What’s it like to work in a PRU? Find out and apply for a PRU job with Axcis today!

What is a pupil referral unit (PRU)? What is it like to work in one? How do you get a PRU job? And how do you know if it’s the right setting for you? Find out the answers to these questions and more here.

What is a PRU?

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PRUs are known for educating children who can be confrontational at times, find out more about PRU jobs here. Credit Flickr cc

A PRU, or pupil referral unit is an educational establishment for children who do not attend mainstream schools. There may be a range of reasons why pupils do not attend a mainstream school, but often these units are attended by children who have been excluded for behavioural reasons. Under the SEND Code of Practice 2014, these children would be classed as having social, emotional or mental health (SEMH) issues which form the underlying reason for their sometimes challenging behaviour. There are around 400 PRUs in operation. Many are very small, with less than 50 students on roll at any one time. Some children attend a PRU setting on a full-time, permanent basis. For others, it is a transitional placement while the local authority finds them a more permanent school place. For example, a child may be excluded from one school, and placed in a PRU until another school place can be secured.

What is it like to work in a PRU?

Here are some comments received from Axcis contractors after being placed in a PRU job:

I have never had a teaching job which is so challenging, and yet so rewarding at the same time

I decided after a short time that this is not the job for me… I find the confrontational behaviour of some of the students to be too much to handle.

I LOVE my PRU job. The children are challenging, yet intelligent and engaging. I enjoy the vibrant personalities and chance to encourage them to do something more positive with their lives.

Working in a PRU isn’t an easy ride. Yes, class sizes are small (often 5 pupils or less). Yes, there is less work in terms of marking and lesson planning as a result of this. However, some of the behaviour can be extremely challenging at times, and it can take a huge amount of commitment and patience to work with the children who attend these settings. If you have a short fuse, and get stressed out by pupils who shout, swear and even sometimes have physical outbursts, then a PRU job is probably not the best option for you.  However, all teaching roles have their fair share of challenges. Even the highest performing private schools have their own individual pressures – much of which will be results and extra-curricular focussed. PRUs simply represent another point on the education spectrum, and we must remember that all children deserve, and have a right to an education under British law.

How do I know if I’ll be suited to a PRU job?

If you answer yes to the majority of these points, then a PRU job may well be right for you. Are you:

  • Patient, Supportive and a good listener?
  • Able to set appropriate boundaries based on an individuals targets?
  • Able to sanction in a non-confrontational way when boundaries are breached?
  • Able to de-escalate challenging situations (Axcis can help by offering Team Teach training for this)
  • Able to deliver additional subjects where required? (The nature of PRUs mean that many teachers need to be adaptable and deliver more than one subject because pupil numbers do not allow for full-time subject teachers)

Teaching is all about professional development and personal growth. It is unlikely that you would take a PRU job and fit instantly into the role and find it easy (unless you’ve done a lot of this sort of thing before). However, working in a PRU does represent an excellent opportunity for those with an interest in supporting children who might have been raised under difficult circumstances or have mental health issues and who need guidance to learn how to behave appropriately in life as well as in school. It’s an environment which many teachers find stimulating, because they work much more closely with individual students and see far more progress in areas which will be life-changing than might be seen in many mainstream environments. In short, PRU settings can have their fair share of challenges, but they can also be extremely rewarding. This element of the work also means that staff often work much more closely together, forming close professional relationships that can last a lifetime.

Getting a PRU job

Register with Axcis and become connected to a network of special and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and find a PRU job in your area today!

Getting a PRU job is sometimes tricky. This is because pupil numbers can fluctuate greatly and as a result, staff are frequently needed at very short notice. This means that agencies are often used to recruit PRU roles because local authorities do not have time to advertise, recruit and do all the background checks required of school staff. Agencies, on the other hand will have this side of the recruitment process in hand and teachers and support staff ready to work on short notice. Agencies can provide an excellent solution to staffing problems in this area.

As the leading supplier of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) staff, Axcis work with many pupil referral units in England and Wales and often have a PRU job or two available in your area. For our latest vacancies, please take a look at our jobs pages. However, do bear in mind that our listings change on a daily basis, so if you do not see a suitable role today, it is well worth registering with us so you can keep up with our latest offerings, and can be ready to work as soon as the right role comes up. If you have further questions about working in a PRU and would like to talk to one of our friendly, knowledgeable consultants, why not give your local Axcis office a call today to see how we can help?

Combat Bullying with Random Acts of Kindness!

What approaches can your school or alternative provision use to encourage random acts of kindness among pupils, staff and parents – and in turn, combat bullying and negative behaviour? In this blog, we explore some practical ideas you could try.

The importance of a positive, supportive school ethos

Gone are the days of “spare the rod, spoil the child” and “don’t smile until Christmas.” It is now widely understood that to create a positive and supportive ethos – a key element of a whole-school approach when it comes to overall health and wellbeing – we must model the positive behaviour we wish to see in others. But how can we do that effectively?

Start at the top

Children and young adults look to their role models for examples of how they should behave. In a school setting, these role models often come in the form of school leaders, teachers or other staff members such as teaching assistants or mentors. According to Mentally Healthy Schools, headteachers have a major role to play in this, and can lead the way to a mentally healthy school by doing the following:

  • Look after their own mental health and wellbeing. This may mean making sure they have someone to talk to, outside of school, about their role, challenges and their own mental health and wellbeing.
  • Demonstrate good social and emotional self-awareness, knowledge and skills themselves.
  • Model the importance of work-life balance, instilling this culture across the staff team.
  • Making sure that school/workplace wellbeing is a topic that everyone feels comfortable addressing, especially when staff and pupils are under pressure.
  • Review staff wellbeing.
  • Help staff develop clarity on their roles and responsibilities making sure that supportive management systems are in place.
  • Include, as part of workplace wellbeing, social occasions and other opportunities for colleagues to develop relationships and build a sense of belonging to the team and the school.

Celebrate individuality

The desire to “fit in” as humans is strong – and is often stronger in children and young people who are trying to find their way in life. This is why bullies will single people out based on a difference to others in the group and draw negative attention to it. The bully then garners support from the rest of the group to empower themselves through their actions – resulting in them feeling more secure. Sadly, this promotes a toxic situation where negativity and unkindness become viewed as the model behaviour and bullying spreads throughout the culture of the setting. You can read more about the cycle of bullying in this guest post from Dr Emily Lovegrove (AKA: The Bullying Doctor). Encouraging random acts of kindness and celebrating individuality can be a great way to overcome this – but how can you put that into practice?

It is first important to identify the “influencers” in your school or setting. These are the people that staff and students look up to for cues on how to behave. You could do this by simply asking staff and students who they look up to! Once the influencers in the setting have been identified (and these could well also be students or staff members viewed by some as the bullies), why not ask them for their ideas and get them directly involved in a project to celebrate individuality and promote random acts of kindness? It may be that you decide to do a whole-school project on “what makes me, me?” or “how can we be kind?” And children are encouraged to celebrate the uniqueness of themselves and others or to participate in random acts of kindness when the opportunity arises. However you choose to do it, this strategy can set a tone within the setting and clearly demonstrates the model behaviour you wish to encourage.

Highlight positives

Another way to encourage positive, supportive behaviour in your setting is to simply notice and highlight the positives. If you can get the school influencers on board with doing this, it can be a really effective way to encourage an accepting and positive environment in the school. Ask your influencers to comment when they see a random act of kindness – it might be a student helping another student with work, or it might be a more popular child including a less popular child in a game or group activity – by noticing and praising inclusiveness, you will be helping to proliferate that attitude within your setting.

Use books and other resources

There is a plethora of books and resources available offering guidance on how to tackle bullying and encourage wellbeing. An example which I used with my own son is a book called “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” This is a lovely publication aimed at younger children which encourages mindfulness and consideration of how our words and actions impact on others around us. The basic premise is that we all carry an imaginary bucket around with us – and doing or saying something nice fills our own bucket as well as the recipient’s – and doing or saying something unpleasant takes out of our buckets as well as that of the person you are being unkind to. This book is useful because it creates a language we can use with children when discussing their behaviour and it’s impact. My son enjoys it and will talk about whether he’s filled someone’s bucket today. Equally, when he has done something unkind, I ask him to think about what that’s done to his bucket as well as the other person’s – and it really seems to help him to empathise more effectively (something that doesn’t always come easily to five year olds!)

The bottom line

The bottom line is that bullying and poor mental health is a product of our social surroundings as well as our ability to manage our own emotional state. By fostering a positive environment, modelling the behavour we want to see in others and teaching children how to manage stressful situations when they arise, we will inevitably spread joy and reduce bulling and other negative behaviours. Surely, that is something we want for all settings – not just schools!

Are you looking for special needs teaching or support work in England or Wales?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Fundraising ideas your school could try in the run up to Christmas

The run up to Christmas is a great opportunity for schools to do some fundraising activities to boost the provision piggy bank! In this blog, we bring you some ideas – but feel free to add your own in the comments section at the bottom!

Here are some simple fundraising ideas your school could try in the run up to Christmas

1 Christmas Disco

Simple to organise and fun for everyone – charge a pound or two to get in and you can easily raise some Christmas cash for your school. If the provision doesn’t have their own speakers and lights, put a shout-out in the school newsletter and see if a parent or member of the local community can help you out. Your local “Disco Dave” might even volunteer his time and equipment – you never know! Or if your school runs regular discos, it could be well worth investing in some equipment of your own – it doesn’t have to be new – there are plenty of second-hand places you can try (Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Gumtree etc). If you have parents or staff who are willing to help out with some face painting, glitter tattoos or cake making, you could raise a bit of extra cash by offering these for an additional charge.

2 Christmas Shop

This is something my sons’s school does and I think it’s a wonderful idea! The children are invited to bring in a small item each from home – perhaps from the “re-gift” pile from a previous Christmas or Birthday – these items stock the shop. Items can also be donated by local businesses or made during craft sessions. The children are then invited to visit the Christmas Shop where they can buy any item for a pound, and choose some wrapping paper, ribbon etc. They then wrap and label the gift to take home and put under the tree for a parent or sibling.

3 Christmas Quiz

Use the school hall to host a Christmas (pub-style) Quiz. Invite parents and members of the local community – charge a few quid to enter and run a small bar on the night to raise extra cash. You could invite people to bring a plate of buffet-style food to share, or you could provide nibbles, depending on how much effort the organisers wish to put in!

4 Christmas Craft Fair

All you need to do for this one is make the school hall available on a weekend day and advertise for local businesses or crafty folk to come and hire a table for the day to sell their wares. You can charge about £10 for a table for the day – you’d only need to get 20 stalls and you have £200 extra for the school! Add a kiosk selling drinks and snacks and you can raise even more money for the school. Perhaps the head might even be prepared to dress up as Santa and offer a “grotto” experience!?

5 Mince Pie and Movie Night

Use the school hall to host a Christmas Movie night! Put on a classic Christmas movie, fill the room with fairy lights, bean bags/cushions etc (or invite people to bring their own!) – charge a couple of quid to get in and include a mince pie and cup of warm apple juice and voila! You have a fun, festive evening planned. Make or bring popcorn and sell it for £1 a cup/box or open up a tuck-shop for the evening to make a few extra pounds.

6 Christmas Auction/Raffle

If local businesses and parents are prepared to donate some goods and services, hold a Christmas Auction/Raffle to raise some extra funds. This could be added onto one of the other events already listed, or it could be done as a stand-alone event. Why not try approaching local businesses such as the hairdresser for a voucher for a kids hair cut, or the local beauty salon for a 30 min massage or a hotel/restaurant for a meal/night away voucher as well as offering physical items to give away?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

What is mindfulness and how can it benefit you and your children?

What is mindfulness?

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.

“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,” he says.

“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.

“Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.

“It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.”

How mindfulness helps mental wellbeing

According to the NHS; Website;

Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better.

When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted.

“Mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience,” says Professor Williams, “and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful.

“This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us.

“Most of us have issues that we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively. We can ask: ‘Is trying to solve this by brooding about it helpful, or am I just getting caught up in my thoughts?’

“Awareness of this kind also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better.”

Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had 3 or more bouts of depression in the past.

How to be more mindful

Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness.

Notice the everyday

“Even as we go about our daily lives, we can notice the sensations of things, the food we eat, the air moving past the body as we walk,” says Professor Williams. “All this may sound very small, but it has huge power to interrupt the ‘autopilot’ mode we often engage day to day, and to give us new perspectives on life.”

Keep it regular

It can be helpful to pick a regular time – the morning journey to work or a walk at lunchtime – during which you decide to be aware of the sensations created by the world around you.

Practical mindfulness activities for children

Here are some ideas for introducing mindfulness to the young people in your lives:

  • Guided meditation – if you want to set up a guided meditation session at school or at home, there are plenty of books, CDs and even YouTube videos out there to help you. Simply schedule a time, get everyone in a comfy position and press play – it couldn’t be easier!
  • Mindfulness story books – there are lots of children’s books out there which explore the idea of mindfulness, so for groups who are new to the concept, this might be a good place to start.
  • Mindfulness games – learning to notice the world around us can be fun and exciting! There are lots of games you could play to introduce or develop the principles of mindfulness. From blowing bubbles to exploring smells, tastes and textures – or even using dedicated cards or games you can purchase, there are plenty of options available. This website has some lovey ideas to get you going!

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

The winning school is….

In September, we ran a draw for our client schools. Find out who won the £250 prize and what they plan to do with their vouchers here.

About the competition

In September, we invited schools to be part of a prize draw for a £250 shopping voucher as a thank-you for booking new staff with us this academic year. All schools who booked new, long-term staff in September were entered, and when the competition closed, we selected one winner at random.

The winner is…

We are thrilled to announce that the winning school is Carlisle Infant School. Their Axcis consultant, Sorcha (pictured below, centre), was only too pleased to go along and present them with their £250 voucher.

Carlisle Infant School won our £250 voucher.

The school has just had a new library built, so the £250 will come in very handy to help stock it with new books and resources. At Axcis, we often run prize draws and giveaways so check our social media pages, or get in touch with your local office to find out what is currently on offer.

Are you looking for SEND teaching or support staff, or a new SEND job?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Axcis November Giveaway: Mindfulness Pack (Book, CD and Activity Cards)

Promote great mental health in your school or setting with these fantastic mindfulness resources. For your chance to win a children’s book, CD and pack of activity cards, simply enter the FREE Axcis November giveaway. Find out more here.

About the prize

We have done some research and put together a mindfulness pack containing three items which would be useful for promoting good mental health in a range of schools and settings. They are:

Mindfulness Scavenger Hunt

  • An outdoor treasure hunt game aimed to help children notice and appreciate nature and their environment.
  • A fun game that can be played in the garden, at the park, beach or on a walk.
  • Encourages children to notice their environment and appreciate everything it has to offer.
  • Simple game so young children can play it with a little bit of help but fun and exciting enough slightly older children can also enjoy it.
  • Helps adults be more mindful and see their garden/park/walk through the eyes of a child. Makes a great Christmas stocking filler for children and for Christmas winter walks!

Acorns to Great Oaks CD: Meditations for Children

“Acorns to Great Oaks – Meditations for Children” helps children to become and stay aware of the world around them, aware of their own fabulousness, aware of energy, aware of their thoughts and feelings influencing their lives and that of others, aware of their connection with this beautiful planet we live on, and aware of how they can change anything for the better, easily and quickly, in order to create trust, strength and happiness. We are creatures of habit. If we can pick up ‘bad’ habits (stress, anger), we can also be taught good habits (relaxation, trust, conscious breathing, forgiveness, peace…). We need to teach children how to manage their own behavior instead of having others manage it for them. Meditation and being aware is coming to a place within your heart and mind where you feel happy and trusting so you can feel good again, in and after any situation, wherever you are and as quickly as possible. Visualizing specific pictures in the mind supports this. It teaches children power and control over how they feel, what’s happening and where they want to be in life! Acorns to Great Oaks – Meditations for Children contains 22 short meditations to help children on their way, so they can then easily apply ‘coping mechanisms’ into real life

Mindful Monsters Book

All the Rainbow Monsters are Mindful Monsters too, Respecting one another, like all good monsters do. The Rainbow Monsters are back, teaching you how to be mindful. If you want to grow up as fit, healthy, happy and strong as a monster, join them in their colourful antics.

How to enter the Axcis November Giveaway

Our giveaways are always free to enter, no strings attached! We offer several entry methods so you can either take a quick peek at our Facebook page, Tweet us or sign up on our website for work and you’ll be in with a chance to win. Follow the link below and you’ll be sent to our third party giveaway page (run on there to keep things fair and square) – where you can choose your method of entry and get your name in the hat for this great prize!

ENTER THE FREE GIVEAWAY HERE

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Be your Best Self (Guest Post)

Danielle Brown MBE is a Paralympic gold medalist, keynote speaker, trainer and coach. In this guest post for Axcis, she tells us all about the book she has just released, entitled “Be Your Best Self” which was written in partnership with a 9 year old boy called Nathan. We will be giving a signed copy away in the new year, so watch this space! Find out what inspired this project and what it is all about here. (Then go and read the book – it’s ace!)

Danielle Brown MBE with Susanna Gray-Jones, Axcis Manager at nasen Live! 2019

“Have you written a book for children about how they can be the best they can be?”

I was asked this question by seven-year-old Nathan Kai at an event I was speaking at. Nathan explained that he’d been looking for a book to help him become the very best he could be, but after months of searching he couldn’t find anything out there.

“No,” I said. “But that’s a really good idea.”

And it was. There are thousands of self-improvement books for adults, each one offering a different perspective on how to maximise our capabilities and live more fulfilling lives. However, there wasn’t anything out there to help children build solid foundations for success, happiness and esteem.

Nathan then suggested that we wrote the book together.

I definitely wasn’t going to say no to that. This had the potential to have a HUGE positive impact and I wanted to be involved.

Two years later we are very excited that Be Your Best Self is hitting the shelves.

Writing this book has been an incredibly fun journey, bringing together our unique perspectives and skillsets to create innovative and exciting guidance that children can really relate to, and empowering them to become their best selves. Children are capable of achieving extraordinary things with the right mindset and support structures in place.

Be Your Best Self is a comprehensive framework that encourages children to raise their aspirations and turn exciting dreams into a reality. It’s a thought provoking career tool, a vital people skills asset, a modern day confidence builder, an engaging life-hack, and it empowers children to make the most of – and create – opportunities to lead bright and successful futures.

Above all it lets children know that they are special and unique, valuable and important, and that they can achieve their dreams. We can all be BRILLIANT if we work hard and develop our strengths and weaknesses.

And this is something that applies to ALL children.

Nobody is born successful, but it is something we can all learn to achieve with the right support, guidance and skillset. We want to help children from all backgrounds and abilities build strong foundations for successful futures and recognise that they have the capacity to achieve great things.

Getting this book published is only the start of our very exciting journey. We are looking forward to bringing the contents to life through inspiring workshops and presentations designed to make a lasting impact with children. We believe that the future is built by education and children deserve to be equipped with the right tools and strategies to help them maximise their potential.

Want to know a little more about the authors?

Nathan Kai is nine years old and very determined to achieve his goals – one of which has been to become a published author. Nathan is a member of MENSA and his intelligence shows. He is a prize winning linguist, grade 4 pianist, bronze UK and European medallist in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s educated otherwise. He swims like a fish and thoroughly enjoys the challenges of writing. He’s thrilled that his hard work is paying off and he is looking forward to helping other children feel happier, more secure and confident and in achieving their goals too.

Danielle Brown MBE started archery on her fifteenth birthday and three years later she was on the Great Britain team, jumping in as World Number 1 and hanging onto that position for the rest of her career. Danielle won gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and retained her title in London 2012, as well as winning 5 World Championship Titles. She became the first disabled person to represent England at the Commonwealth Games (and win gold) as an able-bodied athlete. Danielle works as a keynote speaker, trainer and coach.

You can learn more here: www.beyourbestself.global

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Candidate of the Term: Winter 2019 – Nominations Now Open

Do you have an Axcis contractor who is doing a great job this term? Do you want to nominate them for an award? Find out what’s on offer and how to nominate them here.

About the Axcis Candidate of the Term Awards

At Axcis, we are extremely proud of the fantastic work our SEND teachers and support staff do every day in the classroom. We know that being a supply worker isn’t easy; often you are thrown in the deep end with challenging classes and little time to read up on school policy or procedure and your work could end at any given moment. And yet, we hear so much fantastic feedback about our candidates that we feel it is only right to give a bit of recognition where we can. Read on to find out how to nominate your favourite Axcis contractor for our Winter 2019 awards.

What are we looking for?

We want to hear from you if you have an Axcis contractor who you feel has done a fantastic job, or who has gone above and beyond the call of duty. We know that it’s not just classroom practice that makes for a good supply worker – it’s also reliability, punctuality and willingness to step out of their usual role and take on things like school productions, trips and other extra-curricular work. Or perhaps they’ve helped to support other members of the team, made awesome strides forward with the children they work with and helped to affect positive change in the school they’ve been placed in. Whatever your reason, we are open to hearing about it!

How do I nominate?

Simply email Emily@axcis.co.uk if you have an Axcis contractor you’d like to nominate for an award, or contact your consultant. We have three £50 shopping vouchers to give out to our winners – intended for them to treat themselves to something nice! The deadline for entries is 29th November 2019, with winners to be announced a few days later. When you contact us, you’ll need to state the name of the contractor, along with the name of the school they are working in. We’d also like a short statement on why they should be considered for the award – it doesn’t need to be an essay – just a sentence or two. All nominees will receive a certificate of appreciation, so even if your Axcis contractor doesn’t win, don’t worry – they’ll still know they are appreciated, and this is what it’s all about, after all!

Added bonus – £50 voucher for schools!

We will also be presenting a £50 voucher to the schools which nominated our winning contractors – what a super added bonus!

Don’t delay – do it today!

So, if you have staff from Axcis and would like them to be recognised for the fantastic work they are doing, don’t put it off – drop us an email now and we will make sure they are in the running to be considered for an award. We know you value their hard work, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to make sure they know too.



Simple Bonfire Night Baking Ideas

Are you looking for some simple, fun baking projects to do with your children for Bonfire Night on November 5th? At Axcis, we’ve shortlisted three ideas for their simplicity, effectiveness and ease on the wallet.

1 – Edible Sparklers

Edible sparklers are a great, simple treat for Bonfire Night

You will need:

  • Breadsticks
  • Chocolate
  • Sprinkles

This simple project can be done by bakers of any age or ability level. In fact, it doesn’t really need any baking at all! Simply melt some chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (you may wish to keep a heat source under it to keep it melted – it depends how long you want to spend on the activity, really!) Then take some breadsticks (or any stick-shaped biscuit/cracker), dip it in chocolate and then roll it in sprinkles. You could also call these edible magic wands (if the kids are into that sort of thing.) Voila! A simple, effective and cheap Bonfire Night treat which won’t have your kids climbing the walls due to a crazy-high sugar content – ideal for younger children.

2 – Marshmallow Treats on Sticks

Andy loves a sweet treat!

You will need:

  • Marshmallows (we like the giant ones!)
  • Chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • Kebab skewers or paper straws (dependent on whether you want to be able to do some toasting or not!)

Following the theme of dipping stuff in chocolate and rolling it in sprinkles, how about using marshmallows instead of breadsticks to create a treat with a campfire-feel? You could add banana or other fruit and create a mini-kebab, or you could keep it simple and just use a single marshmallow – this is an idea with plenty of customisable options depending on the tastes of your audience. It also opens up the possibility of some marshmallow toasting – what says “fire-based treat” more than that to most children (and adults)?

3 – “Torch” Cones

You will need:

  • Ice cream cones (we like the flat bottomed ones – easier to stand while baking!)
  • Cake Mix
  • Icing Mix
  • Orange and yellow food colouring
  • Piping bag (or sandwich bag)

By now, most of us have seen cupcakes baked into ice cream cones. It’s a simple yet effective way to both reduce waste (say goodbye to cupcake cases) while at the same time adding some visual interest to your bakes. You can choose any sponge cake recipe to fill your cones (don’t fill them all the way up – you need to leave room for your icing), so whatever your personal taste is, you can customise these cones to suit. In fact, how about making a toffee apple flavoured sponge for the ultimate Bonfire Night feel?

Once baked, allow your cones to cool, then mix up a batch of buttercream. Divide it in half and colour one lot orange and the other yellow, then spoon each one into the same piping bag (or cut the corner off a plastic sandwich bag and use that). The mix of colours can then be piped onto your cakes to create a stunning “fire” to light your torches with.

Are you seeking special needs staff or a SEND job?

If you’re looking for a SEND teaching or support job in England or Wales, why not register with Axcis, the SEND recruitment specialists? Or perhaps you need to recruit staff for your school or provision? If so, why not take a look at the Axcis Website, or get in touch today to find out how we can help?

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Simple Halloween Craft Ideas with Forest School and PE links!

Halloween is coming

At Axcis, we are always on the lookout for simple, fun craft ideas which you can do with your classes. We’ve found a selection of simple Halloween craft ideas which you could try in the run up to October 31st.

 

These Halloween craft ideas are especially good if you have a forest school or like to do woodland crafts with your classes. Using mostly natural materials, you can create some great decorations. This can be combined with a lovely woodland walk to gather the materials, too!

Hazel Broomstick

Broomstick craft!

All you need for this activity is a length of hazel (or any other wood) about 4 feet in length plus some bunches of thinner sticks/bushy off-cuts. You may need to use a saw to cut lengths down (cue: adult help!) and you may also like to use some secateurs to trim your broom head to an even length once you finish. The only other item you’ll need is some twine or string and you’re good to go!

 

Simply bunch your twiggy sections up around one end, tie on tightly with string and trim. Be careful with this activity as swinging sticks can easily whack into other children but provided there is enough space and adequate adult help/supervision, this is a fantastic activity to do with children at Halloween. Oh, and you could even tie in some PE and have some broomstick races after!

 

Conker Spiders

Conker Spider

You’ll need to pre-drill some holes in conkers for this activity, but once you have done that, most children will love choosing pipe cleaner legs for their little eight-legged friend! Add some googly eyes and a string to hang it from and voila! you have a conker spider. Such a simple, fun and engaging activity for children to get involved with – why not give it a try?

 

Pine Cone Bats

Pine cone bat

Our third and final idea for some Halloween craft activities is a pine cone bat. Once you have collected a decent range of pine cones, either provide pre-cut felt/paper shapes, or give children a template to use and they can get decorating! You can also tie some string around if it you’d like to hang this (but remember that bats sleep upside-down, so if you’re making a sleepy bat, why not curl it’s wings around it and hang it upside-down?)

 

Are you looking for SEND work or staff?

Axcis are the leading company specialising in SEND recruitment, so if you are looking for a job, why not register on our website today? Or if you’re a school seeking a member of SEND teaching or support staff, contact us today to see how we can help.

 

 

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