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Bringing wellbeing to education recruitment

Teaching Tips

Best Online Teaching Resources [2021 Update]

With the recent announcement that all primary schools in England have reopened (with secondary schools not far behind) as of the 8th March 2021, welcoming pupils back for face-to-face teaching leaves a lot of questions hanging over peoples’ heads. Not least pertaining to the ongoing vaccine rollout and whether opening schools will drive infection rates of COVID-19 further, the issue is still ongoing. Despite this, many teachers will welcome the return to schools.

While face-to-face teaching in schools is very much the talking point, and where schools will direct most of their attention, we should not discard all remote teaching resources just yet. In fact, teachers can still utilise these resources to their advantage after they return to school.

Making the Most of Online Teaching

The majority of teachers may not rely on online teaching resources once they return to teaching pupils in person. These resources may be less relied upon in the coming weeks, but that doesn’t mean they will be any less useful in the classroom.

Plus, we cannot ignore that individual pupils, classes and even year groups could potentially have to self-isolate briefly over the coming months. While the vaccine rollout remains in place, this should minimise the amounts of pupils self-isolating. But it is still possible that primary school teachers, secondary school teachers, supply teachers, and even teaching assistants may have to return to working from home for a brief period of time.

Whatever the case, teachers can still utilise the technology and resources available to support children’s learning online. Teaching jobs have felt very different over the past year, and people getting into teaching in 2021 will have substantially challenging months ahead. But online teaching resources can be a valuable helping hand in supporting pupils’ education while the pandemic continues.

Primary School Teaching Resources

For anyone teaching in primary schools, below are some useful resources which many teachers have found helpful:

Secondary School Teaching Resources

Secondary school teachers across the UK have found the following resources to be valuable as they help students learn from home:

General Online Teaching Resources

Other resources - many of which have been widely-publicised - below also will prove useful in and out of the classroom:

These other resources may be helpful for teachers struggling with remote learning:

  • Stress-free remote teaching
  • Support for those new to remote education

Teachers Going Back to School in 2021

The list of online resources above really is the smallest tip of the iceberg; there are so many more resources available to teachers working in various schools. Whether you’re a supply teacher working in a private school or a teaching assistant in a state independent school, the resources above are bound to help in some way.

We understand that the change in circumstances might come as a surprise to some, and we recognise that it may fill some teachers reading this with anxiety and uncertainty. 

Although the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of teaching in schools face-to-face is vital for pupil wellbeing, how much of the catch-up funding will be readily available to support mental health? Some students will need to be given extra care and attention once they return, but equally, so will some teachers. 

Always Flourishing are here to help. We are a teaching recruitment agency with a wealth of expertise handling all types of school recruitment concerns. We have teaching experience ourselves and can help you, whether you’re a teaching agency worker or a school needing to recruit new teachers.

Teaching Agency Jobs and Recruitment

Many teachers are going to be called upon from March onwards to face a potentially nerve-wracking situation. If you are concerned and need assistance from experienced teachers and recruitment specialists who have provided extensive support to schools across the Thames Valley for several years, speak to Always Flourishing today.

This could be the first step back to reclaiming a life that we all had before. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Should you Become a Primary School Teacher or Secondary School Teacher?

Secondary or Primary School Teacher?

Whether you choose to embark on becoming a primary school teacher, or a secondary school teacher, you’re onto achieving fantastic things. Teaching is a rewarding career all the same, but which school is right for you?

One of the big decisions you may have to make is whether you would like a primary school teaching job or a secondary school teaching job.

While these two types of teaching jobs might look similar on paper, the reality is they both offer vastly different experiences and require diverse skill sets. How do you know which one will suit you?

When you complete your teacher training course, you will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS); therefore, you are authorised to teach in primary schools and secondary schools in the UK. With QTS, you can apply for numerousteaching vacancies, and stand a higher chance of landing one successfully.

Key Differences between Primary and Secondary School Teaching

School Day

When teaching in a primary school, you will typically be with one class for the entire school day; primary school teachers work with children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Teaching in secondary schools will allow you to educate across year groups, from year 7 through to year 13. You will likely receive a form group and register these students at the beginning of each day.


The fundamental difference between primary schools and secondary schools, as a teacher, is what you teach.

In a primary school, you’ll be teaching a variety of different subjects, including

  • English
  • Maths
  • Geography
  • Science (such as plants, animals, planets, electricity, sound etc.)

and more, to one particular class. Sometimes, subject specialists may take over subjects like PE and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL).

Whereas in a secondary school, rather than teaching the whole curriculum to your class, you’ll specialise in one subject. You’ll teach this subject across multiple year groups, meaning you’ll encounter and interact with a wide range of age groups throughout the week.

Other Primary School Teacher Responsibilities

  • Plan lessons and prepare teaching materials
  • Mark and assess the work of pupils, and report on progress to parents/guardians
  • Work with other teachers and professionals
  • Attend meetings and undertake additional training

Other Secondary School Teacher Responsibilities

  • Work as a form tutor where you will register and support students daily
  • Mark work and provide in-depth feedback to students
  • Communicate with external stakeholders
  • Attend and complete all required training and CPD courses
  • Attend meetings with senior staff and subject leaders

It doesn’t matter which type of school you teach in; your responsibilities will be similar across the board. However, some private school jobs will require primary teachers to teach specialist subjects to younger pupils, effectively carrying out the same duties as secondary teachers. Some schools have this structure in place for teaching in private schools, regardless of age group.

Be advised, many of the above responsibilities will also apply to you whether you hold a permanent teaching job, or if you are working as a supply teacher

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you are still undecided about whether you want to teach in primary or secondary schools, it’s essential to take a moment for self-reflection. Below are some questions you should ask yourself, which hopefully will make the decision easier.

  • Do I like the idea of teaching a specialist subject? If you haven’t found the particular topic you want to educate forever, maybe the idea of teaching a range of subjects is more appealing to you.
  • How would I feel about seeing the same pupils/students each day? There are advantages and disadvantages of being responsible for multiple classes, as well as one class. You’ll need to decide whether the idea of teaching students of different ages throughout the day, or one specific class is preferable to you.
  • What age group do I picture myself teaching? Your relationships with students and pupils will vary dramatically, depending on their age. Also consider their attitudes, skill level and how they will interact with each other.

Speak to a Primary and Secondary Education Recruitment Agency

At Always Flourishing, we recruit for both primary and secondary school jobs in the Thames Valley. We have a variety of partner schools looking to hire teachers from all walks of life, who are looking to fill promising and exciting positions. With our mission of bringing wellbeing to education recruitment, we know that learners flourish in places that encourage creativity and a love of learning.

We also recruit for permanent, leadership and supply teaching jobs in a variety of schools, from independent schools to nurseries.

We can also help you land teaching assistant positions in both primary and secondary schools.

Register with us today, or give us a call if you have any questions.

Our Top Teaching Articles For This Week - 24th April 2017

We are completely blown away by the sheer number of education resources an teaching articles shared online and on social media.  We are so excited to share these top teaching blogs and articles that we have come across this week!

Teachers On Twitter

Logging In To Twitter On A Mobile Phone

Twitter is by far one of our favourite social networks, especially since we find many inspirational teachers and educators sharing resources, blog articles and examples of work. Erin Miller enthusiastically outlines the benefits of using Twitter as a source of inspiration and ideas and we can wholeheartedly agree with every suggestion. From using hashtags to find other likeminded individuals to making the most of reading education blogs, Erin covers all ground on how you can be a successful teacher on Twitter and we urge all of you to sign yourself up!

If you are already on Twitter or looking to join, make sure you follow us @AFlourishing!

6 Things To Get Right In Every School

TeacherHead 6 Things To Get Right In Every School

This intriguing article came up on our Twitter feed (again another reason to join!) and upon reading, I was completely immersed in the fantastic viewpoints from Tom Sherrington. Tom Sherrington is an experienced school leader and in this article, he outlines what every school needs in order to be a success.

From some great suggestions on effective staff development to resources on effective behaviour management, Tom covers a whole range of topics by his own admission are by no means the only six or necessarily the most important. But, they are all areas that it ought to be possible to plan for, taking account of research evidence and examples of effective practice across the system.

Don't Be A Perfectionist Or Else You'll Never Get Anything Done, EVER

Scott Bradlee Perfectionism

Even though this article does not come from the education sector, it is filled with so many fantastic gems of advice and guidance that will be of benefit to any teacher. Written by Scott Bradlee, the creator of the internet sensation that is Postmodern Jukebox, this terrific blog details Scott's own dealings with perfectionism and how individuals can sway from trying to maintain an idealised image of themselves and their work which can prevent them from achieving their goals.

With a vast number of articles stating that teachers are being unnecessarily hard on themselves (Finding A New Kind Of Perfect – Education Support Partnership), Scott's intelligence on the subject is a refreshing source of inspiration that will encourage teachers to break free from this occasional hindrance of a habit and to be bold enough to explore new ideas and ways of thinking.

DIY Environmental Classroom Activities

School Compost Heap with Compost Bins

Environment and Climate change has been at the forefront of many political discussions for a vast duration of time. Educate your students with these fantastic suggestions from TeachHub on how you can familiarise your students with the eco-system and how they can protect and preserve it. Many of the activities listed in this blog such as Composting, oil spill clean-up and the window garden can be taught in accordance to subjects within the National curriculum in particular Science and Food Technology.

Have you read an article that you feel should be included in our next article roundup? Let us know by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin!

How to Teach Effectively Online

As schools across the UK face another massive obstacle in the form of a third national lockdown, remote lessons and online learning have once again become the norms. As a teaching recruitment agency, we are just one of the many institutions within the education sector that have been thrown into yet even more disarray and confusion with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While we cannot deny the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on parents and children, teachers have also felt the burden. Continually adapting and changing to the demands of teaching classes remotely has been something teachers have had to do across the board.

Online Teaching

Teaching students remotely, via video conferencing, while good in principle, does not recapture the same magic as being in the classroom. For students, learning from home can feel isolating without their peers’ company, and this underlying sense of isolation can prove damaging in the long run. Having gone on for so long, this new normal has ultimately led to all-time low levels of inspiration.

However, teachers can still maintain a positive classroom environment by keeping things personable, engaging and exciting for students. In a digital environment, that is not easy to do for any teacher, whether they are teaching in a primary school, secondary school or nursery and are working on a permanent or supply teaching basis. All teachers are finding these new teaching methods difficult, not to mention the additional work they have to do outside the classroom.

But in challenging times like these, teachers can make digital classrooms enthralling and useful, so that students can get more out of each lesson. Here are a few helpful suggestions that we, as education recruiters recommend.

Tips to Make Online Learning Effective for Students

  1. Take time to greet them personally. -Allow a few minutes before each lesson to greet your pupils, and let them say hello to each other. They’re missing out on the interpersonal elements of school so give them a platform to recreate that in the digital classroom.
  2. Make lessons interactive. -During your lessons, see what you can incorporate into their learning by using third-party platforms. Quizizz, Brainscape or Slido are great options to bring into the classroom as they add variety and depth to the lesson.
  3. Offer rewards. - If students are putting the work in, it’s essential to recognise that and give them praise. Use your school’s recommended rewarding system to increase motivation and engagement.
  4. Keep instructions simple. - When you’re using teaching materials, it’s important to make sure they’re easy to read and understand. This will ensure much smoother lessons for all.
  5. Independent challenges. - Some students will work faster than others while taking remote classes. So make sure that you offer other challenges where you can, while providing additional support to other students who need it.
  6. Recognise their commitment. - Recognise that this is as difficult for children as it is for teachers. Recognise their efforts and contributions and make them feel valued, as that can boost their confidence and motivation to do even better.
  7. Keep high standards. - While challenging to monitor, you should still make students aware that you expect them to work to a high standard. It is still a classroom, albeit a virtual one, and they should treat it as such.
  8. Remember you’re doing the best you can. - Online lessons won’t always go swimmingly, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to perform perfectly. This is all you can do until teachers worldwide can have students in the classroom again.

Looking for Local Teaching Recruitment Agencies?

Always Flourishing are education recruitment specialists, with a wealth of experience in teaching ourselves. Granted, we have not quite experienced the same teaching challenges that many are facing in 2021. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are committed to ensuring wellbeing at the heart of all our candidates.

Mental health is something which nobody should turn a blind eye to, and the pandemic has put an enormous strain on teachers’ wellbeing. Schools across the Thames Valley are still hiring full-time and supply teachers, and teaching assistants, to aid them in their current shortages. Help is still needed in places, and we are still offering a lending hand.

Find your Next Teaching Vacancy

We help candidates land their ideal teaching vacancies by working closely with our partner schools. We’re committed to helping you find the right teaching job for you, even in the midst of this current pandemic. Give us a call to see how we can help.

Teaching Remotely for Primary Schools

Can Primary School Jobs be Done via Remote Teaching?

When training to become a teacher, it's unlikely anyone could have been slightly prepared for teaching classes remotely because of a global pandemic.

No matter what stage of your teaching journey you are at, whether it's as a supply teaching assistant, permanent teacher or if you are still applying for teaching agency jobs, teaching should never have to be done remotely. The real effectiveness of education is discovered when the teacher and pupils are in the classroom together. This is particularly true for primary school teachers and pupils. Children are at that age (5-11 years) where they start to remember how helpful and supportive their teachers and teaching assistants can be.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced pupils of all ages to be taught at home, and in light of this, every school has also felt the pressure to use video conferencing tools as methods of distance-learning. Schools have been forced to act quickly, almost scrambling to ensure students are not behind academically. However, it's essential to remember how the coronavirus might be affecting pupils on a personal level.

The social element of education can still exist when teaching remote lessons, and you can truly become an effective teacher if you embrace this change. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of teaching primary school pupils in a remote environment

E-Teaching to Primary School Pupils

Younger pupils can be particularly sensitive to drastic change, and on the flip side, they can wholly embrace it. Here are some vital tips to ensure you, as someone new to (or experienced in) primary school jobs, can help your pupils on a social and academic level.

  1. Get them in the right mindset – while your role as a teacher is to ensure your pupils are receiving the support they need, if they are struggling with a new way of life, it can have a knock-on effect on their education. It's vital, therefore, to get them in the right mindset for distance-learning, about how it gives them great opportunities to learn. Establish new 'e-classroom' behaviours and rules, and provide them with a platform to ensure they are still an essential part of every class. Teaching responsibilities like these can help pupils stay invested and motivated to work hard and bring their ideas forward.
  2. Prepare well in advance – while teaching from home has meant everyone has to adapt to new routines, every teacher should always make sure they are well-prepared. There can be a temptation to leave certain things to the morning, but every day could present a WiFi router not working or a laptop not turning on. Schedule your activities and lessons ahead of time, and stay organised. This is valuable advice for teachers in itself, but it applies now that you are teaching classes at home.
  3. Keep pupils well-connected – it's fair to say some pupils will prioritise some activities over others, and not all of them will complete everything they're asked to do. If you do find some of your students struggling, it's a good idea to check in with them. Some pupils may be deeply affected by the stress of COVID-19, as might their families. It helps pupils to know their teachers are there for them.
  4. Allow plenty of time – this is valuable advice that will have been drilled into you when applying for teaching jobs. It doesn't matter whether you hold a permanent or supply teaching position; everyone always says that teaching jobs are notorious for how much time you have to put in. Even when becoming a remote teacher, you can quickly find yourself loaded with work to check every day. To stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed, make a point to catch up with your marking or admin while you're not teaching.

Register with an Education Recruitment Agency

Always Flourishing recruit for almost any teaching vacancies, for both candidates and for schools looking to hire.

Even in these unprecedented times, we still have numerous primary school teaching positions available in independent schools, state schools and even academies. Roles could be anything from teaching assistant jobs to full-time teaching roles as specific subject teachers.

What's more, as a teaching recruitment agency that values teacher and student wellbeing, Always Flourishing can offer you guided, dedicated support along the way. All you need to do is register with us.

If you have any queries, speak to us directly.

The Schools and Teachers Leading On Wellbeing

As a forward-thinking teaching agency within the Home Counties, we put wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. However, who are the education professionals leading on teacher wellbeing? How are they making a difference to the happiness and health of other teachers and teaching assistants?

In this blog, we take a look at some of the top teachers across the country and how they have been able to maximise the well-being of their school staff members and students.

Caseby's Casebook – The Workable Wellbeing Series

Vice Principal at an Oxford all through school. Roger Caseby has a strong interest on the link between teacher wellbeing and student outcomes. He's published a trio of blogs on how he implements wellbeing and positive mental health to his team of teachers.

1. Free tea & coffee in our staff room.

Tea and CoffeeThis is essential really, I feel it makes breaks a proper break and it's the fuel that keeps staff going in between! I've worked in schools where staff pay into a kitty for tea & coffee – it's a lot of effort for a very small sum in terms of a school budget and usually a nightmare for the colleague who has to get everyone to cough up. Chocolate biscuits also help at high pressure times and several colleagues share cake on their birthdays.

2. Considering the impact of new policies on staff wellbeing.

Change seems to be the one contestant in schools. As we plan and implement new policies and procedures it's important to consider their impact on workload and wellbeing. I have described this in more detail here.

3. Thank yous.

It only takes a moment to say thank you, but in a busy day doing so can easily slip, whether acknowledging an email response, on paper or in person. It's well worth getting into the habit of thanking people in even the routine tasks like a request for photocopying to reprographics. Use key points in the year such as the end of terms to voice appreciation or drop people a note.

Performance management reviews are also an opportunity to thank colleagues for their contribution over the past year. At our Performance Development (we don't call it appraisal) day this year, we picked up on the idea from Cheney school, Oxford, and started a staff Thank You board where anyone can post thank you's to colleagues.

The full blog 'Workable Wellbeing' can be read here.
Workable Wellbeing 2 can be read here.
Workable Wellbeing 3 can be read here.

The Musings Of A Teaching Enthusiast

With marking, assessments and planning burning a hole in many a teacher's weekly schedule, arguably the most important part of their career centres on wellbeing. Every teacher will find challenging obstacles in their quest for a positive state of wellbeing, but I am hoping to offer some tips and ideas to help get us through the dark times and remind everyone that teaching is a fantastic career.

Start the day on a positive note

A good start to the day will help create a positive frame of mind for the challenges ahead. Why not allow yourself five or ten minutes to speak to a colleague about an interest outside of work, or sit with the children at Breakfast Club and discuss what they did the evening before. Take your mind off the day ahead for a few moments to allow breathing space before your focus is diluted to your class.

Add something new to your lessons

I challenge you to add a new idea or activity to each of your lessons. Try something new that you would not normally teach to help keep not only the children but also yourself engaged. Why not end a measuring lesson with a long jump competition? Or play battleships when teaching co-ordinates.

Access all of these wellbeing tips here.

Exeter Head

Wellbeing has deliberately been put at the centre of our School Improvement Plan. We want to be held to account for getting this right.

Our feedback policy has been revised, with the aims of reducing the time spent marking while giving children better guidance about what they need to do to improve their work. Maths feedback is now all verbal (apart from ticks and crosses showing right or wrong answers). Teachers now have more time to think about what children are really struggling with and to decide what are the best things they can do to help them, instead of writing long comments in their books and battling with the children to get them to act on them – or even read them.

Sports and ExerciseMarking of writing will now focus on how children can improve the piece of work they have just finished rather than identifying 'next steps'. Again, lots of this feedback is verbal. This should make sure the children really understand what they are being asked to do, and that they remain motivated by not being repeatedly told how their work could be better in the future.

Our PPA arrangements have changed so that teachers now have a full day every fortnight in their year teams. We have also kept our planning days – each half term year teams have a day together to plan the next half term's work. This means that teachers have four full days together every 6/7 weeks. The cost of this takes a significant part of our school improvement budget, but it is worth every penny to see the inspirational ideas the teachers come up with to deliver the curriculum.

Staff are challenging each other to take part in some form of activity outside school, and then celebrating this. September is exercise – staff are sharing their exploits on a board in the staffroom, showing how far they have run, walked, cycled or swum. People have set their own targets, and there is lots of encouragement and interest in what each other are doing. We have plans for October – possibly a bake off – and will try something new every month.

Read the full scope of Exter Head's wellbeing focus click here.

Mr W5

Teaching is tough: balancing the needs of individuals and the whole class, meeting the curriculum objectives, preparing for end of Key Stage tests, dealing with parents, carers and the demands of those running the school is an endless task. We are very good at looking after the wellbeing of pupils but rarely make time for ourselves; we need to model wellbeing and self-care to our pupils!


  • 'Control the controllables' – focus on the things that you can affect.
  • Instead of trying harder, work smarter – try something different
  • Notice energisers and drainers – Think about which of your colleagues you need to spend most time around. Who brightens your day? Who inspires you and gives you new ideas? Who are the 'mood hoovers'? Who dampens your spirits?
  • Spend time with family, friends and loved ones.
  • Get outdoors – run, walk, sit and take in the beauty around you.
  • Allow yourself some 'you time' to indulge in that little guilty pleasure – watch trashy TV, read, bake, dance, sing. Be you!!
  • Be positive – make a conscious effort to see the good in every situation. There is something positive in everyday!
  • Learn to say no – sometimes you just don't need any more plates to spin!

Remember if everything gets too much, you must speak to someone!

The senior leaders in your school are there to support you and they will! If you feel that you can't speak to someone at school try your family and friends – they love you, they want you to be well – they will support you! If you feel that you need something more, speak to a medical professional!

Finally...remember how important and inspiring you are to every child in your care.

Teachers change lives but can only do so if they are fit, healthy and positive!

Discover more of Mr W's tips on wellbeing here. 

If you know of any other great teachers and educators actively encouraging positive wellbeing, let us know in the comments below! 

Education Recruitment Agencies Guide for Primary and Secondary School Teachers

Primary and Secondary Teaching During Lockdown

All schools across England can reopen on Monday 8th March. The Prime Minister has announced details of Government plans to lift the national lockdown. From the 8th March, all students across all year groups can return to face-to-face teaching in schools and colleges.

This news comes alongside the Prime Minister’s announcement that secondary schools and colleges will receive twice-weekly COVID-19 testing of pupils. This will be initially conducted on-site and then carried out at home by parents or carers. For a limited period of time, students and teachers in higher education, further education and secondary schools will be asked to wear face coverings indoors. This has also been recommended in primary schools and early years settings, such as nurseries, when social distancing is not possible.

There is an ongoing debate around whether schools are driving the spread of infections, despite the continued damage to children’s wellbeing. 

As it currently stands, only vulnerable children and children of key workers are now allowed to attend school for education, but this will change from 8th March. At the same time, other students have had to engage in remote lessons taught by teachers.

Teaching students face-to-face is one of the many rewards of the job, and why many people get into teaching in the first place. It is a rewarding career choice with so many benefits, but recent times have changed the landscape of what being a teacher is all about. Up until the beginning of 2020, teachers were responsible for educating students in person about engaging in new tasks, behaviour, social skills, critical thinking, and so much more. Nowadays, that is predominantly done via a computer screen, which doesn’t have the same effect. 

Luckily, many aspiring teachers are on the lookout for teaching careers, because the demand from schools hasn’t waned. There are still teaching positions available, and if anything, they are more in need because of the current state of the sector. Therefore, even during a global pandemic, you can still look for routes into becoming a primary school or secondary school teacher. Always Flourishing are here to help you along the way.

Should I Choose a Primary or Secondary School Teaching Career?

One of the biggest decisions an aspiring teacher may have to make is whether it’s better to work in a primary school or a secondary school. Both are vastly different environments, offering different experiences, and not just because of the age groups and subjects. Both are challenging but equally rewarding career choices.

Difference between Primary and Secondary School Teachers

  • Primary schools - primary education is seen as the basics which every person should have, and benefit from. Teachers require good foundational knowledge in maths, geography, sciences, history, reading and writing, to be able to pass on that knowledge to students. Teachers will typically work with pupils up to age 11.
  • Secondary schools - this is where knowledge can be fine-tuned, building on primary school education, and branched out into specific subjects. Children will begin to make choices for themselves regarding what they want to study, but will still learn subjects like maths, English, science and usually a foreign language. Usually, teachers will work with students aged 12 to 16, but some teachers will teach Sixth Form from 16+. You’ll usually have one or two specialist subjects to teach.

Regardless of whether you’re a secondary or primary school teacher, you’ll spend a lot of time outside the classroom marking and planning lessons. Not to mention the seemingly endless admin. It’s demanding, especially with the prevalence of remote school lessons, but it can still be rewarding.

Can You Move from a Primary School to Secondary School Teaching?

Technically, yes, as long as you have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), you can apply for a secondary teaching job. You’ll need a good knowledge of your specialist subject, and SKE (Subject Knowledge Enhancement) courses are good options for this.

If you’re a secondary teacher and want to teach in primary schools, it’s still possible. But you’ll need to move away from your specialism and familiarise yourself with the entire curriculum. You could spend time working as a teaching assistant or become a supply teacher to build up your primary education skills.

Education Recruitment Agencies

Whatever your reason is for getting into teaching, be sure to think about your own personal and professional goals. Make informed decisions based on what you learn and find out.

Why not look for a primary or secondary school teaching position with Always Flourishing? We source candidates across the Thames Valley to fill specific teaching jobs in schools that are looking for applicants of your calibre. Register here today!

How to Become an Effective SEND Teaching Assistant

SEND Teaching

Landing a teaching job as a newly-qualified teacher (NQT) is a fantastic achievement. Whether you’ve secured a permanent teaching position or if you are working as a supply teacher, no doubt the hard work you will have done throughout your studies, work experience and placements will have paid dividends when you land that first big-time job. The same can be said for working as a SEND teacher, or teaching assistant (TA).

As an NQT, you should be incredibly proud of your accomplishment, but SEND teaching positions may be entirely different than you’d expect. Teacher training doesn’t always necessarily prepare teachers for teaching children with special educational needs and disability.

No matter how you achieved Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), it’s important to remember this is the beginning of your journey rather than the end. Think of the QTS qualification like a driving test; you pass it and you’re essentially allowed to teach anywhere, but you will only achieve the full experience once you’ve started working in schools. This can be anywhere from working as a teaching assistant to landing private school jobs.

SEND teaching assistants in particular, have a vital part to play in teaching special needs children. This kind of teaching job gives you varied responsibilities, in how you effectively manage children of varying needs. You’ll be expected to use your proactive teaching skills to manage the whole classroom and help pupils get the most out of their education.

Improve your SEND Teaching Skills

It’s wise to treat a SEND teaching jobs as an opportunity to learn while you teach. Here are a few things that you could do to develop your SEND teaching skills.

Improve your SEND Teaching Skills

It’s wise to treat a SEND teaching job as an opportunity to learn while you teach. Here are a few things that you could do to develop your SEND teaching skills.

  1. Understand children’s rights – understanding the Equality Act (in particular the Equality & Human Rights Commission guidance) can give you some perspective of the duties that a school is required to fulfil. Understanding these will help you become more informed about the expectations (and challenges) of working in SEND.
  2. Reflect on your environment – an inclusive classroom culture is essential for all learners to feel welcome. Make adjustments to the classroom if you deem it necessary, and consider how the children are affected by the space they use and how it can be improved. You can use online groups like the SLD Forum for added support in your SEND TA role.
  3. Speak to parents and other professionals – developing honest, constructive relationships with families can be a tremendous asset to how you do the same with children too. Parents can share experience and insight from their daily lives with their children, which can in turn help with strategies when teaching SEND students. Making the use of knowledge and strategies from other teachers and professionals’ (e.g. language and speech therapists) can also be a great tool with SEND teaching.
  4. Explore challenging behaviour – complex behaviour can be a challenge in the classroom, and sometimes unpredictable. It’s the collective responsibility of the school to ensure this is appropriately managed and pupils are looked after, no matter their complex behaviour. Advice, support and guidance of experienced teachers will help you greatly with this, as can behaviour management resources and material.
  5. Get to know your students – large and busy classrooms can create a less-personal environment for children. This is a huge challenge for both students and teachers, no matter their role in the classroom. This is why becoming a teaching assistant can create a more personal environment for each student, which is especially valuable for SEND children in terms of helping their academic achievements as well as their personal development.

SEND Teaching During COVID-19

Now that schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students with SEND, who receive additional support, are going to need some more considerations.

One of these issues concern TAs working in SEND schools, who are unable to provide that bespoke, incident-specific support that some children require. This could be anything from speech therapy or sensory assistance, and replicating this help would be challenging for both TAs and pupils.

Not to mention the fact that changing routines for some children would be particularly upsetting, and both permanent teaching assistants and teachers will need to make amendments in some pupils’ timetables. For schools, they should remain transparent with parents and TAs to see how they can feasibly work around these issues.

Apply for SEND Jobs

Here at Always Flourishing, we recruit permanent and supply teaching assistants across a wide variety of educational sectors. We work with numerous SEND schools across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas, but also are able to help candidates who want to land any of the following:

We also work directly with schools which are recruiting for these positions, where we can help secure the perfect candidate for you. Rather than outsource your education recruitment, our experience as one of Berkshire’s leading teaching recruitment agencies has helped schools and teachers land their ideal teaching roles.

Our approach is to ensure our candidates get the added value and support they need no matter their stage in their teaching journey, as well as ensuring our schools get a completely transparent and wholesome service.

Register with us today, or contact us if you need any further help.

Expert Ways To Dramatically Improve Student Assessments [Guest Blog]

Assessments in teaching are very much a firm standard in any school or education establishment. Of course, viewpoints on the effectiveness of regular assessments vary dramatically amongst teachers and education professionals but, there is no avoiding them. So, how do we make sure that we are assessing students in the most effective way and what are the current problems regarding assessments that we need to take into consideration?

Expert education blogger and experienced History Teacher, Neil Martin, offers his interesting viewpoints surrounding class based assessments and provides his insights into how best they can be improved to the benefit of both staff and pupils.

Neil regularly shares his expertise and views on the education sector on his own blog 'Actuality'  

Part 1 - Current Issues Surrounding Assessment In Teaching (Published 2016)

Part 2 - Solutions (Published 2017)


Part 1 - Current Issues Surrounding Assessments In Teaching

Student Completing Her Assesment

Designed by Freepik

Assessment becomes more and more important by the day. School pupils are reminded constantly about the necessity of working hard and achieving good results and government statistics on those achieving 5 good GCSE grades seem to be rolled out month on month. Testing and assessment are, of course, important and there is no getting away from it in schools.

 Nevertheless, are we assessing in the most productive way?

Is the constant push for better results actually having a negative impact on our students?

In this blog, I use History teaching as the basis for my observations, but I suspect that a teacher of any subject would identify with some of the problems and hopefully the solutions suggested.

In my experience, I would argue that we have to very careful in the way that we assess students. When I working in the maintained sector there was a requirement to demonstrate which national curriculum level students in years 7 – 9 were at and also to demonstrate that they had progressed. Termly assessments were key as well as a formal end of year exam which, it was hoped, would show improvement.

This system had its strengths, in particular, it emphasised pupil responsibility and ownership in that they were encouraged to target areas for improvement (for example one of a range of historical skills). Furthermore, this reflective element really made students read teacher comments carefully and also fully understand what exactly they needed to do in order to achieve their next level, at KS3, or a higher grade at GCSE or A level.

However, one needs to be careful with focussing too much on level descriptors as it can actually cause problems. For example, teachers end up making a best fit or 'fits all' judgement on a student's work, indeed as Burnham and Brown (2004) point out the level descriptors do not chart progression and in fact are good for only a summative assessment at the end of an academic year. Student's themselves can find level descriptors difficult to understand and also to see the point in them.

Furthermore, there is a case to suggest that with certain iterations of the A level and GCSE History syllabuses that it is possible to receive a high grade without actually knowing much historical detail; a point noted by Chapman (2011). Vague statements relating to 'attempting analysis' or 'producing simple statements' focussed mainly on skills and I am very thankful that new A levels now appear to be redressing the balance in terms of historical content.

Teaching to the test is also an area that many will be familiar with. Pressures from SLT, parents and governors mean that teachers invariably have to come up with more innovative ways of helping their students to achieve better results. I am guilty of this, increasing revision sessions and creating highly detailed scaffolding for students to follow in order to achieve the various demands of mark scheme level descriptors.

Whilst this does achieve good results, there is always a nagging feeling that students may have been rather short changed. Particularly if we take our subjects from a purely academic perspective assessment of this type stifles the creativity, flexibility and eclectic nature of excellent teaching, moreover are we doing them and the student's justice?


Part 2 - Solutions

Students Working On An Assesment

How can assessment be of use for students? Again I use my own subject, history, as a case study but once more I believe that many subjects would be able to identify with the solutions outlined.

An answer lies with making sure that the assessment procedures are authentic and effective. Philpot explains that assessment needs to be a regular event providing ready and understandable feedback encompassing a variety of learning styles (Philpot, 2011). Harry Torrance offers a further solution. 'Divergent assessment' emphasises the learners understanding rather than that of the agenda of the assessor (Torrance, 1998). Using this model would allow for more understanding of what the child knows, understands or can do within the subject.

This is a wholly 'child-centred approach' and focuses on how the child responds to the curriculum, prompts pupils to reflect on their own learning and results in more descriptive, qualitative feedback (Torrance, 1998). This approach allows a teacher to move away from simply teaching to the descriptor and focussing on jumping through hoops; assessment is therefore not the problem but the way it is carried out.

Nonetheless, based on this notion of authentic effective assessment it is clear that the traditional forms of teaching to the test and teaching for the test are lauded in schools. Relatively, recently Ofsted's History for all (2011) has raised concerns over the use of the National Curriculum level, pointing to some schools that apply the descriptors in a very superficial manner, the report also states that using mark schemes to help students understand how marks are awarded and how this can help them to improve (Ofsted, 2011) is somehow excellent assessment practice.

Ofsted's Good Assessment Practice in history (2008) also praises those lessons that devote significant time to discussing assessment criteria. This is not historical understanding and again shows the traditional approach of teaching to the test and a set of outcomes. Until these assessment practices are changed then understanding cannot be assessed properly.

How can we assess differently?

There have, however, been many attempts and suggestions to make assessment more rigorous and more helpful in expanding pupil understanding. More than ten years ago Chris Culpin (2002) highlighted the problems with formulaic questions, answers judged against level descriptors even going so far as to claim that the assessment model was unfit for purpose.

Culpin's suggestions ranged from a single exam board and single syllabus to more teacher control in the assessment and design of courses and a reduction on board set papers. To Culpin giving students more time to develop as historians would also allow for more rigour in the way that they were assessed. Whilst Culpin makes a strong case there are clear problems with his suggestions. Allowing students more time to prepare for assessment does not necessarily lead to better historical understanding, only that students are more prepared for the types of question they may encounter.

Student Assesments

Similarly, Cuplin suggests a modular structure to the course, again the problems highlighted earlier of teaching to a test either in terms of skills or content are clearly evident.

Mark Cottingham (2004) has experimented with methods that allow for National Curriculum levels to be used in their intended form, at the end of the key stage. Cottingham comments that there are conflicting demands in assessment at KS3, from making assessment meaningful and rigorous to using it to make a judgement based on vague level descriptors.

Cottingham draws on AFL principles to suggest the use of individual student progress sheets traffic lighting, to show understanding in key elements of the unit of work, and TARS (Teacher Assessment Record Sheet) (Cottingham, 2004). When combined the student and teacher records can be used to provide a level at the end of the key stage as progression in key areas can be charted. This is very close to Torrance's 'divergent model' of assessment and allows for the teacher and student to have a dialogue over progression and understanding. The student acts on feedback from the teacher and their own reflections and sets attainable targets for improvement.

Cottingham concludes that his approach can inform schemes of work and allow for the development of effective assessment strategies supporting pupil progress and understanding (Cottingham, 2004). Nonetheless, the AFL approach has been criticised. Kitson and Husbands (2011) suggest that many AFL strategies can work generally for History (and I would imagine other subjects) but cannot readily be used to assess more difficult concepts about nature and extent of change (Kitson & Husbands, 2011). Whilst this is a valid observation Kitson and Husbands suggest that AFL needs to be adapted to advance rather than divert subject understanding (Kitson & Husbands, 2011). I would propose that Cottingham's approach goes some way in achieving such adaptation.

In an attempt to address the problems with National Curriculum levels Jerome Freeman and Joanne Philpot have experimented widely with the use of APP (Assessing Pupil Progress). The reasoning behind this is to build holistic assessment into everyday teaching and also to gain a far deeper understanding of the individual learner's achievements (Freeman & Philpot, 2009). In practice, APP can improve curriculum planning and remove reliance on traditional testing procedures. Freeman and Philpot advocate a periodic review of evidence to build a profile of achievement based on various assessment focuses (AFs) which illustrate characteristic achievement at each National Curriculum level.

The benefits of this approach include gaining a clearer picture of achievements and progress, an emphasis on using a range of evidence that can broaden the curriculum and a secure basis for pupil tracking against National Curriculum levels (Freeman & Philpot, 2009). Additionally, APP allows for a much better understanding of levels in terms of pupil learning and progress, pupils are encouraged to identify how each lesson fits into the 'big picture'. Ultimately as Freeman and Philpot explain, 'if we want pupils to enjoy and get better at history

In practice, APP can improve curriculum planning and remove reliance on traditional testing procedures. Freeman and Philpot advocate a periodic review of evidence to build a profile of achievement based on various assessment focuses (AFs) which illustrate characteristic achievement at each National Curriculum level. The benefits of this approach include gaining a clearer picture of achievements and progress, an emphasis on using a range of evidence that can broaden the curriculum and a secure basis for pupil tracking against National Curriculum levels (Freeman & Philpot, 2009).

Additionally, APP allows for a much better understanding of levels in terms of pupil learning and progress, pupils are encouraged to identify how each lesson fits into the 'big picture'. Ultimately as Freeman and Philpot explain, 'if we want pupils to enjoy and get better at history than holistic assessment is a step in the right direction' (Freeman & Philpot, 2009, p. 13). This approach fits well with Torrance's divergent model and allows pupils to see where their learning is heading, without a loss of understanding.

Many practitioners have suggested moving from the traditionally written assessment in order to truly measure historical understanding. Matt Stanford's (2008) work on non-verbal assessment highlights the refreshing way that pupils can be assessed differently. By combining setting pupils the task of completing an enquiry question with a piece of art Stanford encouraged students to demonstrate their understanding of the renaissance in a truly unique way.

A key area of planning was in giving students a sense of period that 'would allow them to contextualise the subsequent historical knowledge' (Stanford, 2008, p. 6). This was achieved through an enquiry of eight lessons and the final task that would be assessed. Not only were students demonstrating their knowledge of historical content, but because this was a practical assessment they were also demonstrating their understanding of artistic techniques of the period.

Student Assessments

This, surely, demonstrates a far better understanding of the Renaissance than simply learning about different artists and allows all students to more readily demonstrate their understanding. Stanford himself notes that this should not replace more traditional written and oral assessments but to use it will allow a teacher to gain more of an 'understanding of what the student knows' (Stanford, 2008, p. 11). From this broader understanding, assessment criteria can be better achieved.

Fulard and Dacey (2008) take yet another approach to assessment. Their approach was developed from the belief that the limits of essay writing were becoming more and more obvious; speaking and listening seemed to offer a solution (Fullard & Dacey, 2008). Through an integration of National Curriculum levels into concepts and processes, Fullard and Dacey hoped to launch progression to A level at KS3 rather than have pupil ability reduced at GCSE. Pupils developed debating skills through various enquiries and were assessed on their ability to pursue a full debate in class as well as the notes they took and questions they asked.

The results were pleasing demonstrating, at least for high ability students, that this different type of assessment can be adequately deployed. However, some students made inadequate use of the preparation stages and failed to grasp the underlying concepts of causal reasoning. Fullard and Dacey admit that 'speaking and listening is not the answer but it is part of the answer to the problem of assessment' (Fullard & Dacey, 2008, p. 29)

Clearly, if the assessment is to be of use then it has to be valid, reliable, authentic and robust. Assessment or measuring needs to take an integral place in the classroom and be part of everyday planning, teaching and learning. Torrance's (1998) divergent model has been a driving factor more recently and some those better methods that have been developed over the last decade show a clear correlation to this assessment type. It is clear that assessment needs to have the individual learner placed at its centre and that a dialogue needs to exist between teacher and learner in order for that learner to progress in their historical understanding.

Most importantly, however, is that the concept of assessment or measuring is not the problem rather it is the way that the assessment is undertaken. A more eclectic approach is vital if the subject is to be accessible for all students and for those students to succeed as demonstrated by Stanford (2008) and Fullard and Dacey (2008). Teachers should not be afraid of attempting a different kind of assessment especially if that assessment or measuring can assist in pupil understanding and should take the time to do so and learn from the results.


Burnham, S., & Brown, G. (2004, June). Assessment without level descriptors. Teaching History(115), pp. 5-13.
Chapman, A. (2011). The history curriculum 16 - 19. In I. Davies (Ed.), Debates in History Teaching (pp. 46 - 55). Oxford: Routledge.
Cottingham, M. (2004, June). Dr Black Box or how I learned to stop worrying and love assessment. Teaching History, pp. 16-22.
Culpin, C. (2002, December). Why we must change history GCSE. Teaching History, pp. 6-9.
Freeman, J., & Philpot, J. (2009, December). Assessing Pupil Progress: Transforming teacher assessment in KS3 history. Teaching History, pp. 4-13.
Fullard, G., & Dacey, K. (2008, June). Holistic assessment through speaking and listening: an experiment with causal reasoning and evidential thinking in year 8. Teaching History, pp. 25-29.
Kitson, A., & Husbands, C. (2011). Teaching and Learning History 11-18. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Ofsted. (2011). History for all. Retrieved March 16, 2013, from Ofsted:
Philpot, J. (2011). Assessment. In I. Davies (Ed.), Debates in History Teaching (pp. 261 - 272). Oxford: Routledge.
Stanford, M. (2008, March). Redrawing the Renaissance: non-verbal assessment in year 7. Teaching History, pp. 4-11.
Torrance, H. (1998). Investigating Formative Assessment: Teaching, Learning and Assessment in the Classroom. Buckingham: Open University Press.

We'd be really eager to know your thoughts and viewpoints on assessment in education so do leave us a comment below or by contacting us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

What is the difference between QTS and PGCE?

Finding routes into teaching is challenging and daunting, not to mention the state of the education industry as schools are (at the time of writing) closed for a second time in the UK. The rising coronavirus infections have forced the government to close schools, except for nurseries.

That doesn’t change the fact that getting into teaching has always felt like navigating a proverbial minefield. However, education recruitment agencies are always on the lookout for qualified candidates. When looking at teacher training options, two of the acronyms you may come across would be QTS and PGCE. 

These acronyms refer to two different types of qualifications which will help your chances of securing teaching jobs. But what separates them? What do they mean? Always Flourishing has compiled this short guide to help you.

(H2) Differences between PGCE and QTS

QTS stands for Qualified Teacher Status. This essentially means you are authorised to teach in any school in England. Some teaching courses offer applicants the opportunity to achieve QTS; however, a PGCE (which stands for Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is designed to improve your chances of landing teaching positions.

You can have QTS without having a PGCE, which will give you the freedom and flexibility to teach in any school. Whether this is in a primary school job, secondary school position or nursery teaching vacancy, having QTS will give you that minimum qualification. However, a PGCE in education will provide you with a Master’s level-equivalent qualification. Therefore, you may have the option to teach in England and possibly beyond. 

Below you’ll find a closer look at both these teaching training qualifications.

(H2) What is QTS?

  • Why should you get QTS?

    QTS is required to work as a teacher in special or maintained schools across England. In some cases, you can get into teaching without QTS (such as for academy or independent school jobs), but you may not end up with the higher-paying teaching positions.
  • How do you get QTS?

    To achieve QTS, you need to meet the Teachers’ Standards (as determined by the government). You’ll be assessed through written evidence and observations of you in the classroom. QTS training is carried out for most training providers over 9-12 months.
  • Eligibility requirements

    You need to have an undergraduate degree and GCSEs of C and above in English, Maths, and a C in science if you want to become a primary school teacher. To enrol, you’ll also need to pass the Professional Skills Test in both Literacy and Numeracy.
  • How does it differ from PGCE?

    Obtaining QTS means you’re qualified to teach but doesn’t necessarily confirm you’ve studied the art of teaching itself. Nor does it ensure you understand the theory of teaching. A PGCE, contrastingly, involves a series of written assessments and practical assignments, at a Master’s level.

(H2) What is PGCE?

  • Why should you get PGCE?

    PGCEs aren’t mandatory to teach in schools in England, but the additional study and assessments may help give you a more thorough understanding of educational best practices. Also, PGCEs are internationally-recognised, which is beneficial for exploring international teaching job opportunities.
  • How do you get PGCE?

    There are several routes into studying for a PGCE. Graduates who train directly through a university can obtain a PGCE (alongside QTS) after nine months. There are school-led courses to explore, which are preferable for those who prefer learning through practical experience.
  • Eligibility requirements

    Generally speaking, you will need a 2:2 degree or above. If you want to teach in a secondary school, your degree should ideally be in your chosen subject. Alongside this degree, you’ll need GCSEs of grade C or higher in English and Maths, as well as a minimum of C in science if teaching in primary schools. Some universities and training providers have their criteria, so it’s best to confirm them directly.
  • How does it differ from QTS?

    The PGCE itself doesn’t qualify you to fill any teaching position in England, hence why many aspiring teachers complete their PGCE alongside QTS. The PGCE is almost an added qualification to QTS, which drives home teaching theories and best practices. It does require more work than QTS-only courses, which is worth bearing in mind for time-conscious candidates.

Applications, for example, through UCAS Teacher Training, can be made throughout the academic year. It’s widely-recommended that you apply as early as possible.

Once you have completed your training, you’ll likely be wondering when you can start applying for teaching positions.

(H2) Sign Up to Education Recruitment Agencies

One of the simplest and most effective ways to secure education jobs is registering with Always Flourishing. We work with numerous schools in the Thames Valley to fill vacancies directly while supporting a plethora of aspiring candidates, trained in various subjects.

We also provide continued support through numerous CPD training courses. Get in touch with us to find out more.

6 Qualities Schools look for in NQTs

What is a Newly-Qualified Teachers?

As a newly-qualified teacher, or NQT for short, it’s fair to say applying for teaching jobs can be both a daunting and exciting experience. After having completed your degree, achieved your qualified teacher status (QTS), and written your CV, you’ll be looking for teaching jobs with schools in your local area.

As an NQT, your ideal teaching job positions will be one with a school that will support you through your induction year. With this added support, you can develop valuable teaching skills to help you fill any teaching vacancy with confidence and an open mind.

Much the same as if you were working as a supply teacher or a teaching assistant, you can learn valuable and applicable skills and qualities that you can take with you when you apply for teaching jobs. Whether this is working full time in independent schools or nurseries, and anything in between, it’s important to remember that schools looking to recruit are after teacher with particular skills.

It will help you stand out from the crowd if you demonstrate certain traits in your professional and personal demeanour, both in and out of the classroom. To give you some additional help, as is our approach and ethos with our candidates, Always Flourishing have outlined six qualities you should aim to have when working as a teacher.

What to Show as an NQT

  1. Proactivity – excellent teaching is reliant on NQTs who are proactive. These same rules apply if you are becoming a supply teacher or stepping up into a school leadership position; if you’re capable of planning, setting goals and working towards them. Schools are always on the lookout for NQTs who can instil a positive classroom environment, while being resilient in their execution as well as planning, marking and commitment to supporting other teaching staff.
  2. Knowledge – while it’s no secret NQTs need to demonstrate excellent expertise in their chosen subject(s), showing a firm, more comprehensive understanding of the education sector, policies, news and updates to the curriculum. The Department for Education website is an excellent hub for this kind of information.
  3. Passion – any teacher, NQT or not, will be looked favourably upon if they show devotion and love for their subject. Not just the topic itself, but the art of teaching it as well. Enthusiasm, coupled with an aspiration to teach, will collectively boost your students’ willingness to learn. It also helps if you can apply your passion to different sectors, with pupils who may take to your subject slightly differently. For example, teaching in private schools might garner different reactions to say, state schools. The passion should never falter, though.
  4. Eagerness – for an NQT, it’s vital you show you’re willing to learn while you secure a permanent teaching position. Even though you’d have already spent years learning and perfecting your craft in education, showing that you want to learn more will put you in the school’s good books. You could ask your school if they run any additional mentoring schemes or programs involving other staff members, or request to observe other teachers on implementing new teaching methods. Working as a teaching assistant or a supply teaching assistant can help you lock this down, early on in your teaching career.
  5. Teamwork – remember that in your first teaching position, while you may be teaching classes alone, the external department very much operates as a team. If you show you can work well in a group, your department can enhance how your students learn and work. By sharing ideas, knowledge, resources and time, your department can also be a valuable support network as you settle into working as a full-time teacher.
  6. Communication – for both your students and your fellow teachers, showing a practical ability to communicate is, arguably, most important of all. It goes beyond just teaching your chosen subject effectively. Raising any concerns and asking for help from your school on how to apply yourself better, is equally important. Communication, by extension, helps your department function effectively as a team and helps you to be more proactive.

Are you an NQT Looking for a Teaching Job?

Always Flourishing is an education recruitment agency who help candidates land permanent teaching roles after achieving their QTS. This could be in primary schools, secondary schools or even the SEND sector, and we also help aspiring teachers who want to work as a teaching assistant or land temporary, supply teaching positions. We always work diligently to support candidates across the Thames Valley looking for work. Register with us for free today.

Are you a School Looking to Recruit NQTs?

Always Flourishing can help your school recruit permanent teachers. We have access to a vast talent pool of NQTS looking for permanent teaching vacancies. As an education agency with a dedicated, specialist team of trained recruiters with valuable teaching experience, we know who is going to be ideal for filling your teaching vacancy.

Speak to us today to see how we can help.

Are you a School Looking to Recruit NQTs?

Guest Blog: Differentiated Learning Activities In The Classroom

In the second of our guest blog series, experienced History Teacher, Neil Martin discusses how to create and utilise differentiated learning activities in the classrooom Neil regularly blogs on his own website Actuality which offers expert insights into many education viewpoints. 


Differentiation In The Classroom

Over the course of my career I have taught both set and mixed ability classes. Both have their merits, set classes allow for a standardisation of pace (accelerated for the highly able for example allowing for stretching and less restriction with regard to content) and mixed ability allow for a range of interpretations to be brought to a lesson as well as allowing students to act as enablers for the success of their peers. Nevertheless, within each example there is still a range of ability and differentiation is always an element of planning that needs to be considered.

But what do we mean by differentiation?

In a broad sense differentiation meeting the needs of individual pupils so that they can learn. This not only means addressing the needs of those with SPLD but also those higher ability students.

Does differentiation mean different?

Richard Harris (Associate Professor Director of Teaching and Learning, Reading University) suggests that instead of attempting to slim down the curriculum by giving SPLD students easier material or indeed, simply giving the best students extension material we can allow all to succeed by following three clear principles when planning our lessons (Harris, 2005).

1 – Make the work engaging 2 – Make the work accessible but challenging 3 – Decide where you want to plan obstacles

What does this mean in practice?

Sensible planning; in essence that allows every student to learn appropriately no matter what their ability. Suggestions as to how each principle could be demonstrated in a lesson are as follows.

1 – Make the work engaging

For example:

  • A suitable narrative as an introduction to a particular topic
  • Art as a way of introducing a key historical concept – cause and consequence, change and continuity, significance
  • A foreign language news article relating to current events in the UK
  • An overarching Historical Enquiry
  • Physical history – props and artefacts
  • Revealing learning objectives later on in a lesson
  • Code breaking to discover learning objectives
  • Testing knowledge and ability with a tricky problem as students begin a lesson

The list could be endless; Harris concludes by explaining that enthusiasm and puzzlement are crucial, deliberately building up to what you want to do (Harris, 2005).

2 – Make the work accessible but challenging

At times I imagine that we are concerned that if pupils are not writing they are not learning. Nevertheless, pupils can still exercise and develop their analytical skills by not putting pen to paper. As educators it is vitally important that we consider a range of approaches. This in turn enables all forms of learner to achieve (audio, visual, kinaesthetic) and also promotes variety in the teacher's range of delivery.

Some further suggestions:

  • Using contradictory evidence to produce an account of an event.
  • Physically walking through a maths problem.
  • Visual images that can be used to pursue 'layers of inference'.
  • Presentation work as an end result focussed on points of certainty, probability and doubt.

3 – Decide where you want to place the obstacles

Within this element we are encouraged to consider the outcomes of our lessons; we can decide what to leave in and leave out. For example:

  • Considering the amount of quality writing that we want pupils to complete to consolidate their learning.
  • Using difficult text and employing methods such as reading it out dramatically together, identifying and addressing tone.
  • Highlight tricky words then use ICT with pupils to define those key words.
  • Summarising also presents a solution to difficult text or problems, especially if pupils are given a limit to that summary. This is a technique that can be built on as the pupils become more familiar with having to address more and more complex themes and lengthier articles.

Does differentiation matter?

In essence, yes it does matter, but, it is important not see differentiation as an obstacle to planning. See it more as opportunistic from a student and teacher perspective. Differentiation unlocks so much potential in the classroom and can offer the student a platform for future success and the foundation for achievement. For the teacher it expands and improves a repertoire promotes self-reflection and analysis of one's lessons and indeed one's students. So perhaps when you are planning your next lesson think outside the box a little and be different!

Harris, R. (2005). Does Differentiation have to mean different? Teaching History, 118, 5 - 12.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs and Recruitment

The UK recruitment industry has grown significantly over the last several years. Despite the uncertainty around Brexit, recruitment has been one of the most sought after sectors. Businesses and organisations are regularly turning to recruitment consultants to cope with substantial growing demands year-on-year.

However, COVID-19 caused a significant impact on the recruitment industry. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have affected cash flow management, financial planning, staff turnover and communications.

The pandemic’s impact on the education sector has also been widely-documented. Education recruitment agencies, such as Always Flourishing, have been feeling the effects of the pandemic from both angles, and we’ve seen first-hand how much it has affected teaching job applicants, as well as the schools who are looking to hire.

Has COVID-19 Changed the Recruitment Industry?

There are three primary ways in which coronavirus has affected the recruitment industry, including teaching recruitment. The pandemic has led to the following:

  1. Hiring needs
  2. Recruitment methods
  3. Job market

Changing Hiring Needs of Schools and Organisations

While some industries have seen a decline in hiring, others have seen their hiring needs soar. Before the pandemic, schools were regularly relying on local teaching agencies, which could source permanent and supply teachers to fill a wide range of short and long-term teaching vacancies. Partnering with numerous schools across the Thames Valley, Always Flourishing found candidates for full-time and supply teaching jobs in primary, secondary and independent schools, nurseries and SEN institutions.

Due to the lockdown, self-isolation and distancing policies that the government introduced, companies and schools had to close for a sizable time. As a result, their recruitment was put on hold, even as the country approached the beginning of a new term.

Unfortunately, both schools and businesses were forced to make thousands of people redundant due to growing uncertainty. There has been a massive reduction in working hours across some industries. While others, such as healthcare and food retail, saw their recruitment needs soar.

In September 2020, the government announced that all schools would reopen to accommodate children. While some schools could resume hiring teachers for vacant positions using a permanent and supply teaching agency like Always Flourishing, the resulting Tier 4 restrictions for the South East may mean that has to take another backseat come the start of the January 2021 term. It’s expected that schools will remain open amongst these restrictions in these areas.

Changing Recruitment Methods

During the first national lockdown, companies and schools were forced to adapt to how they recruit new staff. Many organisations have begun to recruit new people remotely, using video conferencing tools.

This shift was a challenge for many, but Always Flourishing adopted virtual recruitment strategies to help our clients fill teaching jobs. Whether this is for a short-term cover supervisor job or a long-term teaching assistant position, or anything in between, we still are working diligently to support our clients. We will continue to do so once the January 2021 term begins.

Companies that relied on old-school, face-to-face recruitment processes, were forced to switch to online recruitment. For schools, this would be especially difficult as they are often finding themselves lost in a sea of emails, spreadsheets, data and CVs to handle their own teaching recruitment in-house.

By using an education agency that utilises reliable technology to our advantage, virtual recruiting was more comfortable to adjust to. COVID-19 has posed challenges for teacher recruitment. However, it has helped organisations innovate and modernise their recruitment processes. As a recruitment agency, we are still primarily focused on putting wellbeing back into education and adopting the safest, most efficient way to recruit teachers (remotely for the time being, of course) for our schools.

Changing Job Markets

Before COVID-19, many industries were facing a talent shortage. The key challenge for some businesses and schools was attracting the right candidates.

The job market is undergoing a significant change, due to the growing presence of remote working, brought upon by COVID-19. The prevalence of working from home could shift the job market entirely, opening up many other doors.

This could also apply to schools, many of which heavily relied on remote teaching during the first lockdown. Adopting this might be the best solution to fighting the pandemic throughout the remainder of winter.

How Always Flourishing are Embracing Change

It will be interesting to see what 2021 brings, but here at Always Flourishing, we still want to help aspiring teachers find the right education vacancies for them. We also want our clients to know that we will continue to support them even if many of you are now facing Tier 4 restrictions in the South East.

Register a vacancy with us today or contact us if you have any questions.

Why Extracurricular Activities are Important

Are Extracurricular Activities Important?

Extracurricular activities in schools, particularly independent schools, are considered valuable experiences and commitments for both students and teachers. It's widely believed that both pupils and teachers can learn and develop positive, tangible skills by interacting with one another in organised extracurricular activities.

If you are interested in becoming a private school teacher, it's worth bearing in mind how highly a school values their extracurricular program. While you may not be actively forced to commit to teaching extracurricular courses that you cannot do, you may be expected to play a part in some way or another. Private school jobs often require NQTs (newly qualified teachers) to commit to what can often be a busy and loaded after-school and co-curricular program.

Private school teaching jobs may, in light of this 'expectation', incur additional hours that you'd be required to commit to. But the personal and professional rewards you can reap from this commitment should not be overlooked. For many independent school teachers, the extent of what some schools can offer outside the classroom is what makes the private school sector an attractive prospect.

Extracurricular Activities Examples

If you are looking for independent school jobs, here are some activities that many schools in this sector offer:

  • Drama (school plays being notable examples)
  • Music
  • Art
  • Sports
  • Dance
  • Duke of Edinburgh scheme
  • Journalism
  • Debating society
  • Public speaking

The above list shows just a few examples of extracurricular activities that many teachers in the independent sector can expect. While you may not be required to commit to all of them, think about how they all collectively support student development. Schools which value academic progress while encouraging students to pursue outside interests need to rely on teachers whom they can trust to uphold their values.

Extracurricular Activities for Teachers

Teachers have a pivotal role to play in supporting pupils in and outside the classroom. Participating in these activities as a teacher can bring you some incredible personal rewards, as much as it can for pupils.

Below are some reasons for aspiring teachers to participate.

  1. Take a break from the classroom – it's no secret that ECAs offer a welcome break from studying for pupils. Teachers can also benefit hugely by committing to activities that are both interesting and fulfilling. Becoming an independent school teacher may require commitment and balance of both classroom and extracurricular duties, but many prep school teachers find this to be a positive thing.
  2. Developing other skills – teaching an extracurricular subject which involves learning skills, can ultimately help students to improve their skills in other areas. Not just academically either. For example, if you are a private school teacher and you take part in the school debating society, some students may find their confidence in giving class presentations improve. This kind of progress and development is a testament to you as much as it is to them, and they will value their growth, and who helped them.
  3. ECAs improve your CV – with any teaching job application, demonstrating the skills and abilities of some ECAs could be a massive boost in your job hunt. If you can offer something beyond teaching work experience and your time working as a supply teacher, your next full-time teaching role might be closer than you realise.
  4. Social opportunities – ECAs provide excellent opportunities for you and pupils to interact with others, either in the same school or outside of it. If your school competes alongside other local private schools in a particular sport or activity, these activities make great opportunities to develop connections and potentially make friends.
  5. Help in other areas – learning how to teach and coach your activity in different ways, can be a valuable asset to you in the classroom as well. You may find that your time running an extracurricular activity can give you a greater sense of control and discipline while you are teaching private school students in the classroom. Or vice versa. Students you teach outside the classroom can experience a different side of yourself, and letting your guard down slightly (when teaching a class) allows you to translate to them more effectively

Independent Prep School Jobs

Showing experience running and getting involved with ECAs will not necessarily guarantee you a full-time teaching job. No hire will be made on that basis alone. But independent school job postings will be ripe for your pickings if you still demonstrate a willingness to get involved.

Always Flourishing can help any independent school looking for staff as well as those looking for teaching jobs in private schools. We recruit candidates who are looking for permanent teaching vacancies as well as leadership and supply teaching roles.

We have an extensive network of local independent schools who rely on our services and approach to recruiting teachers for them. Across the Thames Valley and Home Counties, we have successfully hired for independent school teaching jobs, where our candidates have gone on to have successful and rewarding teaching careers.

Register with us today if you are ready to apply for a position, or if you are currently in a school, consider Always Flourishing to handle your recruitment process.

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

Guest Blog: Stressed By Grammar?

Does a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar destroy creativity?

How to use grammar to enhance creativity, rather than detracting from it This current debate is never far from the primary school staffroom agenda. It's an interesting question, which never sits easy with those of us reclining on the least populated side of the fence. The side which says 'it shouldn't – and if it does, we need to do something about it.

I do, of course, totally understand where this perception comes from. The grammar test at the end of Key Stage 2 is totally 'Gradgrind' in its approach – learn the facts and prove that you know them. Drill, drill, drill to learn them; revise, revise, revise to recall them; fill in the correct box and get the mark. Children are then expected to successfully apply these skills in their writing, assessed by their teachers following 'guidance' they have been given; guidance that will undoubtedly be changed yet again in this turbulent world of assessment. I firmly believe it is the slavish teaching to this checklist (particularly by teachers who lack confidence in their subject knowledge) that risks destroying young children's love of writing before they have even begun, masking their imagination behind an opaque veil of fronted adverbials, antonyms and an overwhelming, stagnant heap of success criteria.

Our challenge is to enable our young people to achieve mastery of grammar as early as possible, at a sensibly graduated pace and level relevant to their maturity – within this firm foundation, high quality teaching should, indeed must, allow their creativity to take flight. Children need grammar so they can make choices about how to use language to their own ends. What we absolutely do not want is to be faced by a year four class asserting (as they did to me at the start of this term), that the first sentence of their holiday recount really should begin with the word 'amazingly'...

Reassuringly, the very next day I was inspired by an outstanding workshop at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Teller Centre, where our Year 5 children sat entranced as they heard of the process behind the great author's swashboggling inventiveness. The interactive tasks within the centre re-lit the flame of imagination which, in these days of screen passivity, risks being dampened for an entire generation and beyond. Every child embraced dressing up, developing new characters, creating a film script and jotting down ideas in their writer notebooks – a skill which our school embraced further when we took our gifted key stage 2 writers to a workshop at Buckingham Palace, where they explored various art works as sources of inspiration, guided by a published author.

A recent article by David Crystal confirms what all education professionals already know – good grammar is essential when related to meaning; get it wrong and your audience may well misunderstand what you're trying to say. As the notebook I recently bought my nephew states so succinctly on the front cover: Grammar is about knowing the difference between your rubbish and you're rubbish.

But where David goes further is by using an example that confirms exactly why good understanding of grammar supports creativity and freedom of expression. It should not, and does not, destroy it. When you take this stance, language comes alive as we teach how to use it to manipulate writing – what a privilege it is to explore this in the creative classroom through encouraging children to analyse the writing of their favourite author, in this case Terry Pratchett's positioning of adjectives in this sentence from 'The Carpet People'.

'He saw the gleam of ten thousand eyes, green, red and white.'

Enabling mastery of grammar is our challenge as educators, without compromising on a rich, vivid, creative curriculum that brings language alive, feeds the imagination and discovers meaning in our communications. Exploring writers' techniques, broadening reading, investigating vocabulary, embracing a range of experiences, writing for a purpose, developing a love of learning - this is our mission. Amazingly, if we get the balance right, our young writers will fly.

Keep up with the very latest education news, job opportunities and inspirational articles by following Always Flourishing on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+

Copyright: Debbie Rainer
Deputy Head Teacher
St Anthony's Catholic Primary School and Nursery, Slough

Why Should Schools Consider Teaching Recruitment Agencies?

Teaching recruitment agencies, including supply teaching agencies, have become an integral part of most UK school recruitment strategies.

As an education agency of choice for many schools across the Thames Valley and surrounding areas, Always Flourishing would like to share some of the reasons why these schools choose to use us, as well as a number of other reputable education recruitment agencies.

What does an Education Agency Do?

While education agencies are often called supply agencies, many of them provide staff for a wide range of contracts. Short-term supply teaching cover and supervising is one of the services we provide here at Always Flourishing, but we also fill longer-term teaching vacancies, for example, to cover maternity leave, sabbaticals and long-term illnesses. We also recruit for full-time teaching positions and roles in leadership.

Like many organisations across several industries use independent recruitment companies as part of their hiring strategies, schools use education recruitment consultants to fill roles they have available. At Always Flourishing, however, we offer plenty of added value support to schools. We're former teachers ourselves and understand the current challenges schools face, exacerbated significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact of COVID-19 on Schools and Agencies

Schools play an essential role in supporting children, not just with their education but also with their health. The national lockdown in the UK in March 2020 forced schools, nurseries and colleges to close for all students, with the exception of children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. The UK government also announced that GCSE and A-Level exams would be cancelled, with grades awarded based on teacher assessment and predicted grades, which resulted in widespread controversy. Now, as we are partially through the 2020-21 school term, with some schools being forced to close temporarily due to ongoing fluctuating COVID-19 infections in teachers, the pressure has not exactly eased for schools.
Always Flourishing are committed to helping our partner schools stay on top of the current situation, by providing short and long-term cover supervisors, supply teachers, teaching assistants and other staff where we can. If you are considering using an education recruitment specialist, here are ten reasons why you should consider doing so.

How can Teaching Recruitment Agencies Help You?

Teaching agencies have the ability to spot worthy candidates for available vacancies, while schools struggle to find the time to effectively screen applicants. A teaching recruitment specialist can save schools so much time and resources by handling recruitment for them, ensuring the best possible candidates are hired.

  1. We have access to a large talent pool of candidates.

    Always Flourishing has extensive databases of potential candidates. Whether they're actively looking for new teaching jobs or not, our team has taken time to assess what they are looking for in an ideal vacancy.
  2. We take care of the whole screening and interviewing process.

    It's safe to say we are adept at filtering through candidates that are unsuitable for your vacant position(s), and ensure that the very best are passed onto you for consideration.
  3. Using an agency allows you to focus on retaining your existing staff.

    Although hiring teaching staff is a necessity, the teaching recruitment process is time-consuming and can have a detrimental effect on your current teachers. Delegating it to an agency will free up your time to focus on improving your current staff's skills, subsequently improving your staff turnover and retention.
  4. You have more room and time to focus on what's going on in your school.

    The time it takes to source and recruit staff distracts you from your core school activities. This time could be spent doing the things you need to do to help your school run smoothly.
  5. It's very low risk.

    Most recruiters have a "no placement, no fee" policy, meaning that if a hire is unsuccessful, there is no fee to pay. This means that education agencies have to make smart decisions at passing the very best candidates for your needs.
  6. Confidentiality.

    We always keep our clients' names confidential in the first instance, usually until the candidate has passed the initial screening and progressed past an initial conversation with the recruiter.
  7. Industry experience.

    We are all former teachers and education professionals, so we know the industry very well.
  8. Get access to qualified, professional applicants quickly and efficiently.

    Education agencies only focus on recruiting for education positions. Whenever new challenges or changes present themselves, we don't let this affect our work.
  9. Added value services.

    We offer much more than standard recruitment too, including a carefully-selected talent pool of video interviews, tracking and sourcing talent consistently and independent advice on development and management.
  10. A team of specialist recruiters covering different sectors.

    We have dedicated people recruiting for primary school jobs, as well as jobs in secondary schools, nurseries, private schools, the SEND sector and much more

Ready to Register a Teaching Vacancy?

Advertise a vacant teaching position, or contact us today to see how we can help.

Benefits of Using a Local Teaching Agency

What are Education Recruitment Agencies?

Teaching recruitment agencies are important. Although some in the education sector disagree, working with an education recruitment agency can have numerous benefits for both candidates and schools. In many cases, local agencies have been instrumental in placing teachers with the right schools for them, who then go on to have very successful careers working in these schools. At the same time, without the help of an education agency, it’s fair to say that some schools would have struggled to find the perfect candidates if they had avoided using a trusted, reputable agency for their recruitment.

In the past, teaching agencies have been perceived as an unwanted cost to schools, with some of them opting instead to keep the entire recruitment process in-house.

However, schools who are recruiting for teaching roles are facing difficulties, namely that teachers are less likely to stay in positions long-term these days. Recruitment is a full-time role in itself which possesses its own share of hardships, mainly the fact that it’s time-consuming, costly and offers no concrete guarantee of success.

It’s abundantly clear why schools are choosing to outsource their recruitment to teaching agencies nearby instead. They choose to work with agencies that possess the resources, time and experience to find the right staff for the roles the schools are constantly trying to fill. Whether it’s a supply teaching position, a classroom teaching assistant, or even a head teacher vacancy, education recruiters (such as Always Flourishing) are suited to help bring the right candidates to the school, that is also right for them.

We’ve taken the time to outline a few benefits of working with education agencies, to hopefully give you some perspective of how it can help you in the long run.

Why Work with a Recruitment Agency?

    1. Time-Saving - As mentioned above, the hiring process eats up a lot of time. Advertising vacancies, carrying out background safety checks, and arranging references and interviews for (potentially) multiple candidates, all while balancing other responsibilities can prove challenging to co-manage effectively. By working with education recruitment agencies, you are handing over these duties and responsibilities over to a team of experienced professionals who are doing this constantly. Therefore, they know what they are doing. Always Flourishing will handle all the applications, run necessary reference, qualification and safeguarding checks on all candidates. Please refer to our 5-Step Process for more information.
    1. Large Talent Pool - Education agencies such as Always Flourishing have access to plenty of suitable candidates who have already registered looking for a teaching position. Local teaching agencies who cover a broad spectrum of schools in their local area have access to numerous aspiring jobseekers, and it’s just a matter of picking the right ones for the ideal position that will work for them, as much as it will for the school. If a school advertises for the position themselves, they run the risk of missing potentially higher-qualified or more suitable applicants. Working with an agency means schools are covering more bases. The agency will even be able to gauge how a candidate will do in a school before the school speaks to them, meaning that there is less risk of timewasters. This is explained in more detail in the 5-Step Process, mentioned above.
  1. Knowledge, Experience and Relationships - Local education recruitment agencies (with a wealth of experience working in education and recruitment) consistently remain one step ahead. They are aware of the talent that is available, where they are and what they are looking for, while also being clued into schools who are recruiting teachers for specific and sometimes rather unique and diverse roles. Good recruiters know how to get hold of candidates, whether they are passively looking for work or are after a very particular type of role that accommodates an already busy lifestyle. Agencies with a wide network of clients, candidates and associates can connect various people with one another seamlessly if they are knowledgeable of what everyone is after. Agencies can start and establish relationships that might fall by the wayside to in-house recruiters because schools are predominantly focused on recruiting for specific teaching roles, rather than building connections. The quality of connections is always measured and delivered by recruiters, who need to have a proven track record of finding the right candidates for the right positions (and vice versa). Educational recruiters act as partners to schools, acting as scouts of the market, who will bring schools the best talent out of a huge selection, and give them continued support along the way.

Teaching Agency Work

Always Flourishing are proud to provide complementary and added value services to our partner schools. We are committed to supporting our schools and other educational institutions with their teacher recruitment processes.

Always Flourishing are proud of the reputation we have built over the years of putting teacher and professional wellbeing at the epicentre of everything we do. We understand that teachers make all the difference in the workplace and most importantly, to pupils.

We are committed to providing the best support to careers of teachers in our local community. Our mission is to put wellbeing first in all areas of education recruitment.

We recruit for supply, permanent or leadership roles across the whole of the educational sector in Berkshire and the Home Counties. This includes:

If you’re looking for teaching positions in Berkshire or neighbouring counties, register with us today by clicking here.

If you have any more questions, please find our contact details here.

Practical Guide: Keep Your Teacher Wellbeing In Check

Our Primary recruitment consultant and former KS1 Primary Teacher, Annie Davis, explains the necessary actions to be implemented to ensure school staff wellbeing remains a priority.

Looking back on my time in the classroom, it's clear to see that I actually prioritised my wellbeing, happiness and mental health as a teacher. Again being a teacher, I learnt most of these wellbeing ideas from my own personal experience which I am very excited to share!

1. Limit The Time Spent On One Activity.

Make Time For You As A TeacherDuring my tenure as a Primary teacher, I knew of colleagues who would spend hours upon hours trying to complete the myriad of tasks we teachers face.

I myself would be found in the early hours of the morning completing the usual mix of marking, planning and data inputting that is required of every teacher. I wanted to give my students my all so they would have the best lessons and the best feedback possible.

Looking back, I would sometimes spend too much time on one lesson, so I became short-sighted to the fact I had a weeks worth of lessons to plan!

After realising this was probably not the best tactic, I decided to limit the time on each task in order to complete more lesson plans to a good quality rather than just having one amazing lesson plan and the rest all average.

It's not easy by any standard and there times when a little extra planning is required but all in all my priorities were in place and because I wasn't so drained and stressed, the students got the very best out of me!

2. Not Every Day Is Going To Be A Good One.

We all have bad days; sometimes a lesson does not go entirely to plan or you can be dealing with poor concentration or bad behaviour.

There was this one lesson when a student with EBSD, who had been fantastically behaved prior to this, decided to walk out of my classroom in full view of the executive head who was observing! This one incident resulted in additional worries and doubts about my capabilities as a Primary Teacher even though this incident was a complete one-off.

Rather than worry about this one shortcoming, my actions as a teacher were sensationally put into perspective by the child's parent who, at the end of the year, wrote me a beautiful letter saying how I had developed such a fantastic relationship with him, how my support was thoroughly appreciated and that I had made such a positive difference to her son as a teacher.

When you are a teacher having one of those bad days, take a moment to think, have you made a difference as a teacher? Have you always tried to do everything you can with your students? If the answer to both these questions is yes, then you're doing amazingly well! Both good and bad days come in waves so it won't be long until your back to feeling on top again.

3. You Can't Complete Everything.

Week in week out, we have a mountain of work that needs completing from data entry, student reports and the dreaded Primary SATS. This workload is enough to stretch anyone.

At times I would often isolate myself in the hopes of having the necessary space in order to complete everything on my to-do list.

I've learnt that as a teacher you are never going to finish everything and the only way I did not develop an unhealthy mindset is to think about what I have achieved in rather than what's been left on the back burner.

I was also advised, as a trainee teacher, to make something known as a "ta-daa" list when, upon completing a task, I would find a way to reward myself by saying "ta-daa!"

4. Make Time For You!

Yoga and WellbeingI'm pretty sure you have all heard this piece of advice more than once. But seriously, it is advice that is so worth sharing and undertaking.

After a long and draining day, I would often find myself taking solace in my second passion, music. Once a week on a Thursday I would leave school at a reasonable time and head to Reading to participate in a local steel pan group rehearsal.

I absolutely love playing music since it helps me to forget all of my pent up stresses and worries and just enjoy the moment.

Also, I was lucky enough to take up yoga which was provided by my former school. Yoga was so calming and exercising is a well-known way to relieve stress.

Make the time to indulge yourself in a hobby whether that be sport, music, dancing or just simply relaxing by reading a book or watching some television. It gives you that all-important mental break that enables you to feel refreshed and ready to take on any additional work you have to do.

I urge all of you to try and implement these wellbeing ideas ready for when you return to the classroom in September. Even if they seem difficult to follow when you are really busy, I can guarantee that it will make all the difference!

Further Resources

If you are looking for additional tips on improving your wellbeing as a teacher, please head to the following sites.

How to Manage your Wellbeing as a Supply Teacher

Managing your Wellbeing during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The coronavirus pandemic has put a huge strain on schools, teachers and pupils alike, across the globe. Teaching staff the world over have played a vital role in our response to coronavirus, allowing key workers to get to work and providing support to their local communities. Most importantly, they have supported their pupils in continuing to learn, albeit online, while they may have also faced their own challenging personal and professional situations.

Supply teachers are a dedicated part of this workforce, and have also gone through uncertainties in recent months. Some will not have been eligible for furlough, while others may have faced redundancy. The first lockdown meant many supply teachers were forced to take an unexpected break from teaching due to shielding or perhaps just not being needed as a substitute teacher for the moment.

As schools started to stagger their reopening for pupils, the education system had to reinvent itself. For some pupils, returning to school after an extended time at home has highlighted behavioural issues or learning gaps, and supply teachers must be prepared for that.

Getting a Job as a Supply Teacher or Supply Teaching Assistant

As teachers may have to self-isolate or be off sick, schools are more and more in need of good quality supply teachers and supply teaching assistants. If you are looking for this type of teaching vacancy, get in touch with one of the supply teaching agencies, such as Always Flourishing, who help schools in the Thames Valley and Home Counties fill short and long-term teaching jobs. 

We recognise that even as we approach 2021, the landscape for teaching job vacancies might seem polarising and daunting. So not only have we written some tips to help you manage your wellbeing, but we are here to answer your questions and help ease any worries you may have.

Wellbeing Tips for Supply Teachers During COVID-19

  1. Create a routine that works for you

    The nature of a supply teaching position can be unpredictable; you are sometimes called on at the last minute to cover sick leave or just help schools where most needed. This means there isn’t a consistent work pattern - therefore a routine - with this type of teaching job. Having a routine can help you feel grounded and secure, so consider creating a morning routine that gives you the energy and positivity you need to face the day. This could be starting off with a healthy, nutritious breakfast, or doing some yoga, or even spending 15 minutes reading a book, newspaper or your favourite blog. Prepare what you need the night before, get into good sleeping habits and try to let light in as soon as you wake up, to increase feelings of wakefulness.
  2. Engage with other supply teachers in your school/community

    While being a substitute teacher can be very flexible, it can also be isolating as there is often little chance to form meaningful connections with permanent teachers. However, there is a large network of supply teachers in the UK and you can still feel you belong to a community by finding an online forum or Facebook group of supply teachers. Here you can share experiences and pick up supply teaching tips as well as techniques on how others manage their wellbeing.
  3. Take time out for other interests or hobbies

    Why not use your free time, or the time between teaching positions, to pursue a hobby you haven’t done for a while, or find a new interest? Spending time doing something you enjoy will enhance your wellbeing and levels of positivity, so you come back to teaching jobs with renewed vitality.
  4. Sign up with a dedicated supply teaching agency

    Register with a dedicated teaching agency, such as Always Flourishing for supply teaching jobs and the worry of constantly looking for work will be eased. Supply teaching agencies will contact you whenever a suitable vacancy arises, so you can concentrate on your work and enjoy your time off between jobs.

How Always Flourishing can support Supply Teachers in 2020

We are a leading education recruitment consultancy and provide supply teaching assistants and teachers into schools that need help, particularly during this uncertain time. 

Contact us today to find out how we can help you find your next supply teaching job.

Guide for New Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistant Role

The role of a teaching assistant (TA) has evolved over the years. Supply teaching assistant agencies are consistently on the lookout for qualified and experienced TAs, and a graduate TA is frequently a position that schools need to fill regularly. It’s an incredibly popular career choice these days.

Teaching assistant jobs will typically be in primary and secondary schools, as well as nurseries and colleges. TAs will support a teacher with general classroom preparation and lessons, and can work with children that require specific additional learning needs.

Responsibilities will depend on the status or level of a TA’s qualifications and experience, as well as the needs of the school they are working in. What does a teaching assistant do? Many of the responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Managing challenging behaviour in the classroom
  • Supporting social and emotional development of pupils
  • Ensuring students stay focused and engaged in learning
  • Providing support outside the classroom, covering absences and invigilating exams
  • Committing to extra-curricular activities
  • Covering off duty periods and providing short-term lesson cover

Teaching Assistant Training

You don’t necessarily need a degree, as some schools will employ many TAs and provide ‘on the job’ training. However, more senior positions will require a certain level of teaching assistant qualifications, as well experience working in a professional education setting. Some of the key teaching assistant skills will be a solid standard of education (most schools stipulate GCSEs of C or above in Maths, English and possibly the sciences too), and the confidence to apply numbers and write the English language.

There are a number of teaching assistant courses that you can complete to enhance your skills and confidence in the classroom. Achieving some of these qualifications can improve your chances of securing a full-time or supply teaching assistant role for the future.

  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Level 2 TA Certificate
  • Level 2-Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools
  • Level 3 TA Diploma
  • Level 3 Award (and Level 3 Diploma) in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

How to Become a Teaching Assistant

There are several routes you can take in becoming a teaching assistant. Many of the aforementioned accredited TA courses are offered at colleges throughout the UK, either full-time or flexibly available during employment. Online courses are available as well, meaning you can get the full experience from your home, at your own pace. As previously mentioned, some schools prefer TAs to undertake training while employed, to deal with additional learning difficulties and behavioural challenges. Keeping up-to-date with curriculum changes, skills progression and new technologies is highly recommended, which are covered in our CPD courses.

Work experience is also a good way to strengthen your chances of securing a permanent role as a TA.

We’ve outlined some valuable tips for TAs, which they will be expected to display consistently inside and outside the classroom:

  • Professionalism in attitude and working with others
  • A positive attitude to working with children
  • Recognition and respect for diversity
  • Commitment to every discussion and lesson, with a strong work ethic
  • Care for students’ physical and emotional wellbeing

Teaching Assistant Agencies

Schools are regularly looking for teaching assistants. Typically speaking, they are seeking TAs who are after full-time work, with some experience. Interestingly, while it’s generally preferable to have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), recently that has become less of a requirement for more schools over the years.

When schools get in touch with teaching recruitment agencies such as us, they usually make it abundantly clear they trying to recruit a specific type of TA. From our perspective, we receive plenty of TAs (either with QTS or with significant experience) looking for work, and we always recruit the best candidates for schools that are right for them, and vice versa.

The problem is that many of the TAs we strive to recruit for schools aren’t being accepted. This is because the candidates, while having an abundance of professional and valid experience and skills, just aren’t what some schools are looking for. This is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue for every party involved. 

A large reason for the lack of roles filled is that numerous TAs have regular commitments outside the classroom. For one reason or another, this is unavoidable, as the scope of the role is quite broad. Many TAs only have the ability or desire to work part-time, they could be unsure of their career, or perhaps they could be balancing childcare or other requirements that they can’t avoid. Unfortunately, as more vacant full-time roles become available, this gap is only widening. 

This is not to discredit any aspiring TAs wanting to get into work through Always Flourishing. We have an affinity for recruiting those wanting permanent, supply or leadership roles.

In order to maximise your potential as a TA, we recommend getting as much experience as possible for you; in other words, we recommend getting used to working long hours! We recommend working in SEN schools if you can, even on a voluntary basis. This makes a world of difference for you on a personal level as well as giving you the skills and abilities to offer additional support and care for students with additional learning difficulties.

We aim to give TAs a renewed sense of confidence within your teaching career, and a sense of accomplishment after every single lesson you assist with. We want parents and schools to be amazed at your work. Our approach is to create as little stress as possible for you, and make you feel proud of your position as a TA. 

Why wait? Register or give us a call today.

How Teachers Can Help Students on A Level and GCSE Results Day

Enabling Students to Survive GCSE and A Level Results DayThe long awaited A Level results day on the 18th of this month and GCSE's on the 24th and we can guarantee it's been penned in the diary by many teachers and students alike. Students across the country will be anxiously opening an envelope which can determine so many aspects of their future. We take a look teachers can do to make sure students survive this highly anticipated day.

Ensure you're GCSE and A Level students know and realise this...

Whether they achieve the grade they want or if they unfortunately don't, their results are only a reflection of how well they did in the exam. Teachers all know that exams can't measure how kind they are, whether they are skilled at tennis, or how they are just a joy to teach. Of course grades are hugely important but if your students have a desire to achieve and a passion to learn, they will achieve ANYTHING they set their minds too and we hope you reiterate this with them on the day.

Be a Shoulder to Cry On

There will no doubt be tears shed on results day both of happiness and disappointment. Organise a quiet and private area for students or teachers to express their emotions away from unwanted eyes. Once a student has had time to digest their results, gently reassure them of the many other options available. It's best not to press for an immediate decision of an alternative route just yet so give your students something they can take away and explore at a later stage.

Use your 'Know How'

Whether this is your first year of GCSE or A Level results, you will know what students need to do in order to get the next stage of education. Whether a student has met or exceeded their target grades or if they have not, you will be briefed on how you can offer your advice on the next steps whether that be resitting, deferring for a year. If you do find yourself slightly at a loss, talk to your senior manager on how best you can support your students through this period.

Praise, Praise, Praise

After countless months planning, revising and undertaking a myriad of exams across many subjects, you students rightly deserve every ounce of praise you can give for the sheer hard work they have put in over the exam season. Congratulate them. Celebrate with them. Take Selfies with Them. Share a hug with them. We all know that you as a teacher have put in a significant amount of work and by praising your student's, they will be hugely grateful for the contribution you have made!

Say Goodbye

In some cases, results day is the last time you will see some of your students. Even though the main focus of the day is to support your GCSE or A Level students through the next part of their academic career, do make the effort to say goodbye and thank them for being your students.

What to Consider Before Applying for Jobs in Private Schools

Schools Hiring Teachers for Private School Jobs

Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, you will find private school job openings. Always Flourishing specialises in matching vacancies with candidates and regularly posts jobs from schools across the Thames Valley hiring for private school jobs.

Private School Teachers

Parents spend large amounts of money sending their children to private schools, so they expect a lot back in return. 
While the application form will be fairly similar to that of a state school, there are some crucial points to consider before getting started with your teaching job application. Don’t assume that the interview process, for example, will be similar to that at a state school, nursery or any other educational setting you may already be familiar with.
Before you apply for private school vacancies, think carefully about the following points:
  1. Make sure your credentials are up to scratch

It’s not a legal requirement to have a recognised teaching qualification to teach in a private school, but it’s preferable as it shows clear commitment to teaching as well as knowledge of the skills needed. Most private schools employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The school will confirm your credentials, so be wary of embellishing your facts. Also make sure your references are top-notch, as they will definitely be contacted.
  1. Exemplify your love of teaching

Private and independent schools hire staff who are dedicated, professional and passionate about teaching their subject to young people. Your passion for teaching should shine through everything. Always back up your statements with examples. But also remember, it’s important to show interviewers that you have made mistakes and learnt from them as well. 
  1. Think about how you can add value
Including details on any particular experiences, competences or leisure interests shows you to be a well-rounded person and someone who can add value to the school. Mention any involvement you’ve had with working with children, for example, running clubs or summer camps. Show how your experience here has enriched your knowledge of teaching and how children learn. Schools are always keen to hire staff who can make a wider contribution.
  1. Show enthusiasm for getting involved with extracurricular activities

In your interview, it is highly likely that you will be asked what you can contribute to extracurricular activities. Teachers in private schools are often expected to be involved in, if not in charge of, extracurricular activities, as these make up a big part of private education. Think about what you could add in the fields of music, sport or drama. Offering to help with extracurricular activities the school provides, also demonstrates that you’ve done your research and looked at the school website.
  1. Explain how you will build rapport with teachers, pupils & parents

This is another important factor when applying for private school job vacancies. Think of innovative ways you can liaise with parents, how to get the best out of your students and create good relationships with your peers. 
The most important thing is to take your time, do your research, find out all you can about the school and its values, your role, the environment, and always ask lots of questions. When you’ve filled out the form and written your personal statement:
  • Make sure you have been thorough, detailed and clear. 
  • Spend time reviewing your answers and statements
  • Get someone you trust to read your form through, as a second pair of eyes, to spot any mistakes, typos or inconsistencies.

How do I find Teaching Jobs in Private Schools?

Always Flourishing is a leading education recruitment agency that supports educators looking for their next role across the Thames Valley and Home Counties. They work with all kinds of preparatory and senior schools in the UK and take pride in providing excellent candidates at all levels of the profession, from headteachers to classroom teaching assistants.

For guidance and support in preparing for a role in a private school, get in touch with Always Flourishing. Even during this pandemic, we can help candidates find their ideal route into teaching.

Register today or contact us for further details.

Becoming a Supply Teacher – 5 Key Tips

photo-teacher-helping-pupil-with-readingBecoming a supply teacher or a supply teaching assistant is a route many full-time teachers take at some point in their careers. It comes with its own share of obstacles, certainly, but in the long run it’s a great way to secure a degree of greater control over your career, while offering more flexibility than most positions in the education sector. 

Supply teaching gives you an opportunity to organise your own work schedule and experience a wider variety of teaching situations and schools. In many cases, supply teacher jobs come with the added benefit of requiring less after-school paperwork and planning. While that might sound appealing to some, there is often a sense of uncertainty for many aspiring teachers willing to jump into any teaching jobs out there.

There are several things you should consider before applying for teaching jobs, whether you are already experienced in education or new to the profession. Supply teaching is no easy task, and despite some of the perks that come with the profession, it still isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.

Here are some key pieces of advice for supply teachers:

1.       Research

This is arguably the most important step to take before you’ve even begun to apply for any supply teaching role. Being thrown in at the deep end is not an ideal situation to be put in, hence why researching all schools and ensuring you have the right skills applicable to any role is vital. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to secure a role at your dream school, so you have to account for all types of opportunities. Identify the right skills you will need for a supply teaching position in a school that will fit your needs, and identifying the levels of potentially challenging behaviour you’ll be able to deal with comfortably. Plan meticulously so you can manage your expectations accordingly.

2.       Be confident

Prospective supply teachers are always expected to show devoted confidence in their abilities, and an evident passion in pursuing a career in education. Confidence needs to shine through when supervising and monitoring pupils’ behaviour, dealing with any immediate issues that arise and handling them appropriately, answering questions, collecting work and giving feedback. If you aren’t confident that supply teaching is the right career path for you, it will show. You need to prove to yourself most of all, as well as other staff and pupils that it is what you want to do.

3.       Be flexible

One other valuable piece of supply teaching advice is to be as flexible as possible. Being a substitute teacher means you can take annual leave as you wish, take time out for other commitments and choose as and when you work, and how often. This is a huge benefit for those with children of their own as it gives them more control over arranging childcare. It helps to have a positive attitude to taking on last-minute positions that become available, as this could increase your chances of more regular work… if that’s what you’re after.

4.       Communicate

This is a general rule of thumb that earns supply teachers large amounts of trust from pupils and other members of staff. Those who can communicate well in lessons is one of the many reasons why several experienced supply teachers go on to have very successful careers in education. One of supply teaching’s many benefits is that teachers get to experience a variety of teaching opportunities, with children of all ages, backgrounds, learning abilities and other staff members from all walks of life. Being a strong communicator will earn you more connections, and being completely transparent about your desire and ambition to teach will help open doors for you professionally, as you get further into your teaching career.

5.       Find the right agency

There are a wide range of supply teaching agencies, but the trick is finding a consultant within an organisation that you trust and find comfortable to work with. A great education agency will not only be able to source you work, but will be wholeheartedly supportive to you as well. This is particularly important for aspiring supply teaching assistants whose desire is to feel reassured and encouraged by an agency who cares for their workers. You can get a better understanding of more suitable education recruitment agencies if they come highly recommended by experienced teachers.

Making best practice of these five keys to supply teaching is recommended in any type of situation you find yourself. Whether you are making your first strides into becoming a teacher, or whether you have many years of teaching behind you, demonstrating the ability to communicate confidently, flexibility, and a willingness to take on any challenge will ensure you are maximising your potential in getting into supply teaching.

Always Flourishing have built a solid reputation of consistent supply teacher recruitment across the Home Counties and Thames Valley. We recruit for a variety of teaching roles and leadership positions on a supply basis, but are not limited to this. We also seek to recruit prospective teachers and support staff in contract and permanent roles as well.

For more information, and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via our contact form.

3 Reasons Why Cooking Should Be Compulsory in Schools

Want to secure an exciting new Food Technology role? Find a brilliant opportunity with us where you can inspire students to fall in love with cookery. Learn more here.

A recent survey from The Times highlighted that young people are overspending on takeaways more than any other age group as well as only knowing on average 4 recipes. Do schools have a duty to teach students the basics of cookery?

BBC's Good Food magazine revealed that 16-24 years old are spending £63.65 on food per week. In comparison to this, adults are typically spending £57.30. Could this spend be combatted by students learning the fundamental basics in cooking? We very much agree so.

Food Technology is such an important subject that is unfortunately not emphasised that much in schools according to various reports. Liz Goodwin, a former head of a government advisory group, has warned that many generations of young people lack key culinary skills and with current health issues such as childhood obesity and diabetes being so prominent in the media, do schools have any responsibility to counteract this?

Why Should Cookery Be Emphasised On The Curriculum?


1. It's An Essential Life Skill

Chopping Food

According to a number of sources, basic cookery is something too few students are capable of doing. Students reportedly lack confidence and knowledge in any kitchen setting and sadly, this has resulted in them showing little desire or interest in cooking their own meals.

Upon studying both the practical and theoretical elements of Food Technology, students will ultimately receive a sound knowledge of key culinary skills needed to cook a basic meal. But, there are so much they can additionally gain from learning cookery.

In a short span of approximately 50 years, British cuisine has dramatically evolved with dishes such as Spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Tikka Masala being just as iconic and popular as Fish and Chips. Impressionable teenagers can broaden their horizons by cooking dishes from various cultures and by doing so they can experience different tastes and flavours as well as having an improved knowledge of the world simply through food.

2. Cookery Can Improve And Promote A Healthy Lifestyle

There is no denying that fast food takeaways such as McDonalds, Dominos and KFC are popular for students. But, there is also no escaping the fact they serve some of the unhealthiest food available at significantly low prices.

Just one slice of Domino's Pepperoni Pizza contains 310 calories and 16 grams of fat with just 8 slices totalling to 2,480 calories and 128 grams of fat!

When students are cooking for themselves, they can determine exactly what goes into their meals, how to maximise the nutrient value and whether ingredients are organic or not.

If students still crave an unhealthy takeout meal such as Southern Fried Chicken, why not give them a recipe to make a healthier alternative that still packs plenty of flavour but, with fewer calories and fat.

Check out Jamie Oliver's healthy version of Fried Chicken below!


3. Students Can Uncover A Potential Career.

Nadiya Hussain and Jean Marshall

Teachers are known for igniting sparks and championing talent in young individuals and with students passionately exposed to cookery, who's to say that some of them won't end up in the catering and hospitality industry?

Many highly successful cooks, in particular, Great British Break of Winner, Nadiya Hussain was introduced to elements of cooking by their Food Technology teacher.

Many notable food figures such as Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal have inspired numerous individuals to get fully involved in cooking and teachers equally share the responsibility to do this.

 Do you agree that cookery and Food Technology is something that should be heavily emphasised in the schools, then do let us know in the comments? If you are seeking a new Food and Cookery teaching role where you can inspire the upcoming generation of food-loving students, then register your details here. 


How to Get a Job as a Nursery Nurse

What Does a Nursery Nurse Do?

Nursery nurses care for and nurture babies and young children up to 5 years old, making sure they are safe, well looked after and stimulated. They support their physical, intellectual, social and emotional development and help them learn, play and develop in a clean, well-organised and happy environment. 
They plan and supervise a variety of fun and stimulating activities throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors. As well as introducing literacy and numeracy, these activities can include crafts, messy play, cooking and reading. 
Duties also include:
  • Nappy changing and supporting with toilet training
  • Teaching basic hygiene and helping wash their hands
  • Giving children meals, drinks and snacks
  • Keeping records to inform parents and carers about their child’s day.

Nursery teaching jobs require the candidate to have plenty of energy, as well as the ability to understand and engage with young children, and make things fun. It’s fair to say this type of education job is no less demanding than any full-time or supply teaching job. 
The main skills needed for a nursery nurse are:
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Creativity and imagination
  • To be a good listener 
  • To be a good observer
  • The ability to keep calm in challenging or stressful situations.

When working in a nursery, having a sense of fun is as important as being reliable, punctual, a good communicator and being well-organised. A good sense of humour is also a bonus. Nursery nurses often look after children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and with different abilities, so they need to be open-minded in their approach. Flexibility is also required, as children can be unpredictable and some activities do not always go as planned.

Nursery Nurse Teaching Qualifications

To apply for a job as a nursery nurse, you ideally need a valid childcare qualification at Level 2 or above. It is also possible, however, to successfully fill nursery vacancies without a qualification, as a Nursery Assistant. Nursery Assistants can train and work towards a qualification while on the job, much like how PGCE undergraduates and teaching assistants can take on-premise teacher training while studying.
A fully-qualified nursery nurse will either have a CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education, a BTEC National Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning and Development or an NVQ Level 3 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development. The NVQ level 3  and the CACHE level 3 are equivalent to the NNEB (National Nursery Examination Board).

Transferable Nursery Nurse Skills

Even if you don’t have any work experience in a nursery or childcare setting, any experience in looking after children will help, such as babysitting or helping with younger children at home. Teaching experience, even with older children, will set you up in good stead for a job in a nursery, as you will have acquired good communication and listening skills. 
With enough experience working with young children, you will be able to take these skills with you throughout your career. Whether this is in a day nursery, or whether you secure a part-time or term-time nursery job, these skills will stay with you.

Where Can I Find Nursery Job Vacancies? 

Nursery jobs can be found in independent nurseries, pre-schools, creches, family centres and hospitals. In these uncertain times you may be worried that finding a job won’t be easy, but since nurseries and childcare settings reopened in June, good childcare professionals continue to be needed. Likewise, managers of childcare settings may worry that it will be difficult to recruit high quality candidates, but Always Flourishing are experts in providing nurseries with the highest calibre of childcare professionals.

Search Open Nursery Job Opportunities

Always Flourishing is a Berkshire-based nursery recruitment agency that regularly lists nursery jobs across the whole of the Thames Valley, as well as in the Home Counties. We are always on the lookout for talented Nursery Nurses and Assistants, as well as Room Leaders, Supervisors and Managers. 
If you’re interested in applying for nursery vacancies, register with us today, or contact us for more information.

Wellbeing In Education: How To Raise Awareness & Engagement Across Your School

As an educational organisation focused on raising awareness and improving the wellbeing of those involved in education, it's very disheartening to hear that an estimated one in ten children and young people have a diagnosable mental disorder. Shockingly, that's the equivalent of three pupils in every classroom across the country. (DFE Supporting Mental Health in Schools and Colleges)

A recent Survey by the NUT and YouGov (Teacher Survey on Government Education Policy), stated that 53% of teachers were considering leaving the profession within the next two years. In addition to this alarming metric, 61% of teachers stated the reasons they have considered leaving were down to the volume of workload on top of the 57% percent who outlined that a poor work/life balance was to blame.

In this extensive 3 part blog post, I'll be covering ways in which schools can raise awareness on mental health and positive well-being, how they can offer preventative support and effective ways to engage and involve parents and families.

Part 1: Raising Awareness And Delivering Information (Published 27th November 2017)

Raising Awareness And Delivering Information

The understanding of mental health and where individuals can go for support is essential in eradicating stigmas and ensuring that mental health stops being a taboo subject. It's unsurprising that there are a number of unflattering and misinformed stereotypes surrounding people with mental health issues and these negative and one-sided attitudes need to change.

Both teachers and schools have a tremendous responsibility to positively raise awareness for mental health and wellbeing in education as well as ensuring parents and guardians are fully involved.

Mental Health Trackers

Understanding your emotions and knowing your triggers can be incredibly powerful in improving yourself or your students understanding of positive wellbeing and how it can be maintained and managed. There are so many trackers out there designed to identify aspects of mental health such as 'Your Year According to Your Moods', sleeping patterns and even analysing and looking at patterns between your habits and your emotional state.

In addition to Mental Health trackers, there are a number of popular logs and mindfulness reminders people can replicate. For example, both students and teachers can have a journal filled with prompts relating to mindfulness techniques such as self-reflection, and self – care.

Should you or your students seek some ideas for their own mental health and self-care trackers, check out 21 Genius Ways To Track Your Mental Health by Anna Borges on Buzzfeed.

Awareness And Support Boards

Classroom Bulletin Display Board - We Got This Wednesday

@miss5th/ Via

Eye-catching and informative display boards in classrooms, corridors or the staffroom is a sure fire way to keep students and staff members up to date with tips, advice and places to go in regards to improving and maintaining their wellbeing.

This idea could be transformed into a vibrant and engaging lesson, where you allow your pupils to take ownership of the displays it by and ask them to research key information sources to include and what the final design is going to be in order to produce a meaningful resource.

An alternative for this is using display boards to inspire students to share messages of support and encouragement to individuals to give them a positive boost.

Should you be stuck for ideas for a good awareness board, check sites such as Pinterest for some fantastic gems of inspiration.

Awareness Days/Weeks

The vast majority of Primary and Secondary schools have awareness days or even weeks for popular organisations or events such as Children In Need, Red Nose Day, Sports Week and Arts Week. Encourage your school to plan an awareness day or week based on any key dates and events in the mental health awareness calendar.

February - Time to Talk Day, Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Children's Mental Health Week

March - University Mental Health Day, World Bipolar Day

April- Stress Awareness Month

May- Mental Health Awareness Week

September - World Suicide Prevention Day

October - World Mental Health Day

November - National Stress Awareness Day, Anti-bullying week

Educational Videos

BBC Education Video

Whilst staff training, new resources and guest speakers are hugely effective at raising awareness and accurately informing individuals of good mental health and wellbeing, schools with limited funding simply can't afford to utilise them as regularly as they would like to. With that in mind, online videos are not only a cost-effective but powerful way of engaging and educating individuals within schools.

Just recently, the BBC launched a series of animated videos aimed at Primary Teachers as a resource to be used when on the subject of mental health. In addition to this, there are a number of brilliant videos available on sites such as YouTube and specialist mindfulness and wellbeing sites.


Assemblies are crucial in promoting a positive and accepting school culture, as well as being an important way to share information surrounding mental health. Assemblies offer many opportunities to encourage an open environment for staff and students to talk about mental health. Some popular topics for school assemblies in relation to mental health and wellbeing can include, bullying, coping with stress and mindfulness. Guest speakers from external organisations such as charities such as Mind, and Place2Be and are another great option for an assembly.

Lesson Resources

 Students undertaking an engaging lesson

The DFE research undertaken in its recent Survey shows that structured learning sessions make a positive impact on children and can easily be incorporated into regular time times or PSHE lessons.

The PSHE association have recently created a number of lesson plans, in collaboration with the Department of Education (View lesson plans here). There are lesson plans for students in KS1 all the way up to KS4 which ensure that teachers address an array of common mental health issues in young people, promote wellbeing and resilience from an early stage and make certain that teaching is appropriate to the age and maturity of pupils.

An LA maintained Secondary school who took part in the recent DFE survey had upper year students write a school and parent newsletter every fortnight, as well as organising events such as Mindfulness Week.

Get Ready for Revising!

Revision and Studying TipsEaster is nearly coming to a close and whilst that brings the advent of the summer term, it also bring something highly important to the forefront. The GCSE and A Level exams. Students across the country will be heavily preparing for these exams which have such a big influence on their chosen career path. 

Teachers will also be constantly aiding and supporting students to make sure they are ready for these life changing exams and with that comes the focus of revision.

Revision is a challenge for many as it can sometimes be deemed long and monotonous. Sometimes students feel they don’t benefit from revision, But with these fantastic revision tips, we can ensure that students and teachers will make the most of out of revising and hopefully will be prepared for the 2016 summer exams.

Read more

Benefits of Schools Using Education Recruitment Agencies

What is Education Recruitment?

Undoubtedly, school recruitment is vital to the success of a school. The process of advertising for teaching jobs, finding appropriate candidates that meet the criteria (with the right teaching qualifications) and narrowing down your decisions can be time-consuming and incredibly costly. If recruiting teachers yourself, the process is usually overseen by someone who already has a plethora of other responsibilities.

The purpose of education recruitment is to attract the perfect candidates, and it’s how schools implement and execute their teaching recruitment processes that determine how successful they are. The reality is that many schools find, after considerable time advertising for teaching careers, that the costs start to pile up, it becomes too time-consuming, and the risks of not finding the appropriate teaching job applicants outweigh the benefits.

Especially during these unprecedented times, schools now have the additional pressure of trying to fill teaching vacancies following new education sector government guidelines

This is where an education agency can help alleviate a huge amount of that pressure.

What do Education Recruitment Agencies do?

Education recruitment consultants are responsible for attracting candidates who are interested in getting into teaching, and matching them for available teaching positions. These positions could be on a permanent, leadership or temporary basis. A consultant will have ideally built positive relationships with numerous partner schools in their local area, and gain a thorough understanding of the types of teaching candidates they are after.

Education recruitment agencies also work diligently to attract candidates, interview them, run comprehensive background checks to match them with schools that are looking to hire. Put simply, an education agency is responsible for finding the perfect applicant to fill full-time and supply teaching jobs, an applicant who is the right fit for the agency’s client.

Teaching recruitment agencies take the stress away from schools handling their own teacher recruitment, and offer a cost-effective, time-saving alternative to sourcing teachers who want to develop and grow in their careers. Agencies try and strike the perfect balance.

What are the Advantages of Using Education Recruitment Agencies?

Schools sometimes sit on the fence when it comes to deciding on potentially using education recruitment services. They may have concerns about whether their chosen recruiter will be able to source the perfect teaching job applicant, and whether their experience in recruitment demonstrates the ability to target the right candidates.

The reality is that schools often aren’t fully aware of just how beneficial an education consultant can be. Here at Always Flourishing, we are no strangers to schools expressing concern over the processes, and how we work. We are here to give you advice on how advantageous using an agency can be for schools.

  1. Experience in the industry

    Teaching agency workers aren’t just experts at matching candidates with jobs in education. Many recruiters work across several sectors (ranging from primary school jobs and secondary school jobs all the way through to nurseries and SEND schools). This wide variety of services gives an agency like Always Flourishing that collective industry insight. What’s more, our consultants all have extensive teaching experience, which helps us provide best practice for hiring and current teaching recruitment legislation.
  2. Filtering of applicants

    If advertising for vacancies internally, there is no guarantee that a teaching job ad will land in front of the school’s desired target audience. Either there may be an overwhelming response from applicants that aren’t the right fit, or very few people will respond. By using an agency, you’re increasing your chances of reaching an ideal number of potential, high-quality teachers, with the consultants having filtered through numerous applications.
  3. Hours of administration work is saved

    School recruitment, naturally, comes with a seemingly never-ending list of administrative duties. Screening and communicating with applicants, notifying unsuccessful ones, scheduling interviews, checking references and providing feedback all takes time. Outsourcing to an education recruiter means these duties are given to a dedicated consultant, so schools can focus on other important business.
  4. Extensive reach across local and regional areas

    The best education recruitment agencies will have built successful relationships with schools in multiple counties and districts. This gives them access to a huge talent pool of potential candidates in those areas. Always Flourishing work to recruit teachers for schools across the Thames Valley.

Looking to Recruit and Retain High-Quality Teachers?

So if you’re convinced that permanent and supply teaching agencies can work with you, the next step is to book a call with your agency.

At Always Flourishing, we offer more than just recruitment services. We offer plenty of added value options to make filling teaching jobs easier for candidates and clients, offering bespoke services and flexibility. We want to see how we can help you through this testing time, so get in touch with us today.

Who Else Wants Their Students Actively Revising For Exams And Fully Benefiting From It?

Revision. For students, it's a laborious period spent with multiple highlighters and an avalanche of books and worksheets. Most students really struggle to immerse themselves in a good revision period and they show a real disliking to undertaking it even though the benefits are so important to their exam results. Getting a student to properly revise is by no means an easy challenge for any teacher so how do teachers get their student's engaged with revision and how can teachers enable students to fully benefit from the time they spend revising?

4 Strategies For Teaching Students How To Revise

4 Strategies For Teaching Students How To Revise

Photo credit: Romer Jed Medina via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One of the first hurdles student face whilst revising is the fact that they simply don’t know what strategy works for them and how they can best apply it. Rebecca Alber brilliantly outlines 4 excellent revision strategies that have students enthusiastically engaged in their revision compared to feeling unwilling and unmotivated to even attempt it.

The Revision Power Hour

The Revision Power Hour

One of the biggest challenges students and teachers face with revision is the time it takes for to memorise content, improve exam technique and obtain high-quality feedback. With this in mind, teachers should encourage students to undertake a Revision Power Hours which combines all of the above making it a powerful revision strategy.

Supporting Learning Through Effective Revision Techniques

3. Supporting Learning Through Effective Revision Techniques

So many teachers encourage students to summarise texts, highlight key information and continuous re-reading. If that works for some students then, by all means, let them stick with that. However, what other effective strategies are there? Shaun Allison outlines some exceedingly effective tactics that he has tried with his year 11 students.

How To Teach Revision

How To Teach Revision

As always, The Guardian Teacher Network offers fantastic pieces of actionable advice and in this blog, their pool of education specialists discuss their top tactics for teaching effective student revision.

Creative Revision

Creative Revision

Good revision requires good resources and TeachIt has a number of innovative, eccentric and unique revision aids to help students revise.

Top 10 Revision Apps For Students

Top 10 Revision Apps For Students-min

Near enough everything in the world right now is online or mobile orientated especially with current pupils. From creating interactive mind maps, flashcards and even creating SMS stories, you can truly take revision into the digital age.

Five Ways To Bring Revision Alive

Bring Revision Alive

Ask any student if they would willingly revise. We can guarantee that the answer will be a pretty solid no. With that being said, Dean Jones from Firth Park Academy has identified a need to bring new life and a fun edge to revision which he outlines in this post.

Revision Technique Ideas

Revision Technique Ideas

Rachel Hawke is quite right when she says 'I find that it gets difficult to think of new and engaging ideas as the lessons continue and students learn in different ways'. With this in mind, Rachel has put together an interesting article on the new revision techniques she uses with her students.

Five Proven Hacks To Help Students Tackle Revision

Five Proven Hacks To Help Students Tackle Revision

We'd love to hear your suggestions on how you get your student's revising so do let us know in the comments or by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

The 3 Most Effective Tactics to Engage Your Students!

You've seen it all before, you're teaching a class about a truly exciting subject. One that should inspire them. The lesson is planned meticulously and you hope that your student's revel in the information presented to them - But they don't. Instead, you have to fight for the attention of a group of students staring blankly at the ceiling or outside the window. Why aren't they interested? Why aren't they inspired?

In this blog we will detail how you can improve your student's level of engagement to create an exciting and progressive classroom atmosphere.

Read more

How can Teaching Recruitment Agencies and Schools Support NQTs?

Newly-Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in September 2020

It’s doubtful that anybody who was intent on applying for teaching jobs a year ago could have anticipated the current challenges facing the education sector. If there are teachers reading this who have completed their university teaching course - and perhaps already reached out to teaching recruitment agencies for some short-term supply teaching work - and have either started (or are about to start) their NQT year, they may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed.

Approximately half a year ago, it was a very different time for many industries and sectors across the country. Those who undertook their NQT year in the 2019-2020 term would be entering into teaching positions that, thanks to COVID-19, have had a spanner thrown in the works. Lockdown forced teachers to work from home where possible, which meant that large portions of permanent or supply teachers, cover supervisors and teaching assistants were spending more time out of the classroom than in it.

The school term has already started, and we cannot deny that the upcoming academic year brings an unprecedented number of challenges. 

However, schools should support staff in any way possible as they embark on new teaching job opportunities. These teachers are going to need as much help, guidance and direction as possible, so what can schools do to ensure they’re protected, secure and looked after? What’s more, how can education recruitment agencies like Always Flourishing help? All is explained below.

How can Schools Support Their NQTs?

  1. Get to know the NQTs’ strengths and weaknesses

    If you’re currently working as a teacher, while mentoring an NQT in some or all of your classes, it’s important to find out where they excel. We cannot forget that in these times, students will also be feeling somewhat concerned and overwhelmed, so you should always ensure your NQT is fulfilling their obligations while giving children a rewarding experience. This year, it may be more difficult to do, but not impossible.
  2. Provide specific, laser-focused CPD

    It’s likely that NQTs are very familiar with CPD training courses, but 2020’s NQTs will probably need more support than usual. Trainee teachers may have less experience of long-term lesson planning, and how to adapt accordingly. When structuring your teacher training support, consider the gaps in your NQTs’ learning and ability to deliver specific subjects.
  3. Offer additional mentoring

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re teaching in a private school full-time, or working as a teaching assistant in a SEND school, we’re all aware teachers don’t have much free time. It’s no different for NQTs. Offering regular, extended teaching support will help them get a broad understanding of the school they’re teaching in, under non-’normal’ circumstances, and give them the opportunity to raise any concerns.
  4. Don’t make assumptions

    Due to a lack of final placements for most NQTs working until just before lockdown, there may be systems, processes and opportunities they may have missed. It’s helpful they’re clued into all of these, and schools don’t assume they know them.
  5. Don’t underestimate them

    At the same time, anyone who is interested in securing a permanent teaching position should be encouraged as much as possible. Empowering NQTs to take initiative and continue their professional development will be key. Balance is essential.
  6. Offer a reduced timetable

    It may be worth considering reducing the teaching timetable for your NQTs, to begin with. While this may be a financial concern for schools looking to hire teachers, with support from the government, this could be beneficial. Creating a job-share environment with a higher-level teaching assistant paired with an NQT could work well on a reduced timetable.
  7. Consider extending the NQT year

    It’s worth considering whether an NQT year could be extended to allow for lost time, for those that could benefit from it. Some local authorities are rolling out the Early Career Framework, which could be massively advantageous to today’s current NQTs.

How can Teaching Recruitment Agencies Support NQTs?

While schools have a duty to be supportive to anyone who holds a teaching job position in their school, the same can be said for any teaching applicants who come through education agencies. Always Flourishing are no different.

Our ethos is putting wellbeing into education, for both staff and students. We position the right candidates into the right teaching positions with our partner schools, and our range encompasses full and part-time jobs in primary and secondary schools, nurseries, independent schools and the SEND sector.

Read about our values and our added value services to candidates.

We help schools across the Thames Valley fill short and long-term teaching opportunities and position the candidates who will flourish, and who will bring good fortune to their schools.

How To Survive Your NQT Year Like These Education Experts

For many teachers, they'll have stepped back into familiar territory by returning the classroom after a fantastic summer holidays. However, they'll be a number of Newly Qualified Teachers undertaking their first role. It's both an incredibly exciting and daunting time for NQT's which is why we've scoured the web to find some absolutely amazing articles full of inspiration and advice so NQT's can hit the ground running!

The Key To A Successful NQT Year

The Key To A Successful NQT Year - Copy

Adam Speight is an award winning teacher as well as a highly successful Head of Department. In this thought-provoking article posted on Innovate My School, Adam outlines a number of highly effective and actionable strategies that can ensure NQT's every bit of success in their year.

100 Tips For NQT's

Teachers Classroom

Teacher, Writer and Presenter, Sue Cowley set herself the challenge of tweeting 100 NQT Tips before her latest release. If you're ever seeking inspiration, this is most definitely your go to post for short and easy to digest pieces of advice.

NQT Special: How to protect your wellbeing

Wellbeing In Education

Teaching is by no means an easy profession which is why we encourage educators to really focus on their wellbeing. The Education Support Partnership is a charity that solely focuses on offering support to education specialists. This article outlines a number of tips especially for NQT's as to how they can maintain their mental health and mindfulness.

Some Quick Tips for NQTs and Trainees

Quick Tips and Ideas

If you are seeking a little bit of inspiration for effective classroom strategies, preparation tips and how to deal with all aspects of behaviour, make use of all the expert tips in this useful post from Teaching Battleground.

Life as an NQT: 10 survival tips from those who've lived to tell the tale

Teaching Tips - Copy

It's always a great idea to take on board the advice of people who have been in the same boat as yourself. With tips on time management, effective planning as well as how to cope in common situations, four fantastic teachers share their tactics on surviving as an NQT.

Interview advice for teachers- How to ace your next interview!

Interview Advice for your next Teaching JobFrom what you wear to the top questions asked. The Always Flourishing consultants; Andy, Becky and Laura, have provided the ultimate guide to great interview success for your next teaching role using their experiences with many local schools. This blog covers the many aspects of an interview from the preparation stages right the way through to questions you should ask your potential employers. 

Read more

Education Agency Advice: Supporting Schools Post-Lockdown

Returning to School after COVID-19 Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented level of stress and uncertainty for so many people, particularly across the education sector. Anyone who currently holds any level of teaching job has been affected in some way by this unexpected turn of events.

Below are just some of the increasingly prevalent topics around the 2020-2021 term, following the government’s announcement of mandatory returns to schools. COVID-19 has played a significant part in:

Given the pandemic is still ongoing, it is very difficult to gauge just how severe the impact the situation has been on every pupil, teacher and those in school leadership positions.

As an experienced education recruitment agency, the team at Always Flourishing know fully well how much pressure there is on schools, staff and students even in a pre-coronavirus time. Our education recruitment consultants all possess a wealth of experience in teaching, and therefore, given our position, mission and values, we want to encourage all school leaders to take steps to ensure that their staff and student wellbeing is looked after during what will be a challenging term.

Tips to Support Pupils and Staff

  1. Engage parents - We would recommend headteachers offer opportunities for parents to engage with you directly. Many parents will no doubt be worried or stressed about their children returning to school, so offering an ear to them to voice any concerns will go a long way.
  2. Training - it makes sense to identify gaps in knowledge or confidence around pupils’ mental health, as well as that of your staff. Providing extra training resources which teachers can complete, without interfering too much with their teaching time, can send a positive message of support and encouragement.
  3. Pastoral care - make time, over the course of several weeks, for pupils to connect with adults. It’s also important you ensure staff are supported, with processes in place for reporting any pastoral/safeguarding issues.
  4. Teamwork - consider the support from teaching agencies like us at Always Flourishing, and other organisations, who you can draw on for suggestions, advice and ongoing help. We want to lend our hand to anyone currently expressing concern regarding their placement or teaching job application. Working together is key here.
  5. Positivity - consider how effective your school counselling, learning support and mentoring schemes are. Use this knowledge to identify ways in which you can keep everyone safe, while thinking of positive aspects of the lockdown situation that you can implement into the school. Embrace the new way of working in schools, and put wellbeing at the heart of your institution, and you may find the whole situation somewhat easier.

How Have Teachers Been Affected?

Since the nationwide lockdown was announced, it’s no secret that anyone with a teaching position would have been concerned about the ongoing situation. 

The pandemic has meant that teachers, parents and pupils have had to find ways of continuing education throughout a crucial time period of many school year groups. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic has resulted in some redundancies of teaching staff. This of course is never an ideal situation to be in. Newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) have, over the years, been in high demand to boost comparatively low teaching ranks at schools across the country. With fewer full-time teaching job vacancies than perhaps there were before, many teachers have turned to supply teaching jobs.

Supply teaching positions offer a great deal of flexibility and autonomy for candidates, and with continued support from a Thames Valley-based education agency like Always Flourishing, we can help schools fill teaching agency jobs for both short and long term cover.

We recognise that staff numbers can be a growing concern, especially during a time like this, but we want to reassure you we are committed to helping schools recruit the right teaching applicants. This doesn’t just apply to supply teachers, but those looking for full-time work, or working as a teaching assistant too.

Ongoing Support from an Education Agency

If you are looking for dedicated, bespoke support regarding job applications, vacancies, sourcing candidates and more, then get in touch with Always Flourishing today. We’re more than happy to listen to you and offer advice and ongoing support where we can.

Having more support staff on hand, who know what they’re doing, can be a big difference in how your school operates during this time.

How To Seamlessly Transition Into A School Leadership Role

Making The Jump From One Leadership Role To The Next As we approach the end of the academic year, many of you will be thinking about new roles that you will be taking up in September. Many of those roles will have a noticeable increase in leadership responsibility. Whilst a natural transition for some, stepping up to leadership can be underestimated in its complexity and often support provided can be insufficient or ineffective. It is claimed that nearly half of transitioning leaders underperform in the first 18 months.

Whether your next teaching role is your first foray into education leadership, or if you have undertaken a fresh new career change in a new environment, make use of my 5 tips for successful job transitions to help you to hit the ground running straight away.

1. Reflect On Your Current Role

Depending on your own circumstances, the choice to leave your last teaching job may have been either an easy decision or a hard decision. Whatever your reasons for leaving, it will be helpful to reflect on your own practice as an educator in order for you make the best possible impact in your new position.

Educators are natural reflective practitioners, so I recommend that you to take the time to evaluate your successes in your current teaching role, recognise and appreciate what you have achieved through the experiences and opportunities that your role has brought. Doing so will help you to gain a full understanding of the skills and strategies you have developed and help you to identify which are most useful to you moving forward.

In addition to this, it's equally as important to determine what you might need to develop further. There is a well-quoted phrase that 'what got you here will not get you there' which highlights the need to develop the skills and strengths that will be needed for success in your new role. Take into consideration areas of your pedagogy and leadership skills needed in your new role and identify 3 skills and strengths to work on through your transition.

A firm understanding of yourself as an educator sets you in a very good frame of mind for when you undertake a new leadership position. So make this your first priority when you transition from one job to the next.

2. Celebrate Leaving

A leaving do may not be every teacher's cup of tea, but they serve an important psychological function in helping us to let go of the past and to move forward. Saying goodbye to talented and trusted colleagues acknowledges the ending of a positive phase of your career and helps you to bring a role formally to a close. It enables a celebration of your achievements that have allowed you to move to a new role, encourages acknowledgement of what you will miss and focuses you to think about what were the best parts of it, and yourself, that you want to take with you into your new role. In short, it prepares you for the change and transition that lies ahead and helps develop the resilience, confidence and self-belief that you will need to create the impact that you will be hoping for.

3. Plan and Prepare For Your First Term

Every teacher will tell you, that quality planning leads to a high standard of performance. To hit the ground running early, I urge you develop a plan for your first term in your new position. To start with, learn as much as possible about your new school. You will no doubt be aware of your school's vision and developments plans from your interview process, now is the time to revisit the commitments you made and to begin to plan how you might go about achieving these. Some research and familiarisation with operation details such as staffing structures, policies and latest outcomes and achievements could help with your thoughts and should influence your aspirations for your plan for your first term.

Once your initial research on the school is complete, it's important that you gain a full understanding of your job role. Make sure that you're fully aware of your priorities, responsibilities as well as the possible challenges you could face and how best to tackle them.

By planning for your first term you'll be able to identify some easily achievable positive impact to help you secure early wins and build trust and respect from your new colleagues.

4. Focus and Forge New Relationships

A new role will involve a myriad of new people who will be crucial to the school's success as well as your own, so it's very important to identify the key people in your new role and build strong relationships with them. Building these strong relationships will lead to your stakeholders being fully engaged and immersed in your vision, making your job as a school leader enjoyable and progressive.

As a new Head Teacher, these will include your leadership team, governors (especially the chair) and your PA. For other leadership roles focus on your leadership peer group and your team of staff.

5. Keep Your Balance and Maintain Your Wellbeing

Leading a school, a subject or a year group is an incredible privilege especially when you have a direct influence on the lives and education of students and staff. But, with this responsibility comes a great deal of demanding work and it's important that teachers maintain their work-life balance, physical and mental health as well as how other people around them can be of support. Don't be too hard on yourself in these early days especially if you have taken on a challenging situation.

To improve your wellbeing, take into consideration your own levels of physical activity, how often you spend time relaxing and enjoying a moment of solitude. There's a number of fantastic wellbeing resources available such as The Wellbeing Action Plan, so do ensure that you are taking into consideration how your role may have an effect on yourself and what you can do to manage it.


Lorraine Couves is a Performance Consultant, Project Manager and Change Lead who enjoys facilitating ideas generation, problem-solving and organisational development. With over 15 years' experience of educational organisations, she has helped to drive strategic change leading to improvement in outcomes, Ofsted judgements and in financial sustainability.

How Teachers Can Improve Their Levels Of Perseverance

Always Flourishing PerserveranceToday was a highly eventful morning in the Always Flourishing office especially as we had NO electricity whatsoever! With no electricity, we couldn't utilise our telephones as well as the all-important heater.

Despite these unwelcome setbacks, the Always Flourishing Team packed up the office and ended up temporarily relocating the director's living room for the morning. Little things such as a lack of electricity were never going to stop us from supporting our teachers and our schools.

Soon enough we were back in the comfort and warmth of our office, however, this incident got us thinking. Perseverance is key to pushing past any form of difficulty and today's teachers are undoubtedly brilliant at it. But what about those who need a little extra focus on it? What can they do to ensure they improve this crucial skill?

How Teachers Can Persevere


1. Know Your End Goal

This idea is related to the goals you set out to achieve. Maybe it's something really specific, such as making sure you undertake an hour of CPD a week, or possibly something more general such as improving your own wellness.

Although it's a very Business-like concept, SMART(ER) goals will enable you to plot what specific actions you need to undertake, how you can measure them as well as enabling you to evaluate your own performance once the goal is complete.

Whatever your goal is, make sure you devote fully to it with a good amount of thought and effort!

2. Adopt A Growth Mindset

The idea of Growth Mindset is something that has been focused on heavily in education recently for both staff and students. A Growth Mind-set, according to Dr Carol Dweck, is when "people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment".

To transform your current Mindset into a Growth Mindset, you could start by getting a firm understanding of your strengths and weaknesses through self-reflection, and then focus your attention and effort to understanding how various challenges can eventually become opportunities for you to build upon your skills through learning and even failing.

3. Rid Yourself Of Detractors

Your journey to improving your perseverance skills is no doubt a demanding but ultimately positive one and despite this, there will be people who will try and bring you right down.

Whether they tell you that will never achieve the success you envision or by simply showing a lack of support and encouragement, people like this should not deter you from achieving your goals.

Should the negativity of these people have a profound effect on you, maybe it's best to decrease the amount of time you spend with them if it's possible, to give you the thinking space you need to focus on developing good perseverance.

4. Set The Pace And Keep The Momentum

You will know how much effort and energy you'll be able to put into developing your perseverance skills in relation to how you can obtain your desired end result. Once you start this process, make sure you keep going no matter how long it takes.

Obviously, there are going to be many things could possibly set you back such as sickness or the next step in your journey is reliant on someone else but just because there is no tangible level of progress, you can still keep your energy levels and spirits up no matter what.

If you have any other viewpoints on how Teachers can persevere, do let us know in the comments. Also, if you're desired end goal is to secure a new teaching opportunity, get started on a new journey when you upload your CV today.

Teaching Jobs and COVID-19: How will Staff be Supported?

Schools Opening in September 2020

The Office of National Statistics’ report of coronavirus (COVID-19) casualties linked to occupations has found that staff with teaching jobs (or other related jobs in educational settings) are not at any greater risk of contracting the disease. Not only that, but there was no evidence to suggest that children are prominent transmitters of the disease, at least compared to adults.

The statistics and research, coupled with the Test & Trace scheme and the lengthy amount of time children had to be out of school during the national lockdown, has led to the government introducing a mandatory return to education from September 2020. The relatively low risk of coronavirus does not outweigh the benefits of children returning to school. 

Schools now have the task of using the resources at their disposal to ensure all children can be welcomed back safely and securely, while ensuring protective measures for children and teaching staff, including social distancing.

As far as Always Flourishing are concerned, we put wellbeing at the heart of everything we do, as an education recruitment agency. We believe that all teachers, whether full-time or supply teachers, teaching assistants or school leaders, should be looked after given the enormous obstacles that face them come September 2020.

Supporting Teaching Staff

Schools have just as much of a duty to support their teaching staff as much as their students and pupils. Nothing has changed in that regard. However, given that teachers now have to educate children on the material they may have missed during lockdown (within a shorter period of time), as well as manage risks, ensure protection and social distancing, they are facing an uphill battle. We’ve previously written about how applicants can still apply for teaching vacancies for September 2020 start dates, and how important it is to prepare for what will be a challenging time. For anyone already holding a teaching position, whether as a cover supervisor, supply teaching assistant or a headteacher in a private school, Always Flourishing are here to support you.

No doubt anyone currently holding, or applying for teaching jobs, will have questions in the backs of their minds. Hopefully, the below advice helps.

What about staff who are clinically vulnerable?

Provided that schools have implemented controls and measures to minimise risk of transmission, clinically vulnerable staff can still return to their usual teaching jobs. Those who do return to working as a teacher should ensure they adhere to social distancing guidelines, minimise contact and keep their hands clean.

What about staff who are deemed ‘high-risk’ from COVID-19?

Some teachers with increased risk of coronavirus, or who live with other ‘high-risk’ individuals, can still return to working as a teacher. Provided schools implement the system of controls outlined by the government, the risk should be low.

How can schools look after staff mental health?

Schools should thoroughly explain all new measures that have been, or will be, put in place and how the landscape that is familiar to many may look and feel significantly different. Schools should actively ensure that all staff, including those with teaching leadership positions, are looked after, particularly those who are anxious about returning to school. The Department of Education is providing additional pupil and teacher mental health support. Also, the Education Support Partnership offers a free helpline for teaching positions, with targeted mental health support.

If you are currently in the middle of a teaching job application with Always Flourishing, or have recently registered and are feeling overwhelmed with the ongoing news about coronavirus in schools, speak to us directly and we’re happy to provide you with added support and guidance.

Are there any changes to how supply teaching jobs will be filled?

Schools should still ensure appropriate support is made available, by deploying support staff with supply teaching positions or cover supervisor roles, or even teaching assistant jobs. Extra care should be given to SEND-specific schools. Schools may need to alter the way in which staff are deployed, and use existing staff more flexibly. But where support capacity is available, schools should still enable staff from within and outside their school to work with pupils.

What is the procedure for teacher recruitment?

The government has recommended schools continue to hire teachers, remotely of course, over the remainder of the summer holidays. If you’re a recent NQT, or have some teaching experience and are looking to get into teaching, don’t let this pandemic stop you. You can register with Always Flourishing and we will work diligently to ensure you fill the perfect teaching vacancy.

Teaching Jobs Advice

For any other advice on teaching jobs during COVID-19, give us a call and we will be more than happy to assist you.

The Best EdTech Apps We Insist You Use In Your Classroom!

Integrating Edtech in your lessons can have a wealth of benefits as well as making vast improvement to yourself and your student's wellbeing.

If you've been following our series of blogs, you'll know we already have some Top Tips on Improving Teacher Wellbeing.

From capturing evidence for assignments, to delivering detailed feedback and encouraging student, teacher and parent collaboration, the inclusion of Edtech is something that we highly recommend.

But where do you begin when you wish to use Edtech in your classes?

What are the best apps for teachers available?

Scroll down to view the best Edtech apps that we insist you try with your students!

 1. Kahoot!


Image courtesy of

Kahoot is a games based learning platform that allows teachers to utilise a whole range of subject related quizzes. Students are rewarded points based upon the selection of the right answer and how fast they were able to click it. Teachers are able to create their own quizzes based upon their own lessons, making it a fantastically fun way to test student's subject knowledge. When using Kahoot to create quizzes, you can even embed images and YouTube videos to improve the retention of student knowledge.

Cost: FREE

2. Class Dojo


Image courtesy of

If you want to reinforce positive behaviour and improve your Classroom Management strategy, we urge you to try Class Dojo. Class Dojo is an app where you can reward and deduct points for positive or negative behaviour exhibited by your students – No more will you have to put checkmarks or tallies on a board!

This highly popular Edtech app comes with its own set of behaviours such as Homework entry, contest winner etc. But, you can create your own depending on your class or whole school policy. In addition to this, other amazingly useful features include; Trendspotter (which enables teachers to see patterns in positive or negative behaviour), and private messaging between parents and teachers without the need for each other's numbers.

Cost: FREE

3. Book Creator


Image courtesy of

Have you ever wanted to create your own online books and resources for your colleagues or students? Now you can with the ever popular app Book Creator. This award winning app enables teachers to easily create their own books and resources with textual, image, and audio elements making this a highly desirable teaching and learning tool for teachers to utilise.

Cost: £4.99

4. Padlet


Image courtesy of

Padlet is an online and device based application that works in a similar manner to Pinterest where you can pin ideas, videos and documents. Padlet can be utilised by teachers to encourage student research or creating mood boards or uploading evidence in relation to a subject based topic.

Cost: FREE

5. Plickers


Image courtesy of

Collecting data for formative assessments is often a rather demanding task which is why we feel that Plickers is an ideal option for time stretched teachers. Plickers collects formative data in real time without the need for any device from your students. This highly praised app assigns students to a barcode which can be printed. Students then raise their cards to answer a question or give feedback whilst the app, which is downloaded on a mobile or table device, scans the room and records the results instantly.

Cost: FREE including the cards! 

6. Seesaw


Image courtesy of

Seesaw is one of the best Edtech apps for teachers and students and we cannot recommend it enough. The app is a student driven portfolio where they can directly document what they have learnt in classes using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. Teachers can easily give feedback to students and other designated class educators.

In addition to this, parents have their own version of the app where they can see their children's work and leave comments for their children and their teachers to read thus strengthening the relationship between all individuals involved.

Cost: FREE to download but Seesaw offers a variety of bespoke pricing packages for schools depending on the number of student

7. Educade


Image courtesy of

Educade is one of the new learning resource apps available however it does already have a significant number of free lesson plans. Teachers are able to make use of this resource by selecting lessons in accordance with student's grades and age as well as being able to upload and create your own resources. Lessons come with their own step by step instructions, a list of resources and reviews from other teachers.

Cost: FREE

8. Notability


Image courtesy of

Students can often find note taking a difficult and sometimes boring task. By using Notability, students are able to easily combine handwriting, photos and typing to easily capture their thoughts and learning processes. One of the bonuses of Notability is that you can easily edit and annotate PDF documents making it ideal for students who are looking to make notes on learning resources.

Cost: FREE

9. Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast O Matic

Image courtesy of

If you wish to record tutorials for your class or if you wish to capture evidence of your students learning and understanding, we feel that Screencast-O-Matic is the ideal app for you. This online application records your screen making it easier than ever for yourself to showcase your knowledge to your students. Teachers who have used Screencast-O-Matic have used the tool for delivering student feedback through visual recording or audio as well as encouraging students to showcase their work and discuss their though processes.

Cost: FREE

10. Google Classroom

Google Classroom

Logo's courtesy of Google and Google Classroom.

Google classroom is one of the leading multi-device education suites available. Teachers can benefit from a range of highly desirable features such as the option to collaboratively teach courses with other educators, create class assignments at the click of a button, encourage classroom discussion and the ability to offer real time feedback. Another really great advantage of using Google Classroom is that teachers can set differentiated learning activities for individual students.

For further ideas on how you can utilise differentiated learning activities in your classes, do view our guest blog on this topic from Neil Martin.

Cost: FREE for schools using Google Apps for Education.

So, that's all the Edtech apps we have for now. We hope this inspires you to try some of our suggestions in your class so do let us know if you've had any success in doing so by leaving us a comment below!

Top tips for Improving Teacher Wellbeing

Learn how you can implement these fantastic wellbeing activities for teachers with these brilliant gems of advice to maintain school staff wellbeing.

In recent years, there has been a significant emphasis on wellbeing for educators and people working in education. With many teachers unfortunately experiencing what is known as a "teacher burnout", we've browsed the web to provide you with the best tips and activities to improve your wellbeing and the wellbeing of other teachers.

Teacher Wellbeing Bags

Teacher Wellbeing Bags

The aim of these bags is to make staff feel valued and encourage a collaborative approach to teaching and learning across the curriculum areas. In an attempt to make staff feel welcome and confident I distributed the bags. They were an immediate hit! Each bag contained a personalised poster created quickly and easily using @RhonnaFarrer's design app.

The rest of the items included are listed below along with instructions for use:

• Cupcake cook book – set up a rota and get baking for department meetings.
• Star Stickies (Post It Notes) – write praise on these and leave them in places your colleagues will find them.
• Stickers – label lessons/ideas that worked well.
• Notepad – write down great teaching ideas on the go!
• Stickies (Post It Notes) – use these in department meetings to plan new schemes/lessons. Time-savers.
• Mints – to keep you cool when the going gets tough.
• Biscuits – for duty days and break times.
• Highlighters – to make your schemes of work stand out.
• Tissues – for those days. We all have them.
• Sweets – an energy boost for those afternoon triple lessons.
• Stamps – we all love stamps, right? For the full guide please head to Teacher Well-Being Bags

Improve your sleep

Improving Sleep for Teachers

A good night's sleep is the holy grail for today's generation of overworked and overstressed individuals. For teachers, a proper night's rest is particularly vital, especially when the next morning involves managing a classroom of excitable and children. But getting a full eight hours of slumber isn't as elusive as you might imagine. Here are simple and scientifically proven ways to beat insomnia.

Science tells us that how light or dark a room is at bedtime matters. Studies show that light can delay the production of melatonin, a chemical in the body that anticipates the daily onset of darkness. Another study by scientists at the University of Granada also found that sleeping in pitch black is important for the metabolism. To help make your room sleep conducive, it's worth investing in some blackout blinds or buying yourself an eye-mask. Another top tip is to dim the lights before you go to bed to signal to your body that darkness is setting in.

To discover more tips on how to improve your sleep please head The Guardian

Learn something new and share it with your students

Avoiding Teacher Burnout

Read an interesting book -- education or non-education related. I have been reading, The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got that Way from Amanda Ripley. It is interesting and education related, so I don't feel guilty about taking time away from lesson planning and grading. Read a classic that you have always wanted to read but never got around to reading. Watch a TED Talk or go to Iuniversity and find something interesting about brain research (that's what I like to explore anyway).

For even more step by step guides to improving wellbeing and reducing Teacher Burnout, head over to Edutopia

Be Active

Being Active as a School Teacher

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being. But it doesn't need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

• Take the stairs not the lift
• Go for a walk at lunchtime (If permitted)
• Walk into work - perhaps with a colleague – so you can 'connect' as well
• Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
• Organise a work sporting activity
• Have a kick-about in a local park
• Do some 'easy exercise', like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning
• Walk to someone's desk instead of calling or emailing.

For even more wellbeing in the workplace tips, please head to Mind. 

Laughter as a tonic

Improve Staff Wellbeing In Schools

Laughter is said to be good for the soul, but mind and body can also benefit. Frederika Roberts, co-founder of the RWS (Resilience Wellbeing Success) Programme says: "Companies could hold laughter yoga sessions at lunchtime or organise mini sessions before staff meetings. It doesn't cost much to send one or two members of staff on a two-day official training course to become a certified laughter yoga leader."

Discover more fantastic wellbeing tips by reading the whole article at The Guardian 

Getting the culture right

Ideas to Improve Teacher Wellbeing

It is important to have a working culture which allows teachers (and all staff) to feel they can talk about their stresses and worries. There is not a quick fix for this, but showing that you want to hear your colleagues' opinions is a good starting point. Making surveys anonymous, at least to start with, can encourage more staff to share their views than might otherwise be the case.

Another simple step is encouraging staff to take their breaks – preferably in a shared space where they can socialise with other members of staff – and discouraging them from staying for hours after the school day ends.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog on the top tips for Teacher Wellbeing, please like/follow our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin accounts for the very latest in wellbeing and education news as well as Teaching Jobs within The Thames Valley.

What Makes a Good Supply Teaching Assistant?

Tips for Supply Teaching Assistants

To work as a teaching assistant, you need to possess specific skills and traits to make a real difference. The qualities of a good teaching assistantcentre around maintaining a real drive and passion for working with children. Also helping them achieve their potential in the classroom. 

Supply teaching assistants, unlike full-time ones, have the benefit of being on flexible schedules, and will be expected to fill open slots when permanent teachers are absent or unwell. There are several benefits of becoming a supply teacher or TA, but the day-to-day roles and responsibilities will be much the same as those of a permanent TA.

For many people aspiring to become a teaching assistant on a supply basis, the role is still rewarding and can provide you with excellent prospects for career progression and personal development.

Teaching Assistant Positions

There are different levels of teaching assistant jobs, which you can do on a supply basis:

With every level of TA job, you need to demonstrate certain qualities. For starters, you will need to be able to take direction, be flexible, have excellent communication skills, and show you can cope with challenging behaviour. If you want to be a good TA, consider our list of other essential skills which will help improve your chances of making a difference, and when you apply for teaching jobs.

Supply Teaching Assistant Qualities

Take these essential skills on board to become the most effective TA you can be.

  1. Dedication

Being a good TA will require you to go above and beyond your job expectations and requirements. Show that you are committed to setting the classroom up for the day ahead, think proactively of fun and engaging activities to support lesson topics, and observe the pupils and students throughout the day. Offer help to create further lesson plans outside the classroom, and offer to assist with additional non-classroom or extracurricular activities. Great commitment does not go unnoticed.

  1. Initiative

Demonstrating a forward-thinking approach is highly encouraged and heavily valued by teachers. It’s no secret that any teaching job, be it as a supply teacher or full-time teacher, is full-on, and they will have their hands full. Your help and input will help take the pressure off slightly; if they recognise that you’re on-the-ball, it will be a massive help to them.

  1. Desire

When you successfully apply for teaching assistant jobs, you will need to have demonstrated the ability to build good relationships. Working with children is rewarding and fulfilling, but it will come with its fair share of challenges. Teaching assistant responsibilities vary day-to-day, so demonstrating a desire to help any child when they’re struggling will pay off. Even if that means you spend extra time to offer that help. A positive attitude and constant desire to help will both go a long way in building those relationships.

  1. Understanding

Supply teachers and TAs often work in a variety of different schools, and acquaint themselves with a huge number of different pupils. Being able to understand each child’s needs for them to learn, is a vital part of being an excellent teaching assistant. As you gain valuable teaching experience, you will develop a broader understanding of each pupil’s needs. Some may require more help than others, and you’ll be able to dedicate individual time with each student and provide extra support if needed.

  1. Flexible

Having the ability to adapt your time to meet the needs of the teacher will ensure lessons run to plan. Not only that, but students get the most effective learning tools when lessons run smoothly. Being flexible may mean that you start your day earlier, staying later, or helping to make additional learning aids in your own time. Flexibility is one of the greatest perks of teaching assistant positions, and it undoubtedly helps to demonstrate this when applying for teaching vacancies.

Permanent and Supply Teaching Assistant Vacancies

Always Flourishing is a Berkshire-based education recruitment agency, who can work with candidates to land their ideal supply or permanent teaching assistant job. Whether full-time or part-time, your roles and responsibilities will be very similar. So it helps to use the above skills to ensure you’re on the right track. If you’re an aspiring TA, who is new to teaching recruitment agencies, we suggest you read about choosing the right one, and some questions to ask.

Schools Looking for Permanent or Supply Teaching Assistants

Always Flourishing also work with numerous schools in the Thames Valley, who are looking to hire teaching assistants. We have access to a large talent pool of TAs looking for work, and we act as some partner schools’ direct education recruitment consultants. We are passionate about putting wellbeing back into recruitment.

Register today, or contact us for any further help.