Introducing our new Axcis London consultant…

Axcis is continuing to grow as more and more schools hear about us and start using our services. As a result, our London office has a new consultant – Nicole Austin, so if you’re seeking work (or staff) in the Brent, Hillingdon or Harrow areas, why not get in touch with Nicole? Find out a bit more about her here.

We asked Nicole to tell us about herself:

Nicole Austin

Prior to joining Axcis, I gained four years of recruitment experience in the medical field. This has helped me to understand how important it is to find committed people within short time frames who are passionate about what they do.

 

I believe that effective recruiting involves anticipating the needs of my clients and making sure that I am always on the lookout for suitable candidates, regardless of whether there is a current staffing need or not. This is because situations in hospitals (or indeed schools) can change quickly, and I need to have suitable staff ready to work at a moments notice. It is often not possible to complete the compliance for a candidate quickly, so this level of anticipation is really essential.

 

My interest in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) stems from the fact that I have family members with learning difficulties. I have witnessed first hand how difficult the education system can be for children who struggle to gain a diagnosis, and appropriate support. As a result, I want to do my part and help the schools I work with to find the very best staff possible.

 

In my spare time, I enjoy going to art exhibitions, reading and spending time with friends and family.

 

Would you like to work with Nicole?

Nicole covers the Brent, Hillingdon & Harrow areas for Axcis. If you are seeking work (or staff) in this location, then get in touch with Nicole today to see how she can help. Or if you’re seeking work in any other area, register online and we will put you in touch with your personal consultant in your local office.

 

 

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Internationally speaking (a guest post about non verbal communication)

Dawn Brown

Dawn Brown

Dawn is a teacher at an all age special school in Hertfordshire. She is the autism lead and Intensive Interaction co-ordinator. She is also an accreditation assessor for the National Autistic Society and a trainer in communication, sensory integration, SLD, autism and more… Dawn has kindly written this blog for us about her experiences of non-verbal communication, and how it can be a beautiful thing.

Internationally speaking

I love world travel. It brings me immense pleasure! One of the reasons I find it so enjoyable is the encounters I have with people who don’t speak the same language as me. In my last overseas adventure, I climbed to the top of a mountain ridge (ok so the bus took me within 200ft, but the last bit was a vertical climb!) and met a young girl – Rebecca. She spoke Quechua, some Spanish and 3 words of English (which happened to be 1,2,3). I speak English and a smattering of Spanish, but no Quechua… so did we talk, oh yes, for about an hour. About what? Animals mostly! Because we could mime characteristics and share the laughter when I tried to guess what she meant… She told me all about her family, her 4 brothers and sisters (I understood because she said her name and 4 other names and pointed at the house we could see at the bottom of the ridge – and she said ‘Mama’ once or twice). She became very animated when we spoke about the condor I wanted to see, but mostly when she tried to find my husband for me, pointing him out as a dot halfway down the ridge – we did agree he was ‘poco loco’!

 

Our shared language was the smiles and frowns, gestures and laughter of a conversation with fewer words than there were sheep on the ridge, so how did our conversation last an hour? Easy – we tuned in to each other, we joined the other where they were and listened intently, and if we didn’t understand, we gave each other time to rethink meaning and try again. We were in the zone – together. We smiled and waited for our partner to try again. We made ourselves available, accepted every attempt we made and didn’t drive our partner on but most of all – we enjoyed being ‘together’ in a shared moment.

 

I have the pleasure of working with children – very special children. It brings me immense pleasure! One of the reasons I find it so pleasurable is that I get to spend time with people who don’t speak the same language as me. Sometimes no language at all (so I am told). I spend my days having the very best encounters – encounters that last seconds, minutes, sometimes for bursts that are on and off for the day. I smile a lot. I talk about a whole range of subjects, from how balls roll, to what colour the world is, from how special the bit of fluff on the carpet feels, to what words sound like ‘toilet’. Sometimes I talk about these things without words (well English words anyway) and sometimes I have whole conversations that consist of one word. How do I do it? Well, mostly ‘I’ don’t. There has to be a ‘we’ for it to work. And my partners are getting used to the ‘we’ that we form when I join them in activities that they are doing alone.

 

I have the pleasure of working with adults – very special adults. It brings me immense pleasure! I am mentoring a group of apprentices. I asked last week if they knew what I might suggest for a young lady who has been finding ‘play’ difficult (it has mostly consisted of throwing toys at her peers). One replied – ‘Intensive Interaction’. So we chatted about what that might look like, and how that might affect the play. We managed to manufacture a safer environment for the play to take place and the girl chose a box of balls play with. My mentee asked me questions and hesitated. We talked quietly and we joined the girl in rolling a ball on a shelf above a radiator. We waited. We watched. Slowly the shared language appeared – a glance, a smile, recognition of the importance of her game, that her game was how she could lead play, that she could enjoy the game and that someone felt that her game was enjoyable too. The encounter lasted 17 minutes. 17 minutes of unadulterated pleasure from both parties engaged in it. Video was taken and we will look back over it and reflect on what happened. But for now – the shared language was the smiles and frowns, gestures and laughter of a conversation with fewer words than there were people in the room.

Intensive Interaction.

@ii_intensive @iiaction_LYPFT www.intensiveinteraction.org

 

If you are interested in finding SEND jobs supporting children with limited verbal ability in a primary, secondary or alternative education setting, why not get in touch with Axcis or register with us to seek work today?

 

SEND news roundup from our partners

At Axcis, we are thrilled to be associated with the National Autistic Society and nasen. Each month, we bring you the latest news highlights from our partners, so if you’d like to know what’s been happening with these great organisations and in the world of SEND, read on.

NAS News

Below you’ll find a list of some of the latest autism news, compiled by our friends at Network Autism. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.

Get the latest SEND news here with Axcis

  1. Analysis suggests disabled pupils more likely to be excluded
  2. Is autism more common in transgender young people?
  3. New #AutismTMI film released to raise public awareness
  4. Westminster Commission on Autism reports on harmful interventions
  5. Psychometric test ruled discriminatory to autistic candidate
  6. Being autistic and a police officer
  7. Autistica launch grant scheme for autistic researchers
  8. SEND cuts put ‘children at high risk of exclusion’
  9. Supporting neurodiverse female learners
  10. Families take legal action against SEND budget cuts
  11. Consequences of masking in autism

Nasen News

Below you’ll find a list of the latest SEND news from our friends at nasen. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.

  1. National trial of the ‘single route of redress’ for SEND tribunals
  2. NatWest introduces new tools to help young people and children with special educational needs learn about money
  3. The National Autistic Society free training module: ‘Women and Girls’
  4. SEND inquiry launched by the Education Committee

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

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

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

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

 

FestABLE – UK’s first National Festival of Specialist Learning

FestABLE – 2nd June 2018

This year is an important year in SEND. April 1 marked the deadline for Education Health and Care Plans, the very foundation the Children and Families Act is built upon. Aspirational in nature but seriously affected by central Government’s austerity programme, it has had a deep and long-lasting effect on children and young people and their families.

 

That alone is more than enough reason to launch the UK’s first National Festival of Specialist Learning which will be held on Saturday June 2nd at National Star College in Cheltenham.

 

The one-day festival, called FestABLE, is responding to the growing desire to talk about what will work better for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties and how all of us – professionals, parents and young people – can make difficult things possible.

 

FestABLE will be an opportunity to talk about what’s challenging all of us involved in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and find paths ahead for all learners and their families.

Something for everyone

The festival is for everyone – young people, professionals and parents. It’s an opportunity for people to be informed by leading professionals in the SEND world, to share experiences and to join in discussions about the future.

 

Award-winning writer and actress Sally Phillips will be one of the special speakers. Sally – who fronted the BBC documentary A World Without Down’s Syndrome? – will deliver one of the keynote sessions.

 

Having starred in Smack The Pony and the Bridget Jones trilogy, Sally waded in to the emotionally-charged debate about a new screening test that is said to detect Down’s Syndrome in 99 per cent of pregnancies and explored the effect the test could have on society.

 

Her appearance will be profoundly important, not only to the hundreds in the audience at FestABLE, but also to hundreds of thousands of people around the country who care passionately about education for children and young people with disabilities and special needs.

 

Her personal experiences speak for all of us in some way, and at the end of a momentous day at this inaugural event, her humour and compassion will be of immense value as we take forward the ideas and inspiration we have shared.

 

A host of other excellent speakers

Dr Adam Boddison (right) will be speaking at FestABLE. Pictured here with Axcis manager Mat

Dame Christine Lenehan, author of the review These Are Our Children, along with Dr George Julian and a senior executive of the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman will discuss the concerns, highlighted by the Review, around the rights and aspirations of young people with disabilities at a time when systems and services seem to count for more than the voices of those who use them.

 

Four professionals, including Renata Blower, from Special Needs Jungle, and Andre Imich, will discuss the impact of the Children and Families Act 2014 – its good points and its negative ones. Attendees will be able to ask questions.

 

Professor Caroline Rowland will discuss her research on how children acquire language. Her data suggests the quality of language input is of great importance in children’s later language development. Her work explores how the child’s environment promotes and shapes language growth. Prof Rowland’s Language 0-5 project is the largest of its kind in the UK.

 

A range of evidence shows that speech and language therapy impacts positively on learning outcomes, behaviour and self-esteem. But will this evidence drive the changes we need to see in speech therapy practice and teacher training? Keynote speakers will explain this in detail.

 

Sarah Driver and Chris Rossiter from the Driver Youth Trust will debate the need for more integrated thinking to drive good quality SEND support in mainstream schools and a less fragmented offering.

 

Dr Adam Boddison, Chief Executive of nasen – the leading membership organisation for education professionals working with learners who have additional needs – will present the national picture of assessment, inclusion and learner choice, arguing that the notion of ‘outcomes’ must be broader than just qualifications.

A chance to celebrate SEND

Take a ride in an accessible hot air balloon, if you’re feeling brave! Credit Flickr

As well as the presentations, discussions and workshops there is also an opportunity to celebrate all things SEND and to enjoy yourselves. There will be accessible sports and craft workshops, a chance to try out the latest communications technology and, weather permitting, an opportunity to go up in a wheelchair accessible hot air balloon!

 

There will be quiet areas as well as live music, entertainment and food in the festival village. National Star College’s campus is fully accessible.

 

It is hoped that this will be the first of many FestABLE events. As hosts, the leadership team at National Star College passionately believe that, with appropriate support, children and young people with disabilities and learning difficulties can reach their full potential. It isn’t about what you can’t do but what you can!

 

That will be the spirit of FestABLE – working together to improve the opportunities and support for the next generation.

To view the full programme with over 12 parallel streams & to book your tickets please visit www.festable.org

The Axcis May Giveaway will be to win a FREE ticket to this exciting event, so remember to keep an eye on our Facebook page for your chance to enter!

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Supply staff: Get work quickly when the new term starts

How can you make sure you are at the top of the pile when it comes to making sure you get work quickly at the start of a new term? Here are our top tips.

Make sure you have everything up to date.

Keep us up to date with your latest details – it will help us to find you work more quickly.

To make sure there are no delays getting work at the start of a new term, the things you should check are up to date are:

 

  • CV – Make sure you have sent an up to date CV to your consultant. If you need help to improve/enhance your CV, you could check out our article on writing a good CV.
  • Referees – One of the key things which prevents us from offering assignments to our contractors is out of date paperwork, and in particular – references! So, make sure that you have these completely up to date by putting a call into your consultant and checking whether any more recent ones are needed.
  • DBS – Make sure that your DBS check is still valid and up to date – without one, you simply can’t work in a school
  • Availability – Does your consultant know which days of the week you are available? Axcis contractors can update their availability by using our simple online diary– make sure yours has been filled in for the new term!

Be proactive

Many agency workers fall into the trap of assuming that they don’t need to do anything except sit and wait for the phone to ring with an offer of work. Although this is not strictly untrue, you might find that you secure work more quickly if you are proactive. Things you can do include:

 

 

  • Apply for jobs – at Axcis, all of our jobs are advertised on our website. By applying, your consultant will receive a notification, and you will proceed directly to the shortlisted candidates who are being considered for the role. So get onto our jobs page today and start to apply for positions which appeal to you.
  • Follow up with a call – once you’ve applied online for jobs, if there are any for which you feel you are particularly suitable, follow it up with a phone call. There could have been lots of applications for the position, and you’ll want to make sure you stand out. So give the consultant mentioned on the job advert a ring and talk to them about the role and why you feel you are suitable. They may give you advice to tweak your CV or do other things which will help you to secure it, so it’s well worth the time spent picking up the phone.
  • Encourage your consultant to market your details – agencies will sometimes contact suitable schools on your behalf to let them know you are available for work. If you’d be keen for this to happen, it may be worth talking to your consultant and making sure they know how far you’d travel and what sort of schools you are keen on so that they can approach them on your behalf to seek out upcoming vacancies.

Why isn’t there much day to day cover at the start of term?

The first few weeks of term can be an unpredictable time in the supply industry – typically, there will not be any pre-arranged absence or training happening in schools at the start of term, so the majority of vacancies will be for last-minute full-time, long-term assignments. Then, later in the term schools experience an increase in sick leave, paternity/maternity cover and cover for staff on training. As a result, short-term

Refer a friend to Axcis to earn yourself some extra cash! Credit Flickr

and day-to-day supply cover start to pick up. If  you are seeking this sort of work, you might therefore need to be patient for the first few weeks of term, or more flexible than usual on what assignments you will accept in order to keep work coming in.

Refer a friend for some extra cash!

If you could do with some extra cash (and let’s face it – who couldn’t?) then it might be worth wracking your brains to see if you have any friends, colleagues or family who would be suitable for special needs teaching or support work – we offer up to £250 in vouchers for a successful referral*, so get your thinking cap on!

 

*Terms apply – contact your consultant for details.

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Gaming and ADHD: The Cause or the Cure? (Guest post)

 

Angela Stringfellow

Angela Stringfellow is the managing editor at Family Living Today. She writes about family safety, parenting tips and other family-focused topics. She has kindly provided this article about ADHD and Gaming for the Axcis blog.

Gaming and ADHD: The Cause or the Cure?

The symptoms of ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, can appear in children before the age of seven. It’s difficult to diagnose, however, given that kids in this age group are naturally active, making it challenging to distinguish ADHD from kids simply being kids. Some children with ADHD are more inattentive than hyperactive – the quiet daydreaming type – which further complicates diagnosis.

 

By age five, most children have learned the importance of listening to instructions and how to pay attention. Some children with ADHD can stand out when they display symptoms such as bouncing from task to task without completing any of them, or the inability to focus on any one thing for an appropriate length of time. There are myriad symptoms which mean little individually, but could mean that a child has ADHD if several symptoms are present on an ongoing basis.

 

If a child is diagnosed with ADHD, parents are often plagued with worries about what they’ve done wrong (answer: nothing) and what they should and shouldn’t do to help their child manage ADHD. One question that often arises is the impact of technology – video games in particular – on the development of ADHD and how it may impact children who have already been diagnosed.

No Single Cause of ADHD

Doctors still aren’t sure why some children develop ADHD, but the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with the condition continue to rise. “In the latest survey, 9.5 percent said a doctor or health care provider had told them their child had ADHD … ADHD diagnosis is in many ways a matter of opinion,” according to AP medical writer Mike Stobbe. “There’s no blood test or brain-imaging exam for the condition. Sometimes reading disabilities or other problems in the classroom cause a teacher or others to mistakenly think a child has ADHD.”

 

ADHD is believed to have a hereditary component; children diagnosed with ADHD may have a parent or a sibling who also has the disorder. Researchers have also found some association between exposure to certain toxic substances and ADHD. Smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol during pregnancy, for instance, may increase the child’s risk of developing learning or behavior problems. Likewise, researchers have identified a link between lead exposure (particularly during the first three years of life) and hyperactivity. In other words, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to ADHD, but no single cause has been established.

Video Games and ADHD

When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, parents typically spend a great deal of time searching for ways to modify the environment to best support their child and to eliminate potential distractors and conditions that could be hindering their child’s success. Some parents worry that spending too much time watching television or playing video games may have caused their child’s ADHD or that engaging in video games could make their child’s disorder worse.

 

According to child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Natalie Weder, there’s no evidence that these technologies (television or video games) contribute to ADHD. However, kids with ADHD do tend to be drawn to action-packed video games and popular television shows such as SpongeBob Squarepants. Why? Because there’s never a lull in the action – there’s always something happening. This is particularly true when it comes to video games. Immediate responses are required in order to win the game, meaning kids don’t have time to think between moves – so there’s no time for them to start thinking about something else. The engagement is constant.

 

Parents are also concerned about social isolation and possible addiction to video games. While these are valid concerns, video games aren’t all bad news; in fact, gaming offers some valuable benefits for the younger generation. Games can aid in the development of hand-eye coordination, and depending on the type of game, even improve memory and problem-solving skills. Classic video games like Tetris can aid with pattern recognition proficiency, improve reaction times, and even help to increase players’ attention spans by requiring extended periods of focus on a single task.

Choosing the Right Video Games for Kids with ADHD

Video games can help children with ADHD, but like all things in life, moderation is key – but it’s also important to encourage your child to play the right types of video games. Consider video games that are wholesome, cognitively challenging, and engaging.

 

One option, for example, is a program called NeuroPlus, which was designed to “improve cognitive performance in children and adults.” NeuroPlus is available for both iOS and Android, and it does require a monthly subscription, but it features a variety of training games that aim to improve focus and decrease hyperactivity. One of the featured games is called Axon, which challenges players to sit still in order to make the dragon fly faster.

 

ACTIVATE is another program designed for children with ADHD. Developed by Dr. Bruce Wexler, the co-founder of C8 Sciences, ACTIVATE is designed to engage kids with ADHD, encourage participation, and promote academic progress through pirate-themed games and fun learning techniques that help kids learn to memorize sequences, recognize and complete patterns, gain task-switching skills, and solve problems.

 

While there are a growing number of targeted, gamified programs aimed at helping children diagnosed with ADHD overcome the challenges associated with the disorder, some traditional video games can prove beneficial, as well. In addition to classic Tetris, popular games like Minecraft can help to improve time management, multitasking, and planning skills.

 

There are a variety of games that can help children with ADHD gain proficiency with these and other skills – skills that can help them achieve greater success in school and other settings. While video games and even programs designed specifically to help kids overcome the symptoms of ADHD aren’t a definitive cure for the disorder, they can play an important role in an overall treatment plan. The key, of course, is choosing the right video games and using them in moderation.

 

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

 

Introducing our new Axcis London consultant…

Axcis is continuing to grow as more and more schools hear about us and start using our services. As a result, our London office has a new consultant – Sian Lewis, so if you’re seeking work (or staff) in the Bexley, Bromley or Croydon areas, why not get in touch with Sian? Find out a bit more about her here.

We asked Sian to tell us about herself:

Sian Lewis

Before joining Axcis, I gained two years of experience working with autistic children. In addition to this, the majority of my family work in education, so from a very young age I was exposed to examples of good practice and I understand the importance of keeping up with developments in the sector.

 

I am passionate about supporting individuals with SEND because I believe all children deserve encouragement and should have access to outstanding education and support systems, regardless of their level of need or ability.

 

In addition to this, my recruitment background provides me with an in-depth understanding of how to match the skill sets of candidates to suitable schools and provisions. I like to go the extra mile to ensure that the process is as smooth and efficient as possible. I am a good listener and care about the standard of service I provide.

 

In my spare time, I work with local charities to provide free cleaning services to families caring for someone with a terminal illness.

Would you like to work with Sian?

Sian covers the Bexley, Bromley and Croydon areas for Axcis. If you are seeking work (or staff) in this location, then get in touch with Sian today to see how she can help. Or if you’re seeking work in any other area, register online and we will put you in touch with your personal consultant in your local office.

 

 

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What do our staff say about working for Axcis?

What’s it like to work for Axcis Education Recruitment? Hear from our staff members and decide for yourself!

Kira

I have been at Axcis for over a year and it was the best decision I made. Prior to joining Axcis, I always thought I would not go into recruitment especially after working for cut throat sales companies. However, once I went for an interview and found out more I can honestly say that Axcis is great company that really make you feel like part of a family as appose to just a number. I had no recruitment experience before joining Axcis and I really benefitted from all the training and support that was offered to me.  After a year of being here and working hard I was promoted to a Senior Consultant and could really see that the hard work I put in was appreciated and valued. Axcis really look after their staff and reward hard work. I can’t wait to continue growing my career here at Axcis! Kira, Axcis Midlands

 

Helena

Helena on the Axcis stand at a recent event

I’m Helena, and I’m an Executive Account Manager in the London office. I was last years’ top biller for Axcis, and have been with the company for nearly four years. However, if you had asked me four years ago what I thought I’d be doing now, recruitment would definitely not have been on the list! So I guess the question we’re asking here is, ‘What changed your mind?’

 

The answer is: Axcis. And it’s not about pay or commission: it’s about values.

 

When I joined Axcis as an Account Manager in 2014, I had absolutely no recruitment experience – and I started just two weeks before the start of the new academic year! It could have been a stressful and debilitating experience, but thanks to Axcis’ uniquely supportive atmosphere, I was able to meet the challenge head on. Having heard some horror stories before starting in recruitment, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the family feeling at Axcis. There may be a healthy sense of competition between consultants – after all, we do work in sales! – but fundamentally, we are all dedicated to working together to ensure that everyone can achieve their potential, whether that’s through offering guidance to a new starter, helping someone to resource in a challenging area, or simply being there to cheer on other people’s successes. Simply put, we trust each other!

 

I’m also proud to say that this spirit of positivity and honesty continues in the work we do as a company. In our publicity, you’ll see us describing ourselves as ‘the ethical agency’ – a term which can seem like an oxymoron to the recruitment cynic. However, as my knowledge of the sector has grown and developed, I have only become more aware of how hard we work to make sure that this is the case – from negotiating rates that honour the needs of both our schools and our candidates, to offering extensive CPD in a range of sector-specific skills that really do make our candidates more employable, and also improve the level of support they can offer in school. Nothing exemplifies this more than our work as sponsors of the National Autistic Society, in particular our support of the APPGA’s Education Inquiry in 2017. How many agencies can you name that care so much about developments in their sector that they have invested in projects that enable genuine parliamentary change?

 

In short, Axcis is a fantastic company to work for not just because of what we offer, but because of how we do it. If you want to work with wonderful people for a cause you genuinely believe in, it’s the only place to be. Helena, Axcis London

 

Rebecca

Coming from a SEND Education background I believed Axcis was the perfect place for me to work, I was not wrong. I joined Axcis 7 months ago after working for two large Education Agencies for over 4 years, I can honestly say I have not looked back.

 

At Axcis my strengths are highlighted and I am always encouraged to think outside the box. In the short time I have been here I have grown from strength to strength and built good relationships with my colleagues. Axcis has a great working environment where autonomy is encouraged but support is always there if needed.

 

I love working for Axcis as we have great understanding of the sector which helps us to deliver an excellent service to our clients. This also enables us to build and maintain strong, lasting and valuable relationships.

 

I am excited about the challenges and progression Axcis has to offer me now and in the near future. Rebecca, Axcis London

Louise

I worked for a large corporate education agency for 13 years and always swore I would never work for another agency, it was always a case of  ‘the grass isn’t greener on the other side!’ However, I was growing increasingly unhappy in my role and heard about an opportunity at Axcis so decided to make the leap. It was, without a doubt, the best decision I made! I’ve been here for 2.5 years now and in that time have progressed from account manager to branch manager to training and HR manager.

 

So, what do I love about working for this brilliant company? I could mention the excellent bonus scheme, that when they say candidates are as important as clients they actually mean it, the reduced working hours during school holidays, the training and coaching available, the annual company party, the fact that Axcis, in a sea of competition, actually has a genuine USP  (we are the only special needs education agency out there and are offering something that no other agencies are) but one of the main reasons would have to be the people and the supportive senior management team. Many people within the company have worked here for 10 years or longer and are supportive, approachable and passionate about providing a great service. SMT set realistic and achievable margin and KPI targets and are not afraid to  pick up the phone to join in on sales hour or go out on visits with consultants (is there anything worse than a manager who thinks they can do your job yet haven’t made a sales call in months?!) Our partnership work with NAS and our training and seminars that we regularly run for our clients and candidates give you so many reasons to call your schools and recruit the best candidates.

 

Having worked in education recruitment for over 15 years now I can honestly say that I’ve never been happier!’ Louise, Axcis South West & Wales

 

Victoria

I joined Axcis nearly two years ago after working as an English teacher for five years and in the initial teacher training department of a local university for three so I was used to working in, and liaising with schools, but the extraordinary world of special needs has been a wonderful discovery! I love working for Axcis as we genuinely offer a service like no other. The UK leader in SEND recruitment, we hire TAs, teachers, SENCOs, therapists and psychologists with experience or training in SEND, and work with a wide range of clients from tiny community provisions to national charities and academy chains. Our investment in the CPD of our candidates, as well as INSET for school staff, is second to none and I’m hugely proud of our partnership with the National Autistic Society and the work with do with numerous SEND charities including nasen. Our office, like every Axcis office, is happy, lively and fun. Working alongside education and recruitment professions is rewarding for all of us and the many varied experiences we bring complement each other brilliantly. The one thing we all have in common is how much we care about what we do and the reward we receive from assisting fantastic mainstream and special schools and alternative provisions with dedicated and professional staff with whom the former teachers amongst us would have been pleased to share our own classrooms. Just like the heart with which we work, everything else about Axcis is, simply put, really generous. From the commission structure to the working hours, the in-house training to the career progression of staff, everyone is cared for and nurtured by the senior management team and it really feels like a family in which our hard work is recognised and our successes are celebrated.  All in all, it’s a lovely place to work! Victoria, Axcis South West & Wales

Emily

Having worked for Axcis for over a decade, I have always been grateful for the opportunities given to me. I first interviewed for the company when I left the teaching profession and made a conscious decision to give recruitment a try. I never expected my recruitment career to last more than a few years – my plan was to get on the housing ladder and then return to teaching. But I never realised I’d find my calling with Axcis! I progressed from Junior Consultant to Senior Consultant within a couple of years under the support and guidance of my managers. From there I became an Executive Consultant with responsibility for developing training and support materials and continued to run a successful desk. I then took on HR responsibilities and developed our graduate recruitment programme before going on maternity leave in 2014. I hadn’t expected to return after having my son, but again Axcis showed me a level of support that I never expected. I now work from home on a part-time basis and focus on marketing and communications work for the company.  I am eternally grateful for the continued support I receive from Axcis and hope that my career with the company continues for many years to come.  Emily, home based

Tessa

My name is Tessa and I have been with Axcis since July 2013. I started off as a graduate recruitment consultant and was quickly promoted after a year. My role started to change in where I was given more responsibility every time I was promoted which has landed me in the position I am in today – as one of the Team Leaders at Axcis Education.  I currently run a small team of 2 and couldn’t be happier. I made it clear to my managers from the beginning that eventually I would like to manage a small team and with, hard work, training and coaching, we made it happen!  I can honestly say I am happy working for Axcis Education and if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be here! Tessa, Axcis London

Do you want to work for Axcis?

If you’re interested in working for this fantastic company, why not take a look at our internal vacancies? As a growing company, we are always on the look out for fresh talent – whether you are a sales person, administration professional or simply looking for a change, we’d be interested in hearing from you. We are also always on the look out for teaching and support staff for the schools we work with, so if an office role isn’t for you, why not register for work in one of the schools we support?

Axcis April Giveaway: Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants book

Are you a teacher or school leader? Do you want to ensure that you are maximising the impact that teaching assistants make in your school? If so, then this prize is for you! Find out more about it here as well as how to enter the FREE Axcis April Giveaway.

About the Book

Rob Webster Maximising TAS

Rob Webster Maximising TAS

Teaching assistants are an integral part of classroom life, yet pioneering research by the authors has shown schools are not making the most of this valued resource. Evidence shows the more support pupils receive from TAs, the less academic progress they made. Yet the reason for this has little to do with TAs. It is decisions made about them by school leaders and teachers that best explain this provocative finding.

 

The fully updated second edition of this book draws on the experiences of schools that have put this guidance into action via the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants programme. Revised to reflect the latest research evidence and changes within education, including the 2014 SEND Code of Practice, this book will help school leaders and teachers in primary and secondary settings to rethink the role, purpose and contribution of TAs, and add real value to what can be achieved in classrooms.

 

Setting out a field-tested process, structured around a coherent and empirically sound conceptual framework, this book:

 

  • helps school leaders review, reform and reenergise their TA workforce
  • provides practical strategies to implement in the classroom
  • illustrates key points with new case studies
  • provides photocopiable templates and resources to support decision-making and action.

 

Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants provides much-needed and evidence-informed guidance on how to unleash the huge potential of TAs, and is essential reading for all school leaders. You can buy a copy today from any good bookseller, or enter the Axcis June Giveaway for a chance to win your own copy completely free of charge!

How to enter the Axcis April Giveaway

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this great prize, why not enter our giveaway? all you need to do is follow THIS LINK and select how you’d like to enter. It takes just a few seconds and is entirely FREE of charge. So why not take a peek now and get yourself entered into this month’s Axcis Giveaway?

 

Terms and Conditions are applicable to all giveaway entrants.

4 bits of behaviour management advice I’d give my NQT self (guest post)

Graham Chatterley

Graham Chatterley is an assistant head at a school in Warrington for pupils with a range of SEMH needs. He has 4 children, the youngest 2 of which have varying ASD needs. One being very high functioning with some social and understanding difficulties, however managing well in Mainstream Primary. The other having significant ASD, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder needs requiring an SLD setting. This has put Graham in an unusual position of experiencing both sides of Special Education Needs which has aided his understandings of both. He has kindly provided this guest post for the Axcis blog.

4 bits of behaviour management advice I’d give my NQT self

In recent weeks, I have been doing some training on behaviour management and de-escalation techniques with a couple of university students who are lucky enough to have been placed in our school for pupils with SEMH needs. Probably a daunting experience for them, but one which will definitely stand them in good stead for their future. Which will more than likely be a mainstream one.

 

It’s handy for me to see what their university course has offered by way of behaviour management and how it matches up against other things like planning and assessment. It also allows me to see whether things have progressed since I was last in a university. It is evident though that the concept of being an authority figure and emphasis on rules is still up on a pedestal. The “one size fits all, consistency at all costs, every child needs to be a round peg” style is still being pushed on to our trainees.

 

I get it – focussing on the majority makes some sense. Planning is very important and assessed data and progress will be ultimately what you live and die on – but would it hurt to give our future teachers some different information? Information like; it’s the minority who are the lynchpin of your lesson, and the very best planning in the world won’t matter if your behaviour management is weak – and if you can’t engage the children there will be nothing to assess and no progress shown anyway. Surely more focus on understanding behaviour will set them up more effectively for a career in teaching?

 

It wasn’t that many years ago I went to do some speaking to a major teaching university’s outgoing NQTs and the last advice they were given before going off and starting their careers was; ‘I don’t want to see you smile till Christmas’ and ‘Ignore all low level behaviour. Now don’t get me wrong – I get some of the logic behind these statements. If the class is full of children with a great work ethic who rarely do more than lightly chatter then these strategies are fine. However, unless these guys are doing their NQT year in the prep school from the film School of Rock, advice like this is not going to help a great deal. It’s far more likely they will get challenging groups, children from deprived areas and children with a multitude of additional needs in their classes. Children who often don’t respond well to authority and if you ignore their early behaviours they will find a more significant one to get your attention.

 

I look back at the mistakes I made when going to my first secondary teaching placement. I was once told by my secondary school mentor that I was like a robot and needed some personality. I was teaching that way because that was how I understood you show authority!

 

Then there was my first job after qualifying – I was teaching a year 4 class who I thought I could ‘wear down’ with seating plans and missed playtimes, thinking if I shouted loud enough they would behave themselves!

 

I realise looking back that I was going against my instincts and as a result what would have actually made my classroom management better! This was because I was straight off the university teacher production line. It’s why I nearly failed my first 2 teaching placements and it’s why I very nearly failed my NQT year. However, I struggled through them and then I relaxed – the pressure of constantly being assessed on everything I did stopped and my personality started to come out. And I started having fun with the children! School became a more enjoyable place for me to be – and without me realising it, I made it more enjoyable for the children in my class, too!

 

And guess what happened?

 

  • Behaviour improved
  • The atmosphere in the class improved
  • Children started to progress more

 

So I took this with me to secondary and I realised that my strengths lay in my patience and my humour and I found that I built a good rapport with children who gave other teachers hell. When I had them, they behaved better. Maybe because we got on, maybe because I had their respect or maybe it was because they knew that with me I wasn’t expecting the worst of them. They didn’t have the bad kid expectations to live up to. Whatever it was; by having the most challenging children in the class on task, the others followed suit and teaching wasn’t the battle it had always been before.

 

I have no doubt whatsoever that without these realisations, my teaching career wouldn’t have lasted 5 years, it was purely a job and one I didn’t enjoy. I realise I was not equipped at all when I started my career. However, I went to university with a guy from the Valley’s in Wales, he was mad as a box of frogs and the funniest and most charismatic guy I’ve ever met. I never saw him teach but I often wondered why he did so well in his teaching practices. I’m guessing it’s because he couldn’t be tamed, couldn’t be turned into a production line robot and because of that the children adored him and hung on his every word. He just had it and we can’t all just be like that, but we can learn from it. For others as teachers; we are performers and we blag our way through sometimes. We might fake a passion for a subject or topic we have no interest in and at times we imply years of knowledge in things we only just looked up on the internet 10 minutes before the lesson. Most importantly however and where we have to be the best performers is convincing a challenging child that we like them and are interested in them. If it’s the truth then brilliant, but as long as they believe it then that will be enough!

 

So I thought I’d put together my own list. Tips and advice I wish I’d had when I started out. Here it is:

Build relationships, especially with the challenging kids

Above all else this is the key. It’s a lot harder to mess about for someone who means something to you, it’s a lot harder to abuse someone you like and it’s a lot harder to disappoint someone who has shown faith in you.

 

If that child sees you as a statistic, another teacher to come and go then why would they invest in you?

 

But if they see a person with shared interests, who is fun to talk to and cares about them. It may well influence them in a positive way.

 

In a child’s file there is likely to be pages and pages written about what the child has done in the past, risk assessments etc but good schools will also tell you what a child’s likes and dislikes are, what they have experienced and what they are good at. If those interests are similar to yours then great; if you support the same football team or like the same music, brilliant. However, if not, take some time to find out. It will mean giving up some time, maybe time away from planning and assessing but I promise it will be worth it. I was onto an immediate winner with our sporty kids but I’ve had children who have been obsessed with ‘My Little Pony’ or ‘Pokemon’. It’s no good me asking them if they watched the Utd game at the weekend! Therefore I’ve done my research and now I know my ‘Flutterby’ from my ‘Rainbow Bright’ and a ‘Pikatchu’ from a ‘Charmander’.  I now have just enough to start a conversation with these children. A conversation starter that might be enough to use as a distraction/de-escalation when they are heading for crisis, but more importantly it shows them that I am a person and that I’m invested in them. Therefore I start to build trust and they might just invest in me.

 

The big piece of advice I often give to students when they go into a class is; identify the most challenging pupil who is often a strong character. How that child behaves often dictates the whole class. Then get that child on board and the lesson will manage itself. It’s almost like a sibling relationship where the brother/sister can make each other’s lives hell but nobody else is allowed to look at them wrong. If they aren’t going to misbehave in your lesson then nobody else is.

Don’t take anything personally

I hope the phrase ‘behaviour is a communication’ is making it out there, but more importantly is being taken seriously. When you have been told to be a figure of authority it seems only logical that being told to ‘f**k off’ is an outrage and a pound of flesh shall be taken! After all it is what the child expects, but it continues the cycle and school stays the negative place they hate with another teacher who isn’t bothered.

 

But what if we weren’t outraged? What if we recognised that the child was distressed and talked to them about it? What if we talked about something completely different, made them feel more positive and then talked about what had made them angry? And what if we did all that and found a strategy for letting you know they are angry that didn’t involve telling you to ‘f**k off’?

 

Or we could just give them their usual consequence and carry on as normal. React as they expect and give the anger something to feed off. Wondering why it never changes.

Empathy and understanding

For anyone familiar with the Team Teach Conflict Spiral, Children have experiences, this leads to feelings and that drives behaviours. If those experiences are negative it will end in negative behaviour and if we react in a punitive/challenging way we end up with conflict. This is the process and the cycle I see so much of.

 

We see the child who knocks over the chair – we tell the child to pick up the chair – then we give a consequence when they refuse to follow instructions. We see the child’s behaviour, not the child themselves. We give a punishment for the aggressive action without understanding the root of the aggressive feelings.

 

If we react differently and ignore the chair and put an arm round a distressed child, we probably find out that the chair got knocked over because the child hasn’t slept – perhaps because parents were arguing all night, or they are frustrated because they find the work too challenging or their anxiety has flooded their body with chemicals and they are scared by how they feel. Just having these bits of knowledge means we feel better; then we can be different and show a different kind of reaction and give them more positive experiences of how an adult can react. From there we can help them to find a better way to express their need for support.

Have a Plan

If a plan exists for a pupil – know it. If a plan doesn’t exist – make one. Always stay calm and use what you know. Use your knowledge of the child’s experiences and feelings to avoid triggers. Use their interests as a distraction tool. If you can identify early signs of negative feelings, you can intervene early and prevent the behaviours and there is no need for conflict.

 

I hope the movements in understanding behaviour and mental health in children is filtering down to universities because I was not prepared when I started my career. I was weeks from leaving teaching and looked very carefully at other careers. I realise now that would have been a shame.

 

Whatever your personality is, make sure you show it. Get out onto the playground and play with the kids, get involved in clubs and camps. Show the children you are a person as well as a teacher, and if they do things wrong tell them how it makes you feel and that you know they can do better, but don’t make the behaviour more important than the child.

 

These would be my main bits of advice I would give my NQT self. I’m not saying be best friends but you don’t gain the respect of a challenging pupil by beating them down with consequences. However, if you get to know them, understand them and like them even when they are at their worst. Then there is a very good chance that they will give you their best.

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.

 

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