SEND News Roundup

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.

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.

Axcis are proud to sponsor nasen

National Autistic Society News

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

Axcis are pleased to sponsor the National Autistic Society

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 Makaton and why is it useful at special needs schools?

We are often on the lookout for candidates who can use Makaton, but what is it? Where can you find Makaton training courses? And why is it so useful in many of the schools we work with? Find out here.

Axics are proud to offer a CPD course on non-verbal communication which includes an introduction to Makaton.

What is Makaton?

According to the official Makaton charity:

Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.

Why not use British Sign Language (BSL)?

British Sign Language is a fantastic system for non-verbal communicators. However, it can be quite complicated and time-consuming to learn. Some of the signs also require a relatively high degree of dexterity or physical accuracy. For these reasons, younger learners or those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) may find the system difficult to master. This is where alternative non-verbal communication programmes like Makaton come in. They offer a more simplified method of communication which offers a fantastic alternative for those for which BSL is unsuitable. They also support those who are partially verbal, or working towards full verbal communication effectively.

Examples of Makaton

There is an official Makaton YouTube channel where you can see loads of examples of this method of communication, as well as videos giving information about the courses available.

We also have some examples of non-verbal communication on our own Axcis YouTube channel – why not take a look?

Makaton Training Courses

Although we offer an introduction to non-verbal communication to our candidates at Axcis, we are not official Makaton Trainers – we simply aim to give information about the system and point people in the right direction if they want to undertake official training. If you want to do a course, the best place to look is on the official Makaton website, where you can find information about Makaton courses running near you.

Makaton Jobs

if you are a Makaton user and are looking for a job where you can utilise your skills, then look no further! At Axcis, we are always on the lookout for staff with this training to work in our partner schools. We are often approached to find Makaton trained staff – so if you might be interested in classroom based work in England or Wales, why not register on the Axcis website today? It’s free and takes just a few minutes. Once you are registered for Makaton Jobs, we will put you in touch with your personal consultant who will discuss your situation in more detail and help to find you a suitable role.

Sensory Baking Recipes For Children

Cooking with children can be great fun and a hugely sensory experience, full of textures, colours and smells. Why not explore these simple sensory recipes that can be made at home or in the classroom?

What are the benefits of baking with kids?

There are a ton of benefits to getting children involved with cooking, such as:

  • Learning about hygiene – always wash your hands and tie back long hair when cooking!
  • Learning about weights and measures – great to feed into mathematics lessons
  • Understanding different food groups and healthy eating
  • Learning about safety around knives, hot ovens/hobs etc.
  • Developing communication skills – particularly if working in pairs/groups
  • Using cooking as a therapy tool. The sensory experience can be very relaxing!

Simple Sensory Recipes


If you’re looking for a simple sensory recipe, trifle is a great one to try! You can keep it simple by making jelly and pouring it over ready made sponge, then adding a layer of custard when set and topping with cream, or you can step up your game by making fresh sponge to put in the bottom, and/or adding fresh fruit to the jelly layer for an opportunity to discuss the benefits of healty(er!) eating.

Sensory and learning opportunities with trifle

The sensory opportunities are great with trifle. The jelly feels stretchy and wobbly to break up and put into a jug – and it smells amazing too. Watching the lumps dissolve is a fun visual activity as well as giving children a great opportunity to get involved physically with stirring to help speed up the process (another opportunity for learning – why does stirring make the jelly dissolve faster?). Making a trifle also teaches patience as you need time to allow each layer to set before adding the next. Making custard from powder is a chance to talk about Non-Newtonian fluids with more able learners (see our other blog about that if you don’t know what those are!) And touching custard powder itself is also another different sensory experience (and who doesn’t love the smell of custard while it cooks on the stove?!). Finally, whipping the cream gives a chance to watch another liquid change state as it stiffens ready to be piped or spread over the top of the trifle.

And let’s not forget about the sense of taste… trifle TASTES AMAZING! A great reward for the patience of waiting for the pudding to set to perfection!


Making cookies has to be a home economics classic! The options for customisation are endless, and there are literally thousands of recipes to choose from. You could go for big, chewy cookies, or shorter biscuit style bakes. This page has a great range of cookie recipes to take a look at.

Sensory and learning opportunities with cookies

The basic ingredients for making cookies usually include flour, sugar, butter and an egg. The first step of measuring the ingredients is great for supporting numeracy skills. Breaking eggs is not only fun but also allows children to enjoy the change of texture from hard and sharp to slimy and gooey… extra credits if you use your fingers to separate your egg! Flour is soft and powdery – children could try spreading some on the work surface and writing their name in it with their fingers to add a bit of literacy to the session. You could also try bringing in a range of different food flavourings for children to smell and decide which to add to their cookie dough. You could include peppermint, lemon, almond, vanilla or even more adventurous options which exist these days such as bubble gum flavouring! You could do the same with food colourings – but be careful with what you add as some additives can have adverse effects on children… you don’t want to fill them with blue food colouring and have them bouncing off the walls! Again, there is a great opportunity for adding healthier ingredients such as oats, fruit and nuts, too. The smell of cookies baking is wonderful and as this is a project that can be completed in a single lesson, they can be enjoyed warm on the day or taken home for friends and family to enjoy.


Like cookies, cupcakes present a fantastically versatile option for a baking session with children. You can either stick with a pre-written recipe (you can find a host of ideas here) or you can explain the magic ratio (2oz fat, SR flour and sugar for each egg used) and allow the children to design their own recipe – deciding which type of fat and sugar they will use (i’d stick with regular SR flour for the sake of ease unless you have gluten-intolerant individuals to consider) and what they will add to their mix to make their recipe unique. Then there is the decoration… water icing, buttercream, jam fillings, chocolate ganache, fondant… again the options are endless!

Sensory and learning opportunities with cupcakes

As with cookies, you can get some numeracy in by measuring your ingredients carefully, and you can enjoy the process of breaking eggs and exploring the slimy texture before adding them to the bowl. Mixing the batter can be done by hand and gives a bit of physical interaction for children – those with energy to burn might like to see how fluffy they can get their mixture to be! Exploring the shapes, colours, smells and textures of any fruits, nuts or other added ingredients is yet another super sensory opportunity. Carefully using spoons to transfer the mix to cake cases is great for dexterity, and the smell of baking cupcakes… well who doesn’t love that?! Then there is the decoration! If you choose to use buttercream or a ganache to decorate your cupcakes, the action of spreading or piping the mix can be good fun. Fondant icing is like play dough – so while the cakes are baking, children could use colours to dye their fondant, rolling pins to get it nice and thin and cutters to make beautiful shapes to decorate their cakes with once they have cooled down. Alternatively, fondant could be used to make 3D models to go on top of cakes – it can be as simple or as complex as you like!

All baking is sensory baking!

At the end of the day, baking or cooking anything is a hugely sensory experience – you can take any recipe or process and pull it apart to explore the learning and sensory opportunities – so next time you are doing home economics at school, remember to explore these elements fully. And if you have any sensory recipes you want to share, feel free to post your suggestions in the comments section below.

Are you seeking SEND work or staff 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?

Axcis Education Recruitment Devon & Cornwall Now Officially Open!

On Monday the 30th September, our Devon & Cornwall office was officially opened by Professor Adam Boddison, Chief Executive Officer of nasen (the National Association for Special Educational Needs). So – if you work in a school or alternative provision in Devon or Cornwall and need help with your staffing needs, get in touch to find out more!

Professor Adam Boddison, Chief Executive Officer of nasen (the National Association for Special Educational Needs) opening the new Axcis Devon & Cornwall office.

What are other schools in Devon & Cornwall saying about Axcis?

As an SEN SLT looking for interim work, I came across Axcis Education just after they opened in Devon. To learn that specialise solely within the SEND sector was reassuring as my previous experience of using recruitment agencies highlighted a need for dedicated, flexible and experienced SEND staff across the South West. With a dedicated SEND recruiter now covering Devon, I feel confident that when we next need flexible or specialist recruitment support, Axcis Education have the expertise to provide vital recruitment support. 

I was invited to attend the opening of Axcis Devon & Cornwall. As a specialist SEN school, we often struggle to find agency staff with the right skills and experience for our setting. Now that I know Axcis has opened an office locally, I’ll not only be calling them when I have last-minute staffing needs, I will also be letting my colleagues at other provisions know about them, too!

Want to find out more about Axcis Education Recruitment Devon & Cornwall?

if you’re interested in working with Axcis Education Recruitment Devon & Cornwall, but would first like to know more about us, why not give our friendly team a call on 0139 294 9022 for a no-obligation chat? Alternatively, one of our consultants would be happy to come and visit you at your provision to ensure that they have a full understanding of your needs before embarking on any recruitment on your behalf.

Are you looking for teaching or support work in Devon or Cornwall?

If you are a candidate looking for a new special needs teaching or support job, our friendly Devon & Cornwall team would be happy to have a chat with you. You can call them on 0139 294 9022 or email Or alternatively, if you’d like to register for work, you can do so completely free of charge on our website. Once your registration is complete, our team will contact you to discuss the best way forward with your job hunt.

Dyslexia Support Materials

What is dyslexia (otherwise known as specific learning difficulties)? What are the signs and symptoms? How can you support children with the condition in your classroom? Find out the answers to these questions and more here.

What is dyslexia?

The Rose Report in 2009 offered a definition of dyslexia which is widely accepted. It is as follows:

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

If you are a teacher or classroom practitioner and want to know what to look out for, the following signs or symptoms could mean that a child in your class has dyslexia:

  • Difficulty learning new words
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Difficulty reading, or reading below expected level for age
  • Problems forming words correctly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colours
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games
  • Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
  • Difficulty finding the right word or forming answers to questions
  • Problems remembering the sequence of things
  • Difficulty seeing (and sometimes hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words
  • Inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading – this could manifest as “bad behaviour” so always remember to look out for a pattern or root cause!

Where can I find dyslexia support materials?

Dyslexia has been well documented for quite some time. As a result, there is a wealth of useful information out there to help you with your classroom practice. Here are some to get you started:

  • Our partners at nasen have published a useful booklet with plenty of guidance in it.
  • The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust is funded by the DfE and contains lots of articles and advice on supporting children with dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia International have lots of links to games, worksheets and apps you may find useful.
  • This dyslexia mind map is a useful summary of signs and symptoms which could be useful for staff training or to put up in the staff room.
  • If you are a KS3 or 4 teacher, this guide on marking the written work of dyslexic pupils could prove very handy
  • This report published by the Northern Irish government contains a wealth of useful information on supporting dyslexic pupils

Are you looking for a special needs teaching or support job 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?

What is Dyspraxia and how can you support students who have it?

If you need to know about what dyspraxia is, what the symptoms are and how you can effectively support students in your classroom with the condition, then look no further!

What is dyspraxia?

According to the NHS:

Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical co-ordination. It causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for their age, and appear to move clumsily.

What causes dyspraxia?

It is not actually known what causes dyspraxia but it is thought to be related to abnormal neural development rather than by direct brain injury.

What are the symptoms of dyspraxia?

Individuals with dyspraxia may exhibit a range of symptoms, including:

Poor gross motor coordination skills (large movements) – i.e:

  • Difficulty with balance (i.e. going up and down hills, riding a bike, walking along a beam)
  • Poor hand-eye coordination (i.e. catching a ball, throwing accurately)
  • Clumsy movements when walking/running
  • Lack of rhythm when dancing
  • Tendency to trip/fall over or walk into things more than others of same developmental age

Poor fine motor coordination skills (small movements) – i.e:

  • Lack of manual dexterity – i.e. tying shoe laces, building small models etc
  • Difficulty holding a pen and writing neatly
  • Difficulty fastening buttons, using keys

Poorly established hand dominance – i.e:

  • May switch between hands when writing, colouring, painting etc

Other difficulties noted may include:

  • Speech and language – such as repeating themselves or using inappropriate volume when speaking
  • Eye movements – i.e. difficulty tracking a moving object
  • Perception – i.e. sensitivity to noise, light. touch, smell, taste may be inhibited or exaggerated
  • Learning and memory – i.e. difficulties organising thoughts, may be messy or struggle when given more than one task at a time to complete, poor recall
  • Emotion and behaviour – i.e. may struggle to read emotions in others or may become easily emotional, distressed, angry etc. This may lead to not wanting to take part in activities or easily fall “off-task”

How can you support children with dyspraxia?

There are a number of things classroom practitioners can do to support children with the condition. Here are some top tips:

1. One thing at a time

Rather than give children a string of instructions, focus on giving just one instruction at a time. Two or more instructions can cause a dyspraxic child to get in a muddle.

2. Repeat

All children benefit from having instructions and messages repeated and dyspraxic children in particular. Constantly check that children have understood what has been said and what they need to do.

3. Tick-off

Help children with ways to remember information by using lists and diaries so they can tick off things they do as they go.

4. Avoid comparisons

Never allow a dyspraxic child to be compared to an able child as this is disastrous. Don’t compare full stop!

5. Strategic placement

Dyspraxic children shouldn’t be placed in the thick of the action but away from distractions where they can easily focus on their teacher.

6. Materials

A sloping desk or angle board will help as will pencil grips or equipment specifically designed for dyspraxic learners. 

7. Praise

Applaud every effort and every accomplishment however small. Dyspraxic children will be used to repeated doses of failure so take every opportunity to boost their self-esteem and celebrate all successes.

8. Chunk

Dyspraxic children will find it hard to absorb and interpret information so allow them plenty of time, teach in small bursts and chunk your time so they can achieve and rest.

9. One to one

When possible, try to teach on a personal one to one level and never remove them from a class for support as this will only stigmatise them. Remember that they will need extra help and supervision in practical subjects so encourage team work.

10. Prepare

Make sure children are prepared in advance for any changes to established routines as without doing so will be stressful.

The Dyspraxia Foundation also has a section dedicated to children and young people. Their site also has lots of useful articles for those looking for further information about this condition.

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

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?

Useful ADHD Resources

Are you looking for useful information or resources to support children in your school or alternative provision who have ADHD? If so, this article is for you!

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development which can lead to difficulties concentrating or controlling motor function effectively.

What causes ADHD?

The cause of ADHD is not fully understood. However, there is some speculation that it may be caused by genetic factors, or by interruptions to neural devleopment or function, such as brain injury or premature birth (the latest studies suggest that prematurely born children may be up to 80% more likely to develop ADHD than their full-term counterparts).

Symptoms of ADHD

The NHS website tells us that the symptoms of ADHD are well defined and usually noticeable in children before the age of 6. They are:


The main signs of inattentiveness are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • constantly changing activity or task
  • having difficulty organising tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

These symptoms can cause significant problems in a child’s life, such as underachievement at school, poor social interaction with other children and adults, and problems with discipline.

Useful ADHD resources

The ADHD foundation has a wonderful booklet giving lots of information about ADHD and how children with the condition can be effectively supported at school. There is also an entire section on their website dedicated to schools which may be of interest.

Our partners at nasen also have some brilliant publications for supporting children with ADHD. For example, their book; Successfully Teaching and Managing Children with ADHD: A Resource for SENCOs and Teachers (nasen spotlight) is a fantastic book offering lots of information, advice and support strategies. This really is essential reading for classroom practitioners. In fact, we are giving a copy away in our latest giveaway, so why not enter for a chance to win (giveaway is running throughout October 2019).

ADHD and You is another site with a useful resource book that is worth taking a look at – find it here.

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

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 October Giveaway: ADHD Support Book

October is ADHD awareness month. That’s why we are giving away a copy of the book “Successfully Teaching and Managing Children with ADHD: A Resource for SENCOs and Teachers” (nasen spotlight). Find out more about this great prize and how to enter our FREE prize draw here.

About the prize

Written by one of the UK’s leading experts in ADHD, O’Regan’s Successfully Teaching and Managing Children with ADHD is an invaluable resource offering practical and effective strategies for managing the difficult and often disruptive symptoms of ADHD in the classroom setting. Alongside the accessible and user-friendly resources that have made the first edition so valued, this second edition offers:

  • A greater number of case studies addressing the key issues surrounding ADHD in education
  • Up-to-date information and advice regarding medication and behavioural strategies
  • Specific advice on recognising and managing ADHD in girls and adults

Chapters in this book explore topics such as recognising and managing ADHD behaviour; working with parents of children with ADHD; whole school approaches to ADHD; and professional development for teachers and assistants. With accompanying assessment and management resources including the CAST (Child ADHD Screening Tool), this is an essential tool for teachers, SENCOs, behavioural management staff and senior leaders.

How to enter

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!


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 Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), what causes it and how can you support children who have it?

If a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, she risks damaging her baby. Sometimes this can result in mental and physical problems in the baby, called foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Find answers to your questions about this condition and how to support children who have it here.

Find information on FASD here as well as how you can effectively support children with the condition in your classroom.

What is FASD?

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella term for several diagnoses that are all related to prenatal exposure to alcohol. These are:

  • Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, FAS
  • Partial Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, PFAS
  • Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disorder, ARND
  • Alcohol Related Birth Defects, ARBD

According to the NHS website;

This can occur because alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to her baby through the placenta.The baby can’t process alcohol as well as the mother can, which means it can damage cells in their brain, spinal cord and other parts of their body, and disrupt their development in the womb.This can result in the loss of the pregnancy. Babies that survive may be left with lifelong problems. Foetal alcohol syndrome is a type of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), the name for all the various problems that can affect children if their mother drinks alcohol in pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of FASD?

A baby exposed to alcohol in the womb may have:

  • a head that’s smaller than average
  • poor growth – they may be smaller than average at birth, grow slowly as they get older, and be shorter than average as an adult
  • distinctive facial features – such as small eyes, a thin upper lip, and a smooth area between the nose and upper lip, though these may become less noticeable with age
  • movement and co-ordination problems, known as cerebral palsy
  • learning difficulties – such as problems with thinking, speech, social skills, timekeeping, maths or memory
  • mood, attention or behavioural problems 
  • problems with the liver, kidneys, heart or other organs
  • hearing and vision problems

These problems are permanent, though early treatment and support can help limit their impact on an affected child’s life.

How can you effectively support children with FASD in school?

Students with FASD may benefit from:

  • being seated at the front of the classroom due to hearing and vision problems
  • using assistive devices or receiving one to one support in class due to poor coordination
  • being allowed to complete work or tests in a separate room due to poor concentration
  • being given additional time to complete in-class and homework assignments due to reduced processing abilities
  • additional tutoring in areas of weakness
  • taking medication to help with attention problems and other issues
  • being offered occupational, physical, and speech therapies

Teachers can provide additional support by:

  • presenting information in clear, brief, and simple segments
  • reducing distractions in the classroom
  • using visual support materials
  • using a visual timetable or providing advance warning of changes of activity
  • teaching on a one to one or small group basis
  • teaching relaxation and anger management techniques

As with many types of special educational need, finding the best strategy for supporting students with FASD may take time, so be patient. Assessing students’ unique strengths, praising them for their efforts, and providing a supportive environment can go a long way toward helping children with this condition to succeed at school.

Are you seeking SEND work or staff?

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?

FREE nasen membership and shopping vouchers for helping with consultation

Our partners, nasen are proud to have launched their membership consultation process and they need you to take part! If you’ve never been a nasen member before, then you can join their short, half-day focus group and you’ll receive a FREE membership worth up-to £160 and a high street shopping voucher worth £20!

The focus groups take place at the Vox Conference Centre at Resorts World, Birmingham, on the 31st of October. Refreshments will be provided and nasen are covering travel and reasonable subsistence costs too! There’s really no reason not to join them for this rewarding opportunity.

Your feedback is essential in helping nasen create the best membership service possible. Book your space on the consultation now! Space is extremely limited.Book now:–non-members.html

nasen awards coming soon!

Don’t forget that the nasen awards are also coming soon. Axcis are thrilled to sponsor this event as well as an award, so watch this space for more information – we will be sharing details of the winners once they are announced.

Are you seeking special needs work or staff?

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?

%d bloggers like this: