  • Quality candidates often prefer teaching agency work to start with, due to the opportunities of career progression, and flexibility with supply teaching work.

Hiring Additional Supply Teachers or Support Workers

Schools will continue to receive their budgets, regardless of any periods of partial or full closure. This means they should be able to pay their staff as usual, and the Government doesn’t anticipate any additional funding is required to manage the costs of hiring new supply teachers.

Here at Always Flourishing, we understand that it is a concerning, uncertain and distressing time for many people. However, we want to ensure everyone that we are monitoring everything carefully, and are available to answer any questions you may have regarding working in education at this present time. Please call us if you have any queries whatsoever.

Choosing the Right Supply Teaching Agency

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Joining a Supply Teaching Agency

Supply teachers all over the country are finding themselves enjoying this field of work throughout their careers. Compared to securing a permanent teaching role within a school, many people are looking for ways of how to become a supply teacher.

Perhaps the benefits of supply teaching are what makes it attractive to many people, such as the sense of autonomy, flexibility and variety that a supply teacher gets. There is so much information and advice out there, on routes into the profession.

One of the most popular routes is to sign up to supply teaching agencies.

Although joining one isn’t a requirement, many aspiring teachers couldn’t imagine finding a role without the help of an agency. If you’re new to the position, perhaps starting as a teaching assistant, you may find that an education recruitment agency that specialises in finding flexible work in a variety of different schools, is what you need.

The trick to making a teaching recruitment agency work for you, is to consider all your options and choose the right one based on your goals, aspirations and career prospects. The staff here at Always Flourishing have been in your shoes many times before. So to make it easier, we’ve written a small guide that will help you find the perfect agency, as you begin your search for supply teaching jobs.

What to Look for in Supply Teaching Agencies

1.       Locality

An excellent place to start is to check for local teaching agencies, and check out what their current candidates and clients are saying about them. Whether you’re looking for a fresh start or a new career, it helps to find a local teaching recruitment agency that can help you find work across many local schools. If you’re based in the Thames Valley and the surrounding area, consider Always Flourishing.

2.       The schools they work with

As an aspiring or experienced supply teacher, or cover supervisor, you’re the best person to decide the types of schools you feel you would work best in. Before signing up with an education agency, check they work with the schools you’re looking for, as it can make the recruitment process more straightforward.

Always Flourishing have built excellent relationships with numerous partner schools looking to recruit teachers. We receive multiple requests from our partner schools, requesting supply teaching assistants and teachers to cover short and long-term absences.

3.       Sectors and services they provide 

While you may be looking to fill supply teaching vacancies, it is worth paying attention to the sectors that your agency covers. Supply teaching can be a great route into full-time teaching (if that’s what you want), which can be a tremendous option if you find a teaching position in a school that you love. But failing that, you have a variety of sectors to gain valuable experience in, and find out what works best for you.

Always Flourishing help schools recruit teachers for:

Not only that, but we also recruit for a wide range of full-time teaching roles and leadership positions across these sectors.

4.       Experience and training

The best teaching agencies will be staffed by recruitment consultants who are former teachers themselves. Consultants who have experience as teachers can offer valuable supply teaching advice and insight, which helps when discussing placements. It also enables you to develop a relationship with your consultant, which is similarly important.

5.       Safeguarding

Safeguarding and vetting are critical areas for schools, but they are also essential for education recruitment agencies too. Their safeguarding measures can give you a good indication of how reputable your agency is.

You can read more about Always Flourishing’s stringent vetting standards and safeguarding here.

6.       Professional career development 

Working with a supply education agency can help with personal and professional development as you get further into your teaching career. Great agencies provide you with guided support and training, help you find work, and push you to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Ready to Apply for Supply Teaching Jobs?

If you’re ready to begin applying for supply teaching vacancies, then register with Always Flourishing today.

Need more advice? Here are some other reference articles which you may find useful:

Alternatively, feel free to give us a call today if you have any questions about supply teaching roles. We’d love to speak to you.

Can you get into Teaching Without a Degree?

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Graduate Teacher Roles

Teaching agency jobs, for the most part, require candidates to be qualified teachers, which require that the applicant holds Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This means they are authorised and eligible to teach in any school in England. Whether it’s working as a supply teacher or in a permanent teaching position, holding QTS will ensure you are more likely to land these types of teaching roles. However, there are some schools which employ teaching staff who don’t have a recognised teaching qualification.

Unqualified Teacher Roles

It is possible to secure part-time, flexible and full-time teaching positions without spending three years at university. Achieving QTS doesn’t necessarily mean completing a university course.

The question is, how do you land teaching positions without a degree? If you want to land an independent school job, you can apply for teaching jobs online, without any teaching qualifications. If you’re lucky enough to secure a role, you can then undergo on-the-job training.  There are opportunities to work in education in non-graduate positions,such as cover supervisors or teaching assistant roles. There are options for both graduates and non-graduates to work in nurseriesSEND schools and much more. That’s where a teaching recruitment agencylike Always Flourishing can help. Below are some other education jobs you can apply for without a degree:

  • Nursery assistant (read more about working in a nursery)
  • School administrator
  • Finance assistant
  • Education support worker
  • Sports coach
  • Invigilator
  • ICT technician

Can I Teach Withouta Degree?

To achieve QTS, you must have an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. QTS is required for the majority of teaching positions in schools across the UK, and is a necessity for teaching in state schools. If you don’t have QTS, you may be able to land some potential teaching jobs.

Did you know?

  • Private schools are not required by law, to hire qualified teachers. While unlikely, they could recruit teachers who have no recognised graduate certificate.
  • Many independent, freeschools and academies are permitted to hire teaching staff without QTS.

If you want to work as a teacher, the main takeaway here is that you cannot become a recognised teacher without QTS.  However, if you are an undergraduate, or hold a degree in a subject that’s different to what you want to teach, there are various options to help you become a qualified teacher. Deciding on the best route for you will depend on your circumstances. 

Qualify to Land Teaching Jobs

  1. Schools Direct Training

This will allow you to do on-the-job teacher training. Your requirements are:

  • An undergraduate degree*
  • GCSEs (grade C or above) in English and Maths (as well as Science if teaching in primary schools
  • Successful completion of numeracy and literacy skills tests
  • Other school-specific requirements

*Your degree must be an honours degree totalling 360 credits for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) routes, and should match at least 50% of the subject you want to teach (if training to work in secondary schools).

  1. Postgraduate Certification in Education (PGCE)

A PGCE is an internationally-recognised qualification. You have the option to:

  • Apply to Higher Education Institutions for PGCE courses
  • Apply for teaching positions directly with a school, and achieve your PGCE while working on the job.

It’s worth reinforcing the point thatsome PGCEs do not lead to QTS. However, you can have QTS without a PGCE.

  1. Assessment-Only Route

The assessment route is available for graduates who have taught unqualified for several years, in multiple schools. This can involve teaching in private schools or teaching overseas. Your chosen school will work with ITT providers to carry out the assessment. This option is preferable for some experienced unqualified teachers, who haven’t taken a teacher training course. However, this is not an option for those who have left a school position.

Other Teaching Options

If you are unsure that traditional undergraduate study is the best option for you, and you would rather start working and earning, you could consider:

  • Foundation degrees – these can be taken on a part-time basis over several years. When combined with working as a teaching assistant, giving you some added experience. 
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language– you may be able to find work abroad without having a teaching degree or qualification.

Apply for Teaching Agency Jobs

Education recruitment agencies like Always Flourishing, recruit staff for various types of teaching agency jobs. We help candidates land teaching roles in schools across the Thames Valley, and we also act as the recruitment agents for numerous partner schools in and around the Home Counties. Please also refer to our blog post about what schools look for in NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers), and teaching remotely, which is proving the norms during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions about applying for teaching jobsgive us a call today. 

Questions to Ask your Education Recruitment Agency

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Why use Education Recruitment Agencies?

Teaching recruitment agencies play a pivotal role in securing aspiring and experienced teachers jobs all across the education sector. Whether you are applying for your first teaching job as a supply teacher, teaching assistant or a full-time permanent teaching position, no matter your level of experience, you may need the help of an education recruitment agency.

They have the distinction of working with numerous schools looking to hire across the sector, having built up trusted relationships with them over the years. This can work in your favour, as many schools have sought help from permanent and supply teaching agencies to handle their recruitment. This can be much more comfortable and less stressful for candidates, rather than applying for teaching jobs directly via a school.

Here at Always Flourishing, we recruit candidates for schools that need secondary teachers and primary school teachers, as well as roles in the SEND sector, nurseries and even independent schools.

With many teaching agencies to choose from, how can you be sure you’re selecting the right one to source the right candidates for you? And if you’re an applicant, how do you know you’re using the right education recruitment agencies to find your perfect teaching role? Whether you’ve successfully landed teaching assistant roles or private school jobs in the past, or you’ve never used an education agency before, Always Flourishing’s list of questions can help you know your recruitment agency will be the right fit.

5 Questions to Ask your Teaching Jobs Agency

  1. How easy is it to move from supply to permanent teaching jobs?

    If you’re just starting your teaching career, supply teaching roles can provide fantastic opportunities to gain experience, build connections and experience first-hand how to apply yourself in various types of schools. It’s the same with teaching assistant positions. Once you start working as a supply teacher, it can be much easier to move to permanent roles. Always Flourishing have helped numerous supply teaching assistants transition to full-time positions in schools.

  2. How can I ensure I’m covered financially during the holidays if I’m a supply teacher?

    To receive holiday and sick pay, you must hold a permanent teaching position. Unfortunately working in supply teaching or short-term contracts you don’t receive holidays or sick leave. It can be stressful, so it’s worth considering whether becoming a supply teacher is something you want to do. However, supply work offers other benefits that permanent roles don’t.

  3. Will I receive support from my teachingeducation recruitment agency?

    Registered candidates at Always Flourishing will receive genuinely bespoke recruitment services that take the stress away from applying for jobs. We offer our candidates a vast variety of placement opportunities, ranging from daily supply work to long-term placements, and even part-time and full-time assignments to meet your needs. We also offer professional development courses, teaching interview technique services, coaching and wellbeing services. See our Added Value page for more info.

  4. Why should I choose Always Flourishing?

    Here at Always Flourishing, we believe that teacher and student wellbeing are at the heart of our service. We believe that education professionals should be nurtured as pupils are, and our mission is to bring wellbeing to education recruitment, helping to create environments where teachers enjoy what they do, and children love learning. We believe in shared value, and we want our clients to see us as their trusted agency, and candidates to see us as their personal mentors.

  5. How can you ensure I’m able to land a teaching job that will suit me?

    It’s easy to feel lost when registering with an education recruitment agency. We’re all looking for something different, and teaching, as its widely documented, is a tough profession. Always Flourishing want our candidates to enjoy teaching careers where you are rewarded for your efforts, rather than make you feel overworked and stressed. Our approach is simple, and one vital step is preparing you for success, based on a series of conversations to identify that perfect role for you.

Ready to Apply for Teaching Jobs?

Register with Always Flourishing today. Browse our current job vacancies page too. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Why Choose Permanent Teaching over Supply Teaching?

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Becoming a supply teacher certainly has its perks. Personal commitments, lifestyles and willingness to experience different teaching situations are just some of the many advantages of supply teaching. Having said that, for many people on the hunt for permanent teaching jobs, they prefer the prospect of having full-time employment.

Both permanent and supply teaching jobs have their own advantages and disadvantages. Still, we're going to give you some reasons as to why applying for a permanent teaching job can pay dividends. Everybody is different, and as far as Always Flourishing are concerned, we are an education recruitment agency, that is committed to recruiting the right candidates for the right schools and vice versa. Whether you are looking for teaching assistant jobs or leadership positions, or anything in between, we can help you.

Firstly, let's look at what precisely separates supply and permanent.

Supply Teaching vs Permanent Teaching

Many schools who are looking to recruit teachers, often rely on supply teachers or supply teaching assistants to step in flexibly, when a permanent member of staff is absent. For many newly qualified teachers (NQTs), they are happy that they can rely on supply teaching agencies to secure them work as and when it is convenient for them. For others, supply work is seen as a stepping stone into securing a full-time teaching position.

While it's not uncommon to make the transition between flexible to full-time, it often comes as a surprise to many that the teaching responsibilities are not too dissimilar, whether you are working as a permanent teacher or a supply one. The commitment that's expected of both supply and permanent teachers involves everything from day-to-day lesson planning that meet learning objectives, to assessing and marking work completed by students.

The main difference between permanent and supply teachers is the amount of time they have in contact with their pupils.

Supply teachers have the challenge of continuously adapting their teaching methods to meet different requirements in schools, different class sizes, age groups and student expectations as well. While this is not necessarily a drawback to supply teaching, it goes without saying that a week teaching in a private school is going to be drastically different than securing some time working in a nursery.

The idea of having a focused subject, school surrounding, location and familiar faces is more preferable to some. That's where permanent teaching positions differ.

Why Make the Transition to Permanent Teaching?

We have explored, at length, whether working as a supply teacher is beneficial. We understand that many people prefer the flexibility and sense of autonomy without being obligated to one particular school or class. The freedom of choosing when you work, allowing you time for your other commitments is ideal for some. There are many different reasons why supply teaching works for so many people, which you can read more about here.

Becoming a full-time teacher poses an alternative that many experienced supply teachers can relate to. Work is often regular, but not always guaranteed. Supply staff can sometimes go weeks without any work, which undoubtedly has a knock-on effect.

Supply positions are inconsistent in their nature, meaning that teachers frequently find themselves commuting longer distances than usual. Continually adapting to unfamiliar surroundings and new faces regularly can be stressful, often meaning that teachers lose sight of their primary reason to get into the field in the first place. That reason is to help students learn, grow and progress.

The more people you meet across your places of work, the higher your chances of making a phenomenal impression with your commitment, dedication and passion. This is why supply teaching roles often lead to permanent ones, offering NQTs the opportunity to gain valuable experience and earn money before stepping into a full-time position.

Permanent teachers are also entitled to other luxuries that supply workers are not legally eligible for.

Advantages of Permanent Teaching Jobs

  • Holiday and sick pay – it goes without saying that the holidays are a huge benefit to teaching full-time. Being entitled to a full pay packet during the holidays, as well as receiving SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) and SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) are all things which supply teachers, unfortunately, do not receive.
  • Job security – working as a permanent teacher will, as the name suggests, give you a permanent contract of employment. You won't be at risk of having the contract ended with immediate effect, nor will you have to worry about inconsistent income.
  • Pension scheme – permanent roles will also come with Teachers Pension enrolment, which is an attractive benefit in itself, compared to other pension schemes.
  • Training and development – working in a permanent teaching role might open the door to other opportunities where you can further your training and career development. Supporting your progress is something that many schools and recruiters embrace, as part of your long-term plans.

Looking for a Teaching Job?

If you are currently employed as a supply teacher, that already puts you in a good position for securing a permanent teaching vacancy. However, if you're not sure which one is right for you, or whether you need help getting into teaching, then reach out to Always Flourishing. We help recruit aspiring candidates for both permanent and supply work, across schools in and around the Thames Valley and surrounding areas.

We go above and beyond for any candidates who register with us, and offer guided assistance throughout your job hunt. Please give us a call today to see how we can help.

Is Supply Teaching a Good Option?

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Reasons to Consider Supply Teaching

Getting into supply teaching is ideal for people who want to have a good balance between their work and home lives. When it comes to committing to teaching job opportunities that allow plenty of opportunities to follow your interests outside the classroom, while also giving you the chance to experience working in different schools (from private schools to schools in the SEND sector), then you may want to consider supply teaching.

Supply teaching agencies are faced with the growing demand for supply teachers by many local schools, and as far as we are concerned, there are plenty of schools in the Home Counties and Thames Valley that are constantly on the lookout for supply teaching staff. If you are still unsure about what teaching career opportunities to throw yourself into, you may wish to read on. A supply teaching position might just be that first step you need to take before settling on a full-time, permanent teaching career, and this blog will outline many of the advantages.

For your reference, here are 5 key tips for becoming a supply teacher.

Benefits of Becoming a Supply Teacher

  1. Flexibility – one of the key advantages of supply teaching is that you don't have to plan your holidays to fit within the school calendar, like most teachers. This is beneficial for those who prefer to avoid the peak travel prices and crowds, but supply teaching work offers more flexibility than just holidays. Given that you don't have the same commitments as you would if you had secured a permanent teaching job, you could always take that long weekend break, or take an extra couple of weeks off in September when there is less demand for supply teachers.
  2. Variety – you can often find teachers who have stayed in the same school for years. Some will have had the same position for the whole of their teaching careers. While some people prefer the aspect of job security and a familiar environment, it's sometimes more preferable and exciting for supply teachers to experience a wide variety of schools.
  3. Freedom – working as a supply teacher gives you a sense of autonomy in comparison to other teaching job positions. It's not unheard of how much work is involved outside the classroom for teachers, not to mention the hours they put in outside of school hours for lesson planning, paperwork, meetings, assessments and more. Supply work can alleviate much of the pressures of these arduous tasks, as well as relieve people from a competitive working environment. Speaking of freedom, working in supply teaching can open up certain opportunities across the country, which is handy if you are considering moving to a new area and want some flexible work before making a big commitment. Not just that, but if you decide to take time away from teaching, supply teaching opportunities are worth considering if you want an easy and flexible route back into the profession.
  4. Experience – supply work allows you the chance to experience working with various different teachers in a wide variety of education settings. You can judge for yourself how effective their teaching methods are, how they plan, assess their pupils and help their development. You'll also learn what not to do as it pertains to future supply teaching job opportunities. Supply teaching agencies are great resources to have if you are considering getting some more experience and added value for your teaching.
  5. Earn as you learnregistering with a teaching recruitment agency can open up doors for apprenticeships and courses that you can take while working in a school. Many schools are happy to accommodate supply teachers who are studying whilst they work, as that gives them the impression that you are potentially considering long-term, permanent teaching roles.

Looking for a Supply Teaching Agency?

Supply teaching work is much like if you were test driving a new car, or going through a trial run of a new product. It gives you plenty of opportunities to test the waters of teaching as a career option, freeing you from many of the hardships that go hand-in-hand with being a full-time teacher.

It goes without saying that being a substitute teacher is preferable for some candidates, regardless of which stage they are at in their careers. It's also helpful that hiring supply teachers on a flexible basis is something that many schools across the Thames Valley prefer to do. Therefore, supply teaching might just be the perfect choice for you at this juncture.

Always Flourishing offer a wide variety of supply teaching positions throughout the Home Counties and surrounding area. We specialise in recruiting and placing teachers of all experience levels, such as teaching assistants, headteachers and much more. We can place teachers in primary schools, secondary schools and even nurseries. We adopt a very personable approach to our candidates and partner schools, ensuring they receive the most transparent and thorough support possible.

Schools are always on the lookout for support staff to cover open vacancies, full-time teachers currently on maternity leave, as well as those who are temporarily absent, or on sabbatical. We can offer daily supply teaching opportunities (which can involve anything from one day to a few weeks' work) or long-term supply teaching positions which are preferred for candidates looking for guaranteed work with the same employer for a while.

For more advice, please register for supply teaching, or get in touch with us. We are more than happy to help.

What you Need to Work in a Nursery

  • Category: Miscellaneous

What you Need to Work in a Nursery

Nurseries cater and care for children aged between 3 and 5 years. Nurseries offer early years education and childcare before children step into 'big school'.

Nurseries are often organised around whichever age they are catering for, with age groups typically being split into different rooms. Each room will have a lead staff member, with many supporting teaching staff balancing duties in various classes. Although it is expected that the staff team will usually remain with the same children in a particular age group.

Working in a nursery requires energy, patience and a sense of imagination at the most basic level. Getting a nursery teaching job is possible without any specific childcare requirements, though be advised that most educational settings will recognise that qualifications pay dividends in the long-term. More qualified teaching staff can offer a higher standard of children's learning, and so it is worth considering your options before you begin searching for a nursery role.

Always Flourishing is an experienced and forward-thinking nursery recruitment agency, having recruited a huge range of nursery staff across the Thames Valley and surrounding area. We recognise that working in nurseries is something many of our candidates search for, and our clients are often in high demand for nursery workers. Here is a guide to help you understand the profession a little better, and give you some valuable insight before searching for nursery vacancies.

How to Work in a Nursery

To become a nursery assistant, it's expected that you hold are comfortable in numeracy and literacy at some level. Having GCSEs in Maths and English (or the equivalent) is expected, and a good start. As far as becoming a nursery assistant goes, there are no set entry requirements for this, however, you may want to consider the following if you are getting into teaching at a nursery and growing your career.

Nursery job positions that require a higher level of responsibility in and outside the classroom, such as a nursery nurse, you'll need a recognised professional qualification. Such as:

  • NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Child Care and Education
  • BTEC National Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development
  • NVQ Level 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development

If you are looking for work in a nursery, one thing that employers will be looking for is experience of childcare, either paid or voluntary. You can get valuable experience working in a local nursery as a volunteer or at after-school clubs.

Working as a nursery assistant is possible while training on the job, but as specified you will need to demonstrate that you have some familiarity with working with young children. While studying for professional childcare qualifications, many aspiring nursery workers take part in apprenticeship training roles, meaning they can earn while they learn. This is quite a common route for nursery assistants who are working to apply for teaching positions with a higher degree of responsibility.

Key Skills to Work in a Nursery

As you will be working with children, there are some skills and qualities you should demonstrate as any type of nursery worker. Below are just a few examples of what employers will be looking for:

  • Being patient, calm and understanding
  • Demonstrating assertiveness where necessary
  • The ability to listen effectively
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Sensitivity to every child's individual needs
  • Good organisational and observational skills
  • Willingness to work with parents, carers and teachers
  • Awareness of safeguarding and child protection
  • An interest in working with children
  • Flexibility within the role

Nursery assistants without a childcare qualification are encouraged to study for an NVQ, diploma or certificate of equivalent value. As stated, if you work as a nursery nurse or assistant, you may be offered the chance to study further.

What Nursery Roles can I Apply for?

Always Flourishing recruits for the following positions:

  • Nursery nurses
  • Early years practitioners
  • Early years teachers
  • Montessori trained nursery teachers
  • Deputy managers
  • Supervisors
  • Room leaders
  • Nursery managers

Why you Need a Nursery Recruitment Agency

We focus on providing nurseries and early years childcare institutions with a very high standard of childcare professionals. We offer nursery job opportunities all across the Thames Valley and Home Counties. We'd highly recommend using nursery recruitment agencies if you're set on growing your career in the education sector.

Register with Always Flourishing today! You can take a look at all available nursery job vacancies as well. We offer positions on a supply, permanent or leadership basis.

Our mission is to put staff and student wellbeing at the heart of our service. Registered candidates will receive complementary added value services, which include professional teaching development courses, interview technique guidance, coaching, career mentoring and teacher wellbeing services.

If you have any further questions, please contact us to see how we can help.

How to Become a Teaching Assistant

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Teaching Assistant Role

Teaching assistants provide learning support to children, both inside and outside the classroom. Teaching assistant roles vary across the sector, and an applicant’s responsibilities can depend on a number of factors, such as the age of the children and the type of school they’re applying for. Considering the role itself has become more frequently sought after by schools since the 2000s, nowadays teaching assistant jobs are considered vital to many establishments across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas.

Teaching Assistant Responsibilities

On a basic level, if you are intent on becoming a teaching assistant, you can expect to:

  • Prepare the classroom for lessons
  • Supervise group activities
  • Clear away equipment and materials once lessons end
  • Provide one-to-one support to children to complete tasks
  • Tending to children who have had accidents or who are in distress
  • Do plenty of administration and planning
  • Help with activities outside the classroom as well

In some schools, there could be specialisms, such as numeracy, literacy or special educational needs (SEN) to bear in mind. Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) have additional responsibilities, which can include leading classes under teachers’ directions, plan lessons and work alongside others to support learning activities. There are plenty of routes jobseekers can take to getting started as a TA, and by extension, progressing into a role with added responsibilities and expectations. We’ve outlined many of them here.


Teaching Assistant Qualifications

You do not need a degree to become a teaching assistant, with many schools taking on inexperienced or unqualified TAs, providing ‘on-the-job’ training. Every school will have different expectations and requirements for positions they are hiring for. You can usually get a good idea of what is needed for a position by looking at locally advertised jobs.

Most paid teaching assistant roles will require GCSEs in English and Mathematics, or a qualification of equivalent value. Previous qualifications in the following areas can be useful in finding a TA position:

  • Nursery work
  • Youth work
  • Childcare

If you can show employers that you possess the right qualities of being a teacher, they may well take you on. But there are other routes you can take.

Routes to Becoming a Qualified Teaching Assistant

  • On the job training – some will find teaching assistant positions straight away, and then undertake training as a part of their new teaching job. Some schools rely on their in-house training to bring their TAs to handle a diverse range of behavioural challenges and specific learning needs. NVQ qualifications are examples of competence-based qualifications that can be taken if you want to progress beyond entry level (TA1).
  • Distance learning – taking online teaching assistant courses allow you to gain some vital qualifications at home, at your own pace, without having to give up any other commitments.
  • Apprenticeships – becoming a SEN teaching assistant does not require any formal qualifications as such; it’s the same as if you were applying for TA positions in any other sector. However, you can still get into SEN teaching through a teaching assistant advanced apprenticeship, or apprenticeships in childcare or supporting teaching and learning in schools (at either intermediate or advanced levels).
  • College/University – accredited TA qualifications are offered by several colleges and universities, with most of them taking up to 12 months to finish. These often take place during evenings or outside of the average working day.
  • Knowledge-based courses – Level 2 and 3 Awards (you can read more on that here) can be completed before you enter any position. What’s more, you can enhance your knowledge by studying these while you are already working as a teaching assistant.
  • Work Experience – volunteering as a teaching assistant can increase your chances of securing a permanent TA position. You can usually find good work experience options by reaching out to schools, nurseries and colleges directly. However, gaining TA work experience is possible in other educational settings like pupil referral units (PRUs) or informal education settings, where there is no structured curriculum to adhere to.

Teaching Assistant Recruitment Agency

In many ways, working as a TA is one of the most important positions someone can have in a school. Working side by side with teachers in the classroom is arguably as vital as the role of the teacher itself, certainly in terms of creating a supportive learning environment for children. The added support and input from TAs can be a massive help to teachers, who already have a seemingly-never-ending list of responsibilities. In addition to this, becoming a TA is ideal for people who want to get started into working in education, either on a flexible basis or not.

Specialist education recruitment agencies (like us here at Always Flourishing) have a huge amount of inside knowledge about working as teachers, having had real-life experience in the field. Supply teaching agencies can provide insight and information as it pertains to nursery education, primary, secondary and independent education and deliver valuable resources, assistance and guided support to aspiring jobseekers. For example, we have recently written guides about working as a supply teacher and also working in private schools.

We also have access to permanent, supply and leadership positions that may not be directly advertised on standard job websites.

Applicants who have done plenty of research on what to expect as a teaching assistant, while considering all routes of gaining experience and potential qualifications, will be safe in the hands of Always Flourishing. Register now, or get in touch with us if you have any queries.

Teaching in Private Schools

  • Category: Miscellaneous
Group of students listening to teacher

Private Schools Explained

Compared to state schools, private schools are not funded by the school’s local authority. In the UK, private school funding comes from tuition fees paid by parents and donors, rather than state schools, which receive subsidies that are distributed from the government. Private schools are any schools that are not financed by the state, including:

  • Independent schools – the terms ‘independent’ and ‘private’ are often used interchangeably. Independent schools are overseen by a board of trustees or governors, while private schools do not necessarily have a governing body.
  • Public schools – this type of school traditionally refers to 7 private boarding schools that were granted independence from the Crown (including Eton College and Westminster School). These days, the term ‘public school’ generally refers to any fee-charging private school for students aged 13 to 18, with most public schools accepting day pupils as well.
  • Prep schools – this school is a fee-charging independent primary school that caters for children up to the age of 13. They prepare pupils for entry into private secondary schools via Common Entrance examinations taken in Year 8.
  • Pre-prep schools – these schools take children up to age 7

There are various private schools catering for all age groups, and the fees vary across the country. There is much to gain from teaching in private schools in the UK. Let’s take a look at how they might benefit you in your search for a new teaching job.

Why Teach in a Private School?

Becoming a teacher in a private school gives you a huge amount of experience of working in diverse school environments, with different traditions and ethos’. Private school jobs are more varied as it pertains to several factors:

  • Class sizes – private school class sizes tend to be smaller than in most state schools. This is a preferred option for many fee-paying parents as they often like the idea of teachers spending more individual time with pupils to assist their learning and development. This is also great for teachers, who can obtain a higher level of control with smaller class sizes.
  • Extra-curricular – if you can demonstrate effective skills and abilities within one or more school extra-curricular activities, it may help with any job application. Offering something beyond the teaching curriculum might be preferable to some schools who value this facet as much as (or more than) the classroom work. That’s not to say this is a must-have, as no hire will be made based on this factor alone. For many it’s the appeal of what’s beyond the classroom that makes teaching in private schools a popular career choice.
  • Working hours and pay – there are no fixed pay scales within the private sector, and private school teachers can expect this to vary between schools. In some cases, pay from private schools might be lower than public schools on average. However, there are other benefits to consider, such as housing allowance or reduced fees for teachers’ children or even subsidised accommodation if you are working in a public school. When comparing the pay and working hours in both private and state schools in the UK, you should not expect too much of a disparity. 
  • Curriculum – private schools do not have to follow the UK national curriculum. While they have this freedom and added flexibility with teaching, these schools are still inspected regularly by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) to ensure standards are being kept as it pertains to the curriculum.

Benefits of Working in a Private School

Working in private schools is in high demand across the country for multiple reasons. Here are some of them:

  • You have a good opportunity to progress in teaching specialist subjects to a high level.
  • Often, there is a culture of valuing and respecting teachers within a private school.
  • Smaller class sizes allow you to give more attention to individual pupils.
  • Many private and prep schools have a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
  • Many private and independent schools offer an enhanced level of pastoral care.
  • You have more flexibility and freedom within your role, and the school as a whole.
  • There is a strong commitment to continued professional development throughout your teaching career.

Private School Teaching Jobs 

We recruit teachers who are wanting to work in the private sector across the Home Counties. Our team is comprised of highly experienced education recruitment specialists who are committed to find the perfect private school teaching opportunity for every candidate who registers with us.

Always Flourishing are proud to support a huge range of private schools in Berkshire and extending to Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Hampshire.

We don’t just work with candidates looking for jobs in private education. We work with schools in the following sectors:

We aim to offer you anything from supply teaching positions to permanent and leadership roles. Upon securing a role with us, we will provide you with a dedicated consultant to support you every step of the way.

If you currently work in a private school, and are looking to fill a vacancy with a reliable and capable candidate, please visit this page. All of our consultants are committed to recommend candidates at all levels of the teaching profession, from supply teaching assistants all the way up to head teachers.

To begin searching for your next role, click here. Or alternatively, give us a call to see how we can help.

My Thoughts On Every Kid Needs A Champion

  • Category: Miscellaneous

You may have seen or heard the current stereotypes surrounding teachers in the media. For example, they teach for the long holidays, and they do not have to like the children in their care. These unflattering and over exaggerated thoughts couldn't be further from the truth. As a teacher myself, we go into the profession brimming with passion and a deep desire to make a difference to the education of impressionable young individuals.

This ideology led me to stumble upon Rita Pierson's highly inspirational Ted Talk 'Every Kid Needs A Champion'.

Rita's TED Talk is rooted in her extensive experience teaching underprivileged children but it's seasoned with her abundance of energy and humour making it such an engaging and powerful video to watch and learn from!

Rita's humorous speech focuses on the sheer importance and often under-valued, need to build lasting relationships with the children in your care. As a former teacher myself, I wholeheartedly agree with her viewpoints and I feel that in an increasingly results-driven, policy ruled world, education is losing the importance of making the classroom environment a place where children are happy and feel supported, no matter what their abilities are.

As many of us will have experienced in observations concerning the "learning environment", we seem to be wholly graded on displays and not on the true nature of what "learning environment" means. Rita's ideology on how to enforce positivity in any circumstance is a welcome change to the current circumstances of education and her simple tactics on this are something I would include in my own pedagogy.

Her talk re-affirmed my central educational beliefs and it was a delight to watch and listen to someone so enthusiastic and inspiring.

I was also rather saddened to learn that Rita, unfortunately, passed away in 2013. However, her perspective on the true value of education and relationship building is such a fantastic legacy to leave behind, along with the many students she inspired from the many wonderful years she spent in the classroom.

Her sensational Ted Talk is something I would recommend every teacher watch!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on Rita's Ted Talk so do let us know in the comments or by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Stories Straight From The Classroom

  • Category: Miscellaneous

To mark the end of National Story Telling Week, we asked a whole range of teachers and education professionals on what their most heartwarming, amusing and inspiring stories they have to tell. 


I had a student last year who would always walk into my classroom in the funniest way possible. He always brightened my morning. His face would always be beaming as I waited to see what creative way he invented to enter the room that day, making his performance all the more fun to watch. - Doug James

Triangle Maths EquipmentI was working with a bright seventh-grader on his take-home geometry work. One question asked for the perimeter of a diagrammed triangle, but only two sides of the triangle were labelled. He had no idea how to answer the question. It happened to be a right triangle, so I told him that while I was absolutely positive it wasn't the method his teacher intended him to use I could show him a way to find the missing side. We spent half an hour on the Pythagoras Theorem and he loved it. The next time I saw him I asked how he'd done. The teacher had given him full marks but was bewildered that my student had used an algebraic theorem to solve a simple addition problem. (They hadn't even covered exponents yet.) Apparently the class was supposed to find the length of the missing side of the triangle by... literally measuring it with a ruler. The student and I agreed our way was better. - Reddit User


Years ago, when I taught 5th and 6th grade, a girl came to me after Christmas with her brand new Sponge Bob watch on her wrist. "Miss," she said. "I think my watch is broken." She held out her wrist. "It says '8 S L'" "Here, sweetie," I responded as I unbuckled the buckle. "Let's put that on right-side up for you." - Jennelle Zarn


I taught English at a high school in Spain last year. We did a geography exercise where I would pronounce the English version of a country or body of water's name, and they would repeat it in unison. I came a across the Aegeon Sea, and I had no idea how to pronounce it. In my flustered confusion I tried, and said "AY-jeein sea... I think," and without hesitation everyone repeated "Aegean-Sea-I-Think." I lost it, and to this day I'm pretty sure they still don't know why. - Reddit User


Teacher and StudentOne of the most memorable inspiring stories I have to tell about one of my students was seeing them go from being a complete mute at the beginning of the year to a confident individual by the end of the year. It took a lot of motivation and grit and salt determination but the rewards was endless. A moral from this story would be don't be afraid to push your student out of their comfortable zone there is so much adventure and opportunities outside of their comfort zone - Miss G


If you've enjoyed our teacher stories for National Story Telling Week, please do follow our social network accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+

Ray Of Sunshine

  • Category: Miscellaneous

In the first of our blog posts for 'National Story Telling Week', SEN specialist teacher and therapist, Nicky Harvey relays her fond memories of a kind hearted student who flourished in an autism friendly environment. Nicky regularly shares inspiring anecdotes and teaching ideas on her blog 'The Journal Of Miss H'. You can also find Nicky on Facebook and Twitter.

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." James M Barrie

Ray Of Sunshine

It's that time of year when I reflect on the past few months and make changes for the new term. One person that sticks to mind is a 10 year old boy who I've renamed Ray for this article. Ray is a sensitive, artistic and kind hearted boy on the Autistic Spectrum. He joined my class towards the end of the Spring term at a busy time last year, but slotted in perfectly. Like many children with autism, he had experienced a great deal of upheaval in life because of his diagnosis.

Autism is a developmental condition affecting how a person perceives the world around autism3them. This can include difficulties with social interactions; expressing feelings; nonverbal and verbal communication with others. There are over 700,000 people living with autism in the UK, with 2.8 million people affected in some form by the condition, and the numbers are rising.

Ray was born in south-eastern Asia, to loving parents who were pleased to have a healthy happy baby boy. Ray's parents soon discovered he behaved differently compared to other children, but assumed he was a late developer. Upon reaching school age and starting at elementary school, Ray's parents received feedback with hints of his specific learning needs and behaviour traits. The school tried their best, but due to firmly rooted cultures and learning customs, they were unable to understand, teach or effectively communicate with Ray.

After originally leaving the UK for Thailand over 10 years ago, to start a new life in the sun, Ray's parents felt they had no choice but to pack up, close the family business and return to England. His family wanted Ray to receive the education, empathy and therapeutic support he was entitled to.

"Get to know someone on the autistic spectrum and your life will truly be blessed!" Stephanie L. Parker

Upon arrival in the UK, Ray was assessed and diagnosed as a child on the autistic spectrum and was given a Statement from his local authority detailing his academic, social and therapeutic needs. He also joined a local mainstream primary school which recruited a 1:1 learning support assistant to support Ray. At first, everything seemed great because on the surface, the school wanted to offer inclusive provision for Ray to access the curriculum and participate in school activities. However, in reality, within Ray's classroom and wider school environment, the understanding of autistic behaviours and his learning style were not there.1280-Are-You-Sort-Of-A-Loser-Dont-Worry-It-Means-Youre-Probably-Really-Creative.

In the end Ray was asked to spend most of his time away from his classroom to learn in a private room with his 1:1. He would spend around 80% of his time reading books and drawing pictures alone, whilst his classmates undertook timetabled activities together throughout the school day. To make matters worse, invitations to class birthday parties and playdates began to dry up and he became more and more isolated as the years past by. Ray's parents felt he had been rejected and misunderstood by the school because he could not conform. He was simply being himself: a non-violent, inquisitive and self-conscious wide eyed boy, unable to completely read social situations.

Every day presented a new challenge for Ray's parents, who over the years constantly battled to get the school community to recognise their son's needs.

Fortunately, Ray's parents refused to give up and like many parents in similar situations, entered a lengthy legal tribunal for his transfer to a school with an autistic friendly environment. The dark cloud hoovering over Ray's education eventually lifted when his parents won their legal case. Lucky for me, Ray became our ray of sunshine when he joined school I worked in.

"Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better." ― Steve Maraboli

Blue Sky and SunshineRay's presence was immediately felt in my class. This bright, peaceful and charming young boy could not believe his new surroundings as he looked around in amazement during his first few weeks. All of a sudden, Ray was with other children presenting their own unique traits; he had full access to the National Curriculum through multi-sensory learning; integrated therapies; and was exposed to visual timetables and SEN resources to help clarify activities and set expectations.

Understandably, because Ray had been through a lot of rejection in the past and was unable to express his feelings, he felt anxious about being not being good enough to remain in the school. He would repeatedly ask me: "Am I being a good boy?", "Can we have a class photo with me in it? or "Are you happy with me?" It was heart breaking to experience and hear his fears and vulnerability. Ray had been isolated and conditioned by educators to feel like he was misbehaving for being autistic.

Over time, with lots of support and reassurance, Ray released some of his anxieties and started to believe in his abilities. His artistic side, humour, quirky personality and kind nature began to shine. He slowly improved his social skills; and continues to be assured that it is okay to feel and express different emotions. Ray is now set to move up a class group in September and has come a long way since starting at the school.

"Never be a victim of life; be its conqueror." ― Mike Norton

I am incredibly proud to work with children like Ray. Every day I learn about what it means to go through turbulent life events at a young age, and come through it all with immense courage, inner strength, humility and a grateful heart. In Ray's case there was a fundamental lack of understanding; and insufficient special needs training at his autism2mainstream school.

Cases like this are becoming more familiar within schools. So much so, the Department for Education recently called for "a sound understanding of special educational needs" to be delivered in university training before student teachers can become qualified class teachers. This is NOT to say all mainstream schools show a disservice to children with autism because many schools provide excellent inclusive SEN learning environments. In some cases children simply cannot access mainstream because their needs are greater than what can be provided in a class of 30 kids, not because of the school.

A great deal needs to be done to raise awareness of autism and other specific learning needs within schools, communities and wider environments. This applies to the UK and internationally. After experiencing Ray's journey, I hope that one day we come to a stage in education where every child is treated equally and has the support and compassion they truly deserve.

Yours truly,
Miss H ♥

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Nicky Harvey. The original article can be found on 'The Journal Of Miss H'.

5 Amazing Reasons To Celebrate World Teacher Day

  • Category: Miscellaneous

World Teachers DayTeachers across the world have reason to celebrate as October the 5th marks World Teacher Day! Teachers are without a doubt some of the most inspirational, important and influential figures across the globe and great teachers have the capabilities of unleashing a wealth of wisdom that is soaked up by students. In this blog we take a look at why teacher and all the efforts they make should be celebrated by all!

1. Teachers are Inspirational

There's no question about it, teachers ARE inspirational. They give hope when students feel that all is lost and they give their time and effort into helping you reach every single one of their student's goals. Teachers offer their wisdom, expertise and passion in order to help their students enjoy learning and get the very best out of spending most of their day in school.

2. Teachers work hard.... Very, very hard.

Teachers don't stop when the bell rings at the end of the day. There's after school revision sessions, planning next terms exciting lessons and making sure pupils get appropriate feedback in order to progress and that's just scratching the surface of it! Teachers often bring masses of work home with them just so they can give their all to make a real difference to the kids in their class.

3. Teachers care ever so much.

They don't just care about grades or how well their pupils doing in lessons, they take a genuine interest in the lives of their students. Fantastic teachers show so much interest into life outside of the classroom especially when there students are concerned. Some teachers even go out of their way to support students in there extracurricular activities.

4. Teachers teach more than their subject

You kind of guessed that teachers obviously teach, but have you ever considered that teachers teach so much more than their own subject or specialism? Values, manners, behaviour, self-discipline and how to be kind are at the heart of every teacher's lesson. 

5. Teachers shape the future of every single one of their students' lives.

Without someone to guide, inspire and care, where would some of the world's greatest, leaders, celebrities and stars be? Maya Angelou, the highly renowned author whose work has been read and idolised by both children and adult alike may never have been able to produce the stunning pieces of literature that she did if it weren't for her neighbour turned teacher, Mrs Flowers. Mrs Flowers encouraged her to read, taking her to the library and telling her to read every book within the small room. As she read, Angelou found a love of poetry, a love that was deepened as Mrs. Flowers had her come to her house and read to her, so that Angelou could really learn to love poetry as she spoke it aloud. – Source: Online Universities

Whether you have a family member or friend who is currently a teacher of if you have a colleague who is in this brilliant profession, do make the effort to thank them for the contributions they make to the lives of every student. Teachers, we salute you!

Exciting Activities For Teachers To Do In The Summer Holidays!

  • Category: Miscellaneous

The 6 weeks holidays are just around the bend and teachers and students will be taking some much needed time of away from the classroom. Naturally, the summer holidays have a tendency to fly by and become a distant memory by September, so here are some fantastic ideas to enable you to make the most of your well-earned break!

Have Some Much Needed Me Time


Fully relax and unwind this summer with an array of soothing and peaceful activities. Be sure to fully recharge yourself ready for the new school year with these suggestions

  • Spend the day in bed – Curl up in a blanket, open the DVD boxset and spend the day totally immersed in quality films or TV.
  • Book a Spa treatment – Head to your local spa and try out the many treatments they have from floatation therapy, massages and facials.
  • Meditate – Evidence suggest that two sessions of meditation daily can relive stress and depression.
  • Read a book – Uncover the likes of J.K Rowling, Stephen King and countless other authors. Find a quite spot and let the pages turn. If you're feeling ambitious you could even have a go at writing your own material!

Try A New Hobby

Try a New Hobby

We understand that teachers can sometimes struggle in keeping up a hobby as well as working in a worthwhile profession. The 6 weeks summer holidays are the perfect time to discover a new interest and here are some we have suggested below.

  • Attend a cookery class – Inspired by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry? Look for a local cookery class and hone your skills in the kitchen. There are many to styles and cuisines to suit you and your tastes.
  • Get Dancing – If you enjoy watching shows like Strictly Come Dancing or popular dance films like Step Up, why not give your local schools dance classes a try? Dancing is an amazing activity that burns calories, enables you to socialise with others and improves your overall fitness.
  • Make Music – Everyone takes comfort and enjoyment in music but imagine the possibility of creating your own unique sound. Why not have a got a trying a new instrument. From the double bass all the way to the bassoon there's an instrument for everyone.

Embrace The Outdoors

Embrace The Outdoors

Now that you're out the classroom, you can make the most of the potentially good weather the UK has to offer. Make sure you don't spend all your time indoors by trying these outdoors activities.

  • Head To Beach – It wouldn't be the summer holidays without a trip to the beach! Grab your bucket and spades, and head down to the coastal areas for a day of sun, sea and sand. Also, fresh Fish and chips on the beach is a must.
  • Go Camping – Camping Holiday's may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is something we highly recommend. Get back to nature and spend a few days outdoors in the countryside.
  • Bike Riding – Find local riding routes in your town and spend the day with your feet on the pedals. Bike rides are hugely popular and sociable activity if done in groups.
  • Have a BBQ – It wouldn't be summer without a traditional BBQ. Get the coals hot, bang on the food and have a fun filled evening with your friend and family. You could even invite your teaching colleagues too!

Get Planning For The New School Year

Get Planning For The New School Year

As much as summer is the time for relaxing and unwinding, it's always best to get a head start for the new school term. With new classes, new pupils and maybe even a new role, we recommend the following in order to get you ready for the September term. Spend a no more than a few hours a week ensuring that your curriculum knowledge is up to date, your lessons are planned and your classroom displays are sorted. Getting ready for the new school year can get you buzzing for excitement for when you return to the classroom!

Use Your Skills To Help Others

Teacher and Student

Teachers are without a doubt, some of the most skilled and knowledgeable people who have the necessary tools to help others. If teachers have exhausted the above suggestions and are itching to get back into the classroom there is an array of opportunities to enable them to use their highly advanced skillset to make a difference. If you have a subject specialism, tutoring is one key way you can help a person over the summer break. Some students and even adults need additional support in order for them to progress on a particularly week area. Tutoring also allows you to earn additional income over the summer, giving you that little bit extra!

We'd love to hear your thoughts on Summer suggestions so do let us know in the comments or by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

Celebrating The School Nurse!

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Celebrating School Nurse DaySchools across the UK are made of an incredible team from teachers, classroom assistants, pastoral staff and many other important figures. But one thing every school has a place for is the school nurse.

Read more

New Infographic: Benefits of Supply Teaching

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Why should I become a supply teacher? Supply Teaching is a fantastic way of experiencing the very best of various schools and classrooms. Recently we blogged about all aspects of Supply Teaching in a great FAQ post 'The Supply Teacher Job FAQ'. We've complied all the great benefits of becoming a supply teacher in this fantastic teaching infographic. 

Benefits of Supply Teaching Infographic

The Experts Guide To Supply Teaching

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Kickstart Your Career In Supply Teaching! 

Supply TeachingThis blog was partially updated on the 10th October 2017 for improved accuracy and comprehensiveness.


As you probably know, a supply teacher covers lessons across the curriculum on a daily basis or short-term period in the absence of the timetabled class teacher. Supply teachers play a crucial part in ensuring the continuous progression in students' learning during these absences. However, what makes a supply teacher truly exceptional? How can current supply teachers make even more of an impact in the classroom?

How To Become A Supply Teacher

As outlined above, a supply teacher is a regular classroom teacher. Because of this, teachers must hold UK Qualified Teacher Status which can be obtained by a PGCE, Schools Direct, School-Centred Initial Teacher Training and various other routes into teaching as outlined by the Department of Education.

When a teacher opts for working on a supply basis, the easiest option they can do is to register with a teaching agency. Agencies are the most common way for teachers to find local work. As a supply teacher, your agency acts as your employer rather than the school, therefore it is important to form a positive working relationship with them in the same way you would strive to achieve this when working in a school.

Building A Relationship With Your Agency

  • Always keep your agency regularly informed of your availability for work. That way, they won't contact you with work assignments that you are unable to do.
  • Changes surrounding your work life and personal life are always inevitable, e.g. you may desire to go back to working on a long-term or permanent basis or you may have a new role starting shortly. Keep your agency in the loop so they can offer an additional level of support should you require it.
  • Communication is key. An education recruitment agency has many educational practitioners on their books and many schools require support from agency staff to cover their absences. Because of this, an agency proactively will get in touch with suitable candidates for each assignment. If you are looking for daily work, it is a good idea to keep your phone ready for any morning calls. In addition to this, your consultant may send you an email and text message with some important information on too.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Supply Teacher?

There are many fantastic benefits and advantages of supply teaching which make it a highly desirable and favourable career choice for any Primary School or Secondary School teacher.

  • On a supply basis, you can choose which days you are available for work, giving you control over the hours you can fit in in relation to your lifestyle and circumstances.
  • Most supply teaching agencies operate locally, so you can easily obtain work without the stress of having to travel too long a distance.
  • As a supply teacher, you can earn a good income without all the full-time commitments of a regular class teacher such as planning, parents' evening, tests/exams and other additional responsibilities.
  • Whilst working on a supply basis, you can get a genuine feel and understanding of schools you aspire to teach in should they be recruiting for long-term or permanent, full or part-time teaching work.
  • Work assignments in schools vary greatly. One day you could be covering a Year 1 class focusing on Literacy and the following day you could be teaching an outdoor PE lesson with students in Year 4. Having this variety enables you to gain a huge insight into a school, plus emphasising your versatility as an education professional.

What Occasional Challenges Do Supply Teachers Face?

Supply Teaching, like many other teaching jobs, has its challenges but these can be easily managed and overcome with experience, knowledge and support from your teaching agency. One common challenge that has been brought to our attention is teachers can sometimes struggle with short notice bookings. Sometimes last minute assignments are taken and teachers can have a limited time period to prepare themselves as well as their chosen method of transport. In order to stop mornings being a mad rush to the school, ensure that you are prepared by leaving your clothes out the night before and that you have your phone ready for when your agency contacts you. Despite this, some supply bookings are booked well in advance giving you extra time to prepare yourself ready for a day teaching.

As a supply teacher, it's unfortunately quite common for students under your watch to play up and misbehave due to the absence of the regular class teacher. Being a fully trained teacher, you have a clear understanding of behaviour management so make sure that when you enter a classroom you outline your behaviour expectations. Don't forget to ask your school contact as to what their rewards and sanctions policy is to maintain consistency. 

Expectations Of A Supply Teacher

  • Turn up early for supply bookings so you can be introduced to the school Cover Manager as well as any key staff members or the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Ensure that students are fully engaged with the work and complete all activities as outlined in the lesson plan. If student's complete all tasks before the lesson has finished, set them additional stretch tasks. 
    • If the lesson relies on the use of a textbook, is there another activity they could complete?
    • If there is homework to be set in the lesson, why not have them start it?
    • If there is neither a textbook or homework, get in touch with the school Cover Manager or the department lead to obtain additional work.
  • Report back to the school Cover Manager with any examples of outstanding work and behaviour as well as any issues you encountered. 

What's The Difference Between A Cover Supervisor And A Supply Teacher?

We asked a number of school Cover Managers as to whether there was any difference in terms of the responsibilities and expectations of a Supply Teacher and a Cover Supervisor. They outlined that there was no difference in terms of the job that they do but only down to qualifications. A Cover Supervisor is an unqualified teacher but with previous experience teaching in a classroom setting. A Supply Teacher has Qualified Teacher Status but all duties are the same.

If you enjoyed this blog on Supply Teacher, do let us know in the comments or by contacting us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.

The Top New Years Resolutions for Teachers

  • Category: Miscellaneous

Now that the Christmas period has finally embraced us, it won't be long until we warmly welcome 2018. As always, a New Year calls for new beginnings and changes and should you find yourself looking to make a difference to yourself and your teaching practice for the New Year, we've got you covered!

Always Flourishing New Years Resolution for Teachers1. Improve And Maintain Your Wellbeing Work/Life Balance

As identified in a YouGuv Survey, 57% percent of teachers outlined that a poor work/life balance was the reason that they ultimately decided to leave the profession. Your own personal wellbeing is so important especially if you have high aspirations for yourself and your students.

We already have a whole guide in relation to maximising your work-life balance so take a look at one of our popular blogs 'Practical Guide: Keep Your Teacher Wellbeing In Check' for a full list of our most recommended tips and ideas.

2. Embrace Social Media

Social Media is no longer just for sharing cat pictures and the occasional rant. Networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are bursting with some brilliant discussions surrounding education. The most popular social network for teachers is Twitter for a number of amazing reasons. From a vibrant community who encourage others to share and even update resources as well as the engaging and popular chats such as #primaryrocks and #edtechchat, twitters phenomenal worldwide community of teachers will have you embracing new ideas along with a refreshed perspective.


3. Involve Fitness

As we're sure you're aware, there's more to Edtech than just an interactive whiteboard. But what apps and software can you include in your class? Firstly, make sure you know exactly what you want to achieve by using technology in the classroom. Is it to increase student participation or reward good behaviour? There are numerous Edtech apps such as Class Dojo and Plickers that helps you to achieve this but for a full list of some of our favourites that you should try in the New Year, please read 'The Best EdTech Apps We Insist You Use In Your Classroom!'

4. Incorporate Health and Fitness Into Your Class

The vast majority of people in the New Year will be starting a complete body detox and a health kick and there's no reason as to why this can't be encouraged in the classroom. Give your students lessons on healthy eating and make use of physical exercise when possible.

What does The Great British Bake Off tell us about how students learn?

  • Category: Miscellaneous

This week's TV listings left us caught between the Bake off Bubble and Jamie Oliver's War on Sugar and revealed the national obsession with cooking and nutrition that has become a national obsession since the rise of the Celebrity Chef. Nadiya Hussain Great British Bake Off

Whatever we think of this national phenomenon, watching shows like bake off is a pleasure for millions, especially for our children. With 13.5 million tuning in, it has been this week's media event for Kids. With so many of our students interested in icing sugar and frosting what opportunities does this present to schools.

Read more