We are thrilled to introduce our Axcis Ambassadors. These are notable individuals who are involved with the SEND sector and who support the work we do at Axcis. You may have seen guest posts on our blog from them, or you may have heard about wonderful SEND products or services they offer. Find out more here.
Danielle Brown MBE
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.
In 2019, Danielle was made a patron for the charity nasen – the National Association for Special Educational Needs. Axcis have been long-standing partners to this charity and are proud to support the work they do for the sector.
Danielle has written several guest blogs for Axcis and has also provided a signed copy of her book, “Be Your Best Self” for us to use as a competition prize. She wrote this book in conjunction with 9 year old Nathan Kai. Find out more about it here.
Graham Chatterley previously worked as 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 a mainstream setting. The other having significant ASD, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder needs requiring an SLD setting. This puts Graham in an insightful position, understanding the demands of both a home and education setting for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Graham now runs his own training and consultancy venture, called “Challenging Perceptions”. His aim is to help teachers and other education professionals to “look beneath the behaviour” and to effectively support children without (or with minimal) use of punitive measures. His ethos reflects the “seek first to understand” mentality and supports the idea of building relationships with challenging pupils in order to effectively support them. You can read more about this venture here.
We are proud to receive regular guest posts from Graham on this blog – here are a few you might like to take a look at:
Do you have students in your school or setting who care for friends or relatives? Are you concerned about their welfare, attainment or attendance as a result of a care commitment? If so, find out here how you can support young carers while they are at school.
According to the charity Carers Trust:
There are around 700,000 young carers in the UK. Furthermore, 80% miss out on childhood experiences, as they need to spend time caring for family or friends.
What is the definition of a young carer?
A young carer is anyone aged 18 or under who provides care to a friend or family member with a health problem, disability, addiction, or other vulnerability. Young carers usually look after a dependent grandparent, parent, brother or sister, and are often required to help with chores around the house, physical and emotional care, errands, administering medications, and other responsibilities. People who require care may need a significant amount of support. However, young carers can’t deliver the same level of care a professional could, and they often struggle to provide care without impacting on their own wellbeing.
Some of the difficulties young carers face include:
Poor physical and mental health. The pressures of looking after a person can cause a young carer to suffer from a poor sleeping pattern, to have an unhealthy diet, reduced physical fitness, and more frequent illnesses. This can lead to exhaustion and mental health problems such as stress and depression.
Difficulties at school. Juggling school and caring for someone can significantly impact on a young person’s education. They might turn up to school late or not at all, struggle to find time for homework and revision, and feel too stressed and tired at school to concentrate and learn. Studies show that 1 in 20 young carers miss school.
Social life. Young carers often struggle to find time for friends and social events, as they’re busy cooking, cleaning, etc. This affects their mental health and self-esteem, and can lead to social exclusion. It can even lead to bullying. A survey by Carers Trust revealed that 26% of students have been bullied at school due to their caring role.
Self-esteem. Due to the impacts on their social life and education, young carers can struggle with self-esteem and confidence. They will feel different to their peers as they may not relate to them anymore. Furthermore, they might not realise that their situation is unusual for children their age, so their struggles at school and home may make them feel incapable.
What can teachers and support staff do to support young carers at school?
The most important thing you can do to support a young carer is to be available to talk to them whenever needed. They should be assured that you are there to listen if they are having problems or feeling overwhelmed by the situation they are in, and they should feel that you will support them in any way possible. Try to have conversations privately so that if they want to open up or talk about anything, they can do so freely. In addition to this, you can:
Run awareness days
Run charity events, such as non-uniform days or bake sales to raise awareness for young carers. Share publications and host assemblies that educate students about young carers and highlights support networks, including simply talking to their teachers. Young Carers Awareness Day is held at the end of January every year, so this can be an ideal time to run your events.
Not only do these events help young carers around the country receive the help they need, but it also raises awareness in your school. It encourages young carers to approach you for support, and helps them recognise that their situation is unusual for a person their age, but also not uncommon. It shows them that they’re not alone, and that help is available.
Support their studies
Young carers will likely need support in school to keep up with their peers and get the most out of their education. You should make an effort to provide them extra help whenever they need it.
To support their studies, you could:
Run a lunchtime catch-up class. Use this time to go through homework or any topics the student didn’t quite understand.
Give them more leeway with deadlines, particularly when they need to provide more care than usual. It’s important to keep an ongoing dialogue with them about their needs and ensure flexibility.
Help their parents travel to parents’ evenings if they have difficulty leaving the house.
Allow students to use their phone during breaks and lunch to check on the person they’re caring for.
Be sympathetic and lenient with problems, such as lateness and missed homework. Where you cannot avoid disciplinary actions, such as detention over broken rules, consider letting them take their detention during lunch. This allows them to get home on time for the person they’re caring for.
Help them access support
Most young carers won’t know that there are numerous support avenues available for them. That’s why you should educate your students about the types of support available and help them acquire support where possible.
The types of support young carers can access include:
Mental and physical health support. Help the student arrange an appointment with the school nurse and/or counsellor to discuss their issues and ways to cope with their situation. These people can also help the student find help outside of school if they need it.
Socialising with other young carers. Meeting other young carers can be an excellent way for the student to make new friends, share their experiences, rebuild their self-esteem, and have the social opportunities that children their age should have. The Children’s Society runs such social clubs and support services for young carers in many areas. Local carers centres may also do so.
A social worker from their local authority. If a young carer or their parent requests it, these workers are legally required to visit, assess the situation, and provide support to a young carer’s family if they need it. You should help young carers contact their local authority if you can. For further information, visit the Carers UK website.
Young carers who would rather contact someone on their owncan call Childline on 0800 11 11. Childline offer advice and support to anyone that calls and do so confidentially. Be sure to make this number known to students, as some may not want to open up to you in school, but may pursue help on their own. Having shared the number, you will have still helped greatly.
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.
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.
Below you’ll find a list of some of the latest autism news, compiled by our friends at The National Autistic Society. Each title is clickable and the link will take you to their website where you can find the full story.
Graham Chatterley is a regular guest blogger for Axcis. Until recently, he was a member of senior management in a specialist school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs. Alongside this he is a dedicated father and one of his children has profound autism. Graham therefore understands the challenges of both home and school situations for children with SEND. He has just launched his new venture, “Challenging Perceptions”. Find out more about it here.
At Christmas I left my job as Assistant Head at a school I love, with staff I loved and kids I loved, but a Headteacher I didn’t love. I think we can call it creative differences and there were many reasons I had to go but the day I decided for definite was when I was asked to accept that systems were more important than relationships. There isn’t a fibre of my being that believes that and despite my best efforts I wasn’t going to change any minds so I decided that it had become time for something new.
I have been providing outreach support for some time and have developed my own training. I therefore decided to set up my own company, rather than seek another leadership role. With the pressures of home and the school workload I had dropped out of the NPQH so I couldn’t progress in that respect.
The first thing I needed was a name…
What is it I wanted to achieve? I went through the different parts of the course and which were the most relevant. The whole premise of the training is the idea that if we can increase staff understanding of children’s challenging behaviour then we can change the way staff react in times of crisis. More empathy for the “why” of behaviour creates a different response to the “what”. Therefore, what I’m actually trying to do is change the way staff perceive behaviour. For example – a realisation that a child is being disruptive because they are scared of failing at the work – rather than because they fancy giving a personal attack that day – means a different reaction from the staff – which in turn helps to reduce conflict. This also has a positive knock-on effect for staff wellbeing.
Challenging Perceptions Limited was born.
Now I needed a name for my main course; it used to be called ‘Reworking the Conflict Spiral’. Based on the Team Teach conflict spiral, it looked at how experiences like trauma, failure etc impact on feelings like low self esteem, frustration and anger. This drives avoidant and aggressive behaviour and how we as staff react depends on whether we end up with conflict. We often use punitive measures due to the policies in place at most schools.
If we rework this so that the reactions are less punitive and more empathetic then we can change experiences. Instead of failure, negativity and believing that adults are scary and can’t be trusted, they can become; I can do this, I can be more positive, adults can be trusted and that I might be different but that’s OK. These children then feel safer, like they belong and have more self-worth. This leads to a child who is calmer and who can access strategies because they are regulated and can remember them. We end up with no conflict because they can self-regulate.
Unfortunately, as I designed this course while in post at school, it officially “belongs” to them and as such I have been unable to bring it with me to my new venture and I was advised to design a new course. So that’s what I did – it was following an incident at school and a LinkedIn post that resulted. The post read;
I had a pupil make quite a significant disclosure today. Something that had been weighing on him for weeks.
How did he tell me he wanted to disclose this?
He tried to abscond, damaged displays, stabbed me with a screw, messed with my phone and stole my keys. When I didn’t hold him, send him home, fight with him for the equipment or threaten him with a consequence he came into another room and explained everything.
Behaviour is a language and we all speak it if we take the time to decipher it!
Now usually the only time one of my LinkedIn posts is viewed a lot is if it’s a video of Daniel (my disabled genius slash spawn of Satan son) and I’m cool with that, he’s far more interesting than I am. However this one seemed to strike a chord and I had loads of comments and lots of questions about it. When I had put the final sentence on I hadn’t thought much of it. I was doing my job, it’s a position I’ve been in before, something about his body language didn’t make me feel threatened and if it did escalate I knew I had the skills to manage it. That child needed to know I wouldn’t be pushed away and I wouldn’t reject him – and when he felt like he could trust me – he offloaded.
That’s the thing with our most challenging pupils. They are bottling up all sorts of emotions and don’t feel safe enough or trust anyone enough to share them. Eventually it overflows and we often see extreme behaviours as a result. We have to do our best to take a step back and we have to look behind the behaviour.
So I decided to call my course ‘Deciphering the Language of Behaviour’ and that’s what I am trying to help people do. It’s the same principal with a lot of the same content as my previous course and raising understanding and empathy is still the focus. We have to pass some tests to prove we are worthy enough to earn their trust. You may be the only adult in their life who has ever been trusted and that is a very special thing.
Safeguarding is always a hot topic for education professionals. But how can you make sure that you are meeting your responsibilities with regard to safeguarding while working at schools on a supply basis?
1 – Pay close attention during your registration interview
Your consultant will run through the company safeguarding policy and also give practical advice for when you are in school. All Axcis staff are then safer recruitment tested at interview and offered further training where needed.
2 – Undertake further training
At Axcis, we take our training responsibilities seriously and are pleased to offer Level 2 Safeguarding to our list of training courses on offer. If you’d like more information on the course, have a look at this article.
4 – Be aware of the school child protection policy and staff behaviour policy
When you are new to a school, they should provide you with a copy of (or access to) the child protection policy and the staff behaviour policy. You should take the time to review these documents at your earliest convenience, as they may vary from school to school. However, we would always advise new members of staff to behave with caution and defer to experienced staff members if there are difficult situations, especially when you are new to a school.
5 – Be aware of who the designated safeguarding lead is
If you are not informed as to who the designated safeguarding lead in a school is, you should always ask. This is the person who you should approach if you have any cause for concern or questions regarding safeguarding or child protection while in school, so it’s important you know who they are.
6 – Reflect
Part of the “Safeguarding Trilogy” is to “reflect”. This is because simply the act of receiving a disclosure or being involved in an incident can be traumatic for all parties. The ‘reflect’ section includes both personal and professional issues: thinking about how you might deal with the situation in future or improve your practice to avoid incidents, and also making sure that you’re OK by talking to friends and family, and even your Axcis consultant if you’re feeling vulnerable.
7 – Be aware of early warning signs
All staff, whether on supply or not need to be aware that they are on the front line where safeguarding is concerned, and they are responsible for reporting signs of abuse or neglect to the designated safeguarding lead – there is an excellent support document provided by the NSPCC.
8 – Remember to inform your Axcis consultant
As an Axcis employee, it is advised that you keep your consultant in the loop if you experience any safeguarding concerns while on supply at one of the schools we work with. At Axcis, we want to ensure that you receive the appropriate level of support and training to ensure that your experience of working for us is a positive one. Remember, if you have questions or concerns, your consultant is always just a phone call away.
At Axcis, we are proud long-term supporters of the National Autistic Society and nasen (the National Association for Special Educational Needs). But from 2020, we are also nominating an additional annual charity to support with our fundraising efforts. To kick off this campaign, we have selected Sky Badger. But who are they and why have we chosen to support them?
Why does Axcis support SEND charities?
As leaders in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) recruitment, we feel that it’s important to demonstrate our commitment to the sector. That’s why we have long-standing relationships with the National Autistic Society and nasen and have supported other charitable organisations and events on and off over the years. We do this because we know how vital the work these organisations do is for young people with SEND as well as their families and the wider community – and they can’t do this without financial help. That’s where we (and of course their other sponsors) come in.
Why Sky Badger in 2020?
We chose Sky Badger because we want to support a smaller charity alongside the national organisations we are already working with. We are aware that the bigger charities often attract the lions share of the attention when it comes to fundraising and public attention. So when we found out about Sky Badger and the wonderful work they are doing, we felt that this was a smaller charity that we could not only support financially, but help to put a spotlight on in 2020, too.
Who are Sky Badger?
Sky Badger is a charity which finds help and adventure for disabled children and their families all over the UK. They do this by building bridges between disabled children and the charities and services available to help. They find everything from disabled sports clubs to sibling groups to ‘make a wish’ charities and tell families about them though their website, social media platforms, videos, information packs and helpdesk. We recently posted a guest article from Naomi, their CEO – you can read it here and find out more about how Sky Badger came to be and why they are a brilliant charity.
What will Axcis be doing to support Sky Badger in 2020?
We will be doing a range of internal fundraising activities aimed at raising money for Sky Badger throughout 2020. From bake sales and dress-down days to bucket collecting, meme the boss competitions, draws to win free lunches (on the company of course) and much, much more. The aim of the game is to get each team actively involved in activities to raise funds, as well as awareness about the charity. Axcis will then DOUBLE the amount raised at the end of the year before presenting Sky Badger with what we hope will be a sizable cheque!
Make your own donation or get involved
If this is the first time you’ve heard about Sky Badger and you’d like to get involved or make your own donation, you can do so via their website: https://skybadger.co.uk/
Are you a student or recent graduate considering teaching or support work? Find out here why Axcis could be the perfect place to find your ideal graduate job.
Who are Axcis?
We are a specialist recruitment company offering temporary and permanent assignments. We work with mainstream schools and alternative provisions to find staff who can teach and support children who have a range of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We sponsor the National Autistic Society and nasen, as well as other national SEND charities and organisations. We do this because we believe in the work they are doing and want to play a part in ensuring that children with SEND receive the very best educational experience possible – after all, don’t all children deserve the best start in life?
What sort of teaching and support jobs do Axcis offer?
We offer a range of teaching and support jobs for graduates, to include:
There is no catch! Schools ask us to find them the best SEND staff possible because they either don’t have the time or resources to find their own staff. Our service is entirely FREE of charge for candidates and we have access to many vacancies which are not on the open job market. Registering with Axcis will gain you access to these jobs, as well as all the other fantastic things we offer.
What else do you offer?
We will help you to find work, but that’s not all. At Axcis, we will also offer you:
Friendly support and advice to help you with your CV, job hunt, interview technique etc.
FREEor discounted training and continued professional development opportunities, see our events diary or our training page for more information.
FREE giveaways for fantastic SEND resources and shopping vouchers
FREE SEND resources via our blog and social media pages to help you develop your professional practice
Regular news and updates from the SEND sector to help you stay up to date with developments
Candidate of the Term Awards – we think it’s important to recognise the hard work our staff put in, so run Candidate of the Term awards towards the end of each school term.
How do I get a job with Axcis?
It’s as easy as 1,2 3….Register online – this is an easy process that takes most people around 10 minutes to complete
Meet your consultant – once registered online, your consultant will get in touch to discuss your own personal situation and work needs. We don’t like to waste your time, so will invite you in for a meeting only if we feel we can assist you with your search for work.
Compliance checks – when you come in to meet your consultant, you’ll be asked to bring along some paperwork so that our vetting team can perform standard compliance checks. (References, DBS etc). Once these are clear, you can start working for Axcis – this could be as soon as the next day!
How do I know if working for Axcis is right for me?
At Axcis, we pride ourselves on being open and honest with our candidates. We don’t want to get a poor reputation by telling people we can find them work if it’s not true! So, if you are not sure whether we are the right company for you, the best solution is to give your local branch a call. Once you speak with one of our consultants, you should get a clear idea of how we can assist you based on your personal situation. See our Facebook reviews page or our Google business pages for recent feedback on our service – we are thrilled to receive comments such as:
If you are in any way involved in SEN, either as a parent, teacher, carer, assistant or someone who wants to better understand their own condition, the information on the Axcis Education page is gold.
An excellent agency to work with compared to all the other agencies I signed up with . I would highly recommend Axcis ! Thank you Martin K /London office / and the team for making my time working there both enjoyable and fulfilling. Thank you so much
Brilliant agency, so reliable and the consultants are so helpful and professional.
It is widely recognised that getting outdoors and experiencing nature is great for children, so why not get your class involved in the Big Schools Birdwatch? It’s running from the 25th until the 27th of January, so take a look at the FREE resources which have been made available by the RSPB, do something fun and help this fantastic organisation at the same time!
The Big Schools Birdwatch – what is it?
Quite simply, the Big Schools Birdwatch asks children to spend an hour identifying and counting the birds which visit their outside space. The results are then sent back to the RSPB.
What resources are available to help?
Bird identification poster
Once you register to take part, you’ll be sent a bird identification poster. You can use this to teach the children how to recognise the different birds which come to visit.
Who are the winners of the Axcis Candidate of the Term Winter 2019 awards? And what did they do to go above and beyond the call of duty for the schools they are working in?
We had lots of lovely nominations from the schools we work with. These were all published on our blog for anyone who missed them. Selecting winners wasn’t easy, and all nominees received a certificate of appreciation for the hard work they do, but after much deliberation, winners were selected…
And the winners are…
Becky, working for Cassie, Axcis North Wales
Reason for nomination: I would like to nominate Becky for this award because of her work-ethic over this term. She very quickly settled into a busy additional needs department in a often challenging environment. Her role has involved working with our most vulnerable and challenging learners across key stage 3 & 4. She has worked with a number of learners from Traveller backgrounds who are often difficult to mange in the classroom environment and whose attendance is often sporadic. She has managed their behaviour very well within the classroom environment and during break and lunch times. These learners respond well to her and know that they are able to come to her if they have a problem. They will work in lessons to please her and try their best on work, which is a huge achievement! Becky is able to work with the learners when they are having a difficult day and support their social and emotional needs. She is often able to discuss issues with them and support them to re-engage with their learning. As well as her great work with Travellers, she has supported other additional learning needs learners within small group intervention, on a one to one basis and within lessons. She has had a huge impact on a number of EAL learners who joined the school this term with very little English. She has helped them to settle into the school and learn school routines. She has supported them using a range of resources to help them to communicate with peers and staff and has taken a small group to develop their literacy/communication skills. It has been amazing to see how the confidence of these learners has increased in a short time. It has been a pleasure to have Becky with us this term. She has developed a good relationship with many learners and the ALN team.
A note from Cassie, Becky’s Consultant:
I am delighted that Becky has won the candidate of the term award. It is such a pleasure to work with her, she is always flexible and consistently hard working, she never lets us down and the feedback I receive from clients is always a positive, she goes above and beyond.
What Becky said about winning:
I was so pleased to be nominated for the Axcis Candidate of the Term Award. To then find out I had won was absolutely amazing. I would Iike to thank, Cassie from Axcis Education and also the ALN team within the school, they have all been very supportive throughout my time there. I hope to return again very soon.
Sian, working for Gemma, Axcis South West
Reason for nomination: Please can can I nominate Sian for the candidate of the term. She has slotted into school life seamlessly and is always willing to go the extra mile. Her role involves having to work in a variety of settings within the school and she manages each of these brilliantly, nothing seems to phase her. This week Sian has been exceptional. All our SEN staff have been out and she has stepped up to manage our ASC room with no fuss. She has been really proactive in contacting me in the evening to find out about planning when she realised the room lead was out and offered to increase her hours to ensure the pupils had a familiar face. Today she has had to manage a team of supply LSAs unfamiliar to the school to ensure all the children are getting the sight support.
Sandra, working for Blake, Axcis London
Reason for nomination: The reason I would like to nominate Sandra is that in the year she has worked with her client she has enabled him to make more progress with his communication and life skills than the previous 3 years at a very expensive independent special school specialising in ASD. As I understand it she has made a huge difference to not only his life but the lives of his family as he can now communicate with them and can engage in activities he enjoys including sports and cooking.
A note from Blake, Sandra’s consultant:
When I told Sandra she had one she was stunned to silence and overwhelmed with joy, even though she knows she is doing a good job its always nice to get recognition for her efforts and she is even more happy that she is making such a difference in the young persons life she is working with day in day out.
Do your Axcis staff go the extra mile?
If your Axcis contractor goes the extra mile and you’d like to nominate them for a Candidate of the Term award, don’t forget to keep an eye on our blog for when nominations open next term. Or if you’d like to hire one of our fantastic teachers or support staff, why not get in touch with your local office or email us your vacancy today?
Regular readers of the Axcis blog will be aware that Paralympic Gold Medalist, Danielle Brown MBE has recently co-authored a book entitled “Be Your Best Self”. Find out more about this book and how you can be in with a chance to win a signed copy here.
About the Book
For those not already in the know, Danielle wrote this book with a young boy – 9 year old Nathan Kai. The aim was to produce a sort of “self help” book for children, inspiring them to be the best they can be. You can read all about the project in a recent guest blog Danielle wrote for Axcis. In this blog, she explains how the project came about and why she chose to work with Nathan on it.
About Danielle Brown
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. We are also thrilled that she has agreed to become an Axcis Ambassador – an initiative we will be launching this year – so watch this space!
How to enter the Axcis 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!