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Urban learning are a specialist Education Recruitment Agency, providing locum and permanent staff to clients nationwide.With a business model built on providing high quality, compliant, and skilled staff, we aim to give our candidates and clients a personable, professional, and focused.

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Getting children (or adults, for that matter) to look up from their phones and tablets for a single second has become a task of Herculean proportions. We’re constantly online, seeking stimulation via brightly coloured games, snappily edited videos and social media interactions. For the younger kids, it’s episodes of Peppa Pig and slime-making tutorials and, for the teenagers, Snapchat and Instagram still reign supreme, with 75% and 76% respectively of surveyed teens between 13 and 17 using the apps.
 
Lessons present a rare opportunity to make children remove their headphones, look up from their screens and be in the moment. It’s tempting to give them a taste of how previous generations accessed education, before the advent of the internet, let alone smartphones. However, denying the existence of technology and sticking to the traditional blackboard and textbook approach seems anachronistic and a little unenlightened considering the integral role tech and the internet plays in our world.
 
‘Edtech’ is a relatively new concept but one that is rapidly gaining traction. According to The Guardian, ‘Schools now spend £900m on education technology every year, and it is estimated the global market will be worth £129bn by 2020.’  This sector is one of the fastest growing tech markets in the UK, with more than 1,000 startups cropping up across the country in 2017, and over 200 in London alone. This trend is clearly not going away.
 
So, what does ‘edtech’ entail? It can refer to apps that are designed to spice up the learning process, such as Kahoot!. Described as a ‘free game-based learning platform’, Kahoot! is designed to make what could be considered ‘dry’ subjects fun and engaging for children. As of January 2018, the app had reached 70 million active users every month. There are options for teachers to create their own games and quizzes, or choose from those that already exist on the app. Students take part by playing on their own devices and can earn points and challenge other classes.
 
Another form that ‘edtech’ can take is streamlining processes for teachers. The heavy workload that has become the norm in most schools has discouraged potential new teachers in recent years and seen some quit the profession altogether. Platforms like Firefly Learning help teachers automate some of the slew of paperwork that comes with the job, so they can spend more time actually educating and interacting with students. It can also help with lesson plans and marking online, as well as providing teachers with a space to interact and offer support to one another.
 
Although this sector is clearly growing, schools are rarely early adopters or risk-takers. With their limited resources and the high level of scrutiny from boards and parents, things often have to be tried and tested before schools will invest their hard-won funds. There are opportunities for parents to encourage learning via technology outside of the classroom, but this is obviously on an individual rather than institutional basis.
 
However, a shift does seem to be occurring, albeit slowly and in small increments. The one thing that seems certain is that tech in classrooms remains a tool wielded by teachers. It is in no way a replacement for the enthusiasm, commitment and care that makes educators good at what they do. Instead, it is something that can be used to enhance learning and lighten the admin load. It is also something that will take teachers time to harness and master and, once this is achieved, certainly will have its role to play in the world of education.
Whether you’ve been a teacher for years, or this is your very first term back to school since you left as a student, there are a few things to keep in mind during the first couple of weeks of term. Staying organised, not letting yourself get overwhelmed and easing back into the flow of term-time can be a challenge.
 
We have put together a short checklist for this very reason to help any teachers who might be struggling to get back into their routine after the holidays.
 
Planning
Sometimes, there are few things as useful as a good, old-fashioned to-do list. You may want to stick to a notepad or use apps like Todoist or Evernote but, whatever you choose, keeping lists help you to prioritise. They are also essential in the, sometimes inevitable, chaos of a school - when crisis strikes, you want to be able to remember what you were doing and still have left to do.
 
Celebrate the good
You’ll be well-versed in lesson planning and reporting progress by the time you start in September, but often teachers forget to record the victories. Making time to do this amid some of the other more admin-like tasks can be a lifesaver any time you’re having a tough day. Reading about some of the times teaching made you feel brilliant will make the hard times easier.
 
Strike a balance
Between the energy it takes to be around, let alone teach, several classes of rambunctious students and the amount of marking you have to take home with you, making time for yourself can be pushed aside. Having a social life is important for your mental health. Plan things in advance so they are harder to get out of. Maybe commit to a course that takes you out of your house once a week - if you pre-pay, not going becomes a waste of money.
 
Eat well
The worse your eating habits get, the worse you’ll feel. It may be tempting to grab food on the go and feel quicker to nip into Pret than to prepare things at home but it isn’t just unhealthy - it's a waste of money. Batch cooking on a Sunday can be a total lifesaver; it’s healthy, cost-effective and you can show off to all your colleagues about how efficient you are. You can find some good recipes here.
 
Ask for help
Work can be stressful, no matter your profession. Teaching any age group comes with its own unique set of challenges and these can sometimes become too much to cope with alone. Seeking out a mentor in your school can be incredibly helpful but, if you don’t feel comfortable confiding in another member of staff, there are other resources available. The Education Support Partnership is a charity that provides help to all education staff. You can chat online, or on the telephone and ask them for advice on any teaching issues.
A mere week after we were awarded a place on the Crescent Purchasing Consortium we have been notified we have also been awarded a place as a Crown Commercial Services supplier!
 
 
 
As a relatively new business, these frameworks and support from our parent company (Urban Recruitment Group) mean that we are making strong headway in the market very quickly.
 
We believe that a focus on great customer service, personal guidance and close relationships with Schools are what make a great Education agency and we are committed to maintaining that stance as we grow further.
 
Michelle Emery, Recruitment Manager, said: "We're very happy that we have another framework on board. My team now have a lot of work to do to make the most of this great opportunity and we look forward to working with lots more Schools and Teachers/TAs along the way!"
 
If you would like to speak to one of our Recruiters, please call us on  0208 506 6740 or email info@urbanlearning.co.uk.
As part of our ongoing growth, we are very proud to announce we have been awarded supplier status with the CPC (Crescent Purchasing Consortium).  This means we now have access to temporary and permanent vacancies with hundreds more Schools and Academies across the country. 

 
Our team are working extremely hard to continue this growth and have other large frameworks in the pipeline to support this.
 
Our biggest advantage is our amazing Recruiters and Teachers/TAs, people truly do make this business what it is and we're sure we will see it grow from strength to strength over the next few years.
 
Michelle Emery, Education Recruitment Manager, said "I'm so proud of the team and what we've achieved in such a short period of time.  We're committed to providing a top-notch service to both our Schools and Candidates and having access to this new framework helps us achieve this."
 
If you would like to speak to one of our Recruiters, please call us on  0208 506 6740 or email info@urbanlearning.co.uk.
 
As anyone who works in education knows, the life of a teacher can be a demanding and stressful one, albeit very rewarding at times. From planning lessons and marking homework, through to preparing for Ofsted inspections and parents’ evenings, it can all mount up.
 
A YouGov survey commissioned by an education charity last year found that 75% of teachers in the UK reported symptoms of stress – including depression, anxiety and panic attacks. This is in stark contrast with just 62% of the working population as a whole.
 
Another survey by NEU showed that workload is causing 80% of teachers to consider leaving the profession. What are the government doing? Earlier this year, The Department for Education claimed it is supporting schools to reduce unnecessary workload (a key factor of teachers’ stress), and has pledged to give schools and teachers longer notice policy changes. Meanwhile, Ofsted has made great efforts to debunk myths that it needs specific types of marking or teaching in classes, and no longer calls out individual teachers during inspections.
 
Stress is clearly something many teachers experience. With a bit of patience and knowhow, you can also learn how to manage – and ultimately beat – any stresses and strains you might face along your career. Here are some tried and tested methods to reduce and help eliminate teacher stress.
 
Identify the main causes
There could be several reasons for a teacher to feel stressed. These can include workload, an uncontrollable class, a difficult parent, or an unreasonable head. Try and identify the problems and categorise them into two sections, problems you have control over, and problems you have no control over. When you begin to analyse the stress triggers you have some control over it can give you a solution to addressing some of your stresses.
 
Communicate
As the old adage goes “A problem shared, is a problem halved”, and this is very true when it comes to stress. Whether it’s a fellow teacher, your head/ head of department or partner, it’s important to have honest, open discussions about things that worry you and that are causing you stress. Other people may have an alternative way of looking at the issues and may even have a solution you’ve not even thought of.
 
Prioritise tasks
If a heavy workload is a main cause of stress for you, then an effective way to reduce the amount of work on your agenda is by working on the crucial, most essential tasks/projects first. Remember to be realistic with deadlines and try not to overload your already full schedule. Realise that you’re far more likely to make mistakes when you’re stressed and anxious. With an achievable workload you’re giving yourself the best chance of producing excellent work as well as reducing stress.
 
Make time for yourself
The very nature of teaching often sees them coming in early and leaving late. Try and stick to your routine and not work too late, too often. Having some kind of work/life balance is essential to reducing stress. Make a schedule for work that you’ll do outside class times and try to keep to it, allowing you to dedicate time outside of this for yourself, friends and family. The bottom line is that learning how to switch off is essential to reducing stress and anxiety.
 
Write a list
It may seem obvious but making a list at the start of each day, or at the end of the day for the following one, helps give you clarity in exactly what you need to do. Just the act of ticking things off your to-do list has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, not to mention the lovely satisfied feeling you’ll get as your list decreases throughout the day. Move any tasks that you didn’t manage to complete to the top of the next day’s list and finish it as a priority.
 
Urban Learning’s Education Division Team Leader Michelle Emery says, “Everyone’s looking for the perfect teacher, but although their teachings might be divine, teachers are all too human, and that’s something others find hard to accept. Don’t confuse the teacher with the lesson”.
 
These are a few obvious but essential ways to help make your work life a little less stressful and a lot more manageable. If you would like to speak to us about your next role in education and start utilising these stress-busting methods, then check out the latest vacancies here.
 
We look forward to hearing from you.
Hints and Tips to surviving the interview process:
As we all know Teachers are under a lot of pressure and sometimes struggle to plan their day to day lessons let alone for a lesson observation and interview. With such little time on your hands there is still an expectation to present an Outstanding lesson. So… how do we survive the interview process? Here are so helpful tips?
 
  • Don’t over prepare yourself
Try and keep your lesson detailed but simple. Have a clear objective in mind and try to get everything covered. Try and focus on a main topic that you can really be enthusiastic about.
 
  • Keep the students talking and LOTS of questions
Try and forget about getting your students to do pages of writing, keep them engaged and talking. The Senior Leadership are more interested in seeing the enthusiasm and good relationships that you can build with pupils. Get them involved.
 
  • Preparation
When you arrive at the school, be prepared to get teaching your lesson straight away. You may not get much time once you have arrived to prepare so make sure you take everything you need with you including pens and print outs.
 
  • First impression is key
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a new outfit however we all wants to look our best on interview. You need to feel comfortable in what your wearing but remember to dress smart.
 
  • Research
It is key to do as much research about the school that you are visiting as possible. Make sure you read through their recent Ofsted report and really go into detail about what you could offer the school to help them meet their goals. Don’t over do it and over prepare but make sure you prep yourself on recent GCSE results but remember your lesson is priority.
Preparing for your lesson

How to prepare effectively for your lesson observation & interview.

Understand the School

It’s extremely important to consider the ethos of the School you are about to interview with when you are preparing for your lesson observation and interview. Would the School rather see a structured lesson or something more creative?

Know the class data

Make sure you are fully prepped on the age group, class size and the ability ranges of the class you will be teaching. It will help you present a more relevant and successful lesson.

Curriculum

Having a full understanding of where the class is in the curriculum will dictate the lesson that you plan. Delivering a lesson with new concepts will challenge pulils and help them engage.

Play on your strengths

Lesson observations will often give you the freedom to decide the kind of lesson you wish to deliver. If so, use a lesson that you can confidently present and that you have previously recieved excellent feedback for.

A clear and detailed lesson plan

Construct, plan and bring a well presented lesson plan which clearly outlines your lesson objectives, success criteria and different content for the varied levels of ability students. The Interviewer will always ask to see to your lesson plan when they observe your lesson.

SEN/EAL Support

Learning about SEN/EAL levels and the availability of a TA within your class will help with constructing different tasks.

Practice, practice, practice

Run through your lesson plan that you have prepared with colleagues and mentors and ask for feedback. Even deliver it to yourself in front of a mirror if it helps you memorise it.

This guide is available for download here >>>
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YwrUUMFT4I0KeFYhDkUYdf6mEAwcMELL


What was once an educational standard is now increasingly becoming an unknown. Cursive handwriting is being pushed further and further down many a teacher’s lesson plan of importance, but is this good – or bad – for our children?
 
The practice of teaching primary school-aged children the art of cursive (often called ‘joined-up’) handwriting has been a standard part of the UK’s curriculum for decades. But as we march further into the digital age, teachers, parents, and governing bodies are asking “do we still need to teach children cursive handwriting?”.
 
Educational boards across the globe are asking the same question, with some countries going even further and taking action. From 2016, Finnish schoolchildren have learnt how to touch-type and text message rather than traditional handwriting. Last year, the US state of Illinois took the opposite stance and passed a law requiring school students to learn cursive handwriting, overriding the governor’s veto. This will come into effect from the 2018-2019 school year.
 
 
A disappearing artform?
 
A 2012 survey of 2,000 adults by UK mailing firm Docmail found that on average, it had been 41 days since respondents wrote - and that two-thirds of us only write short notes like shopping lists. The survey also showed that half of the people quizzed admitted their handwriting has become worse over time. There is a real danger that if educators and society don’t place more importance on handwriting (cursive or otherwise), younger generations run the risk of losing the ability to write by hand altogether.
 
Sue Crowley, a former teacher and former chair at The Institute of Learning believes it’s time to scrap what she feels is an outdated practice. Speaking to TES, Sue said, “I find it so hard to understand why children should be taught to write with a joined-up style as soon as they can form letters securely with the correct orientation.
 
“Thanks to the dominance of technology, most of us rarely write extensively with a pen or pencil.” So, with this in mind, do the children of today really need to develop cursive writing skills? It’s true that you don’t often see joined-up writing anywhere near as much as you would, say 50, or even 30, years ago. Personal signatures aside, many people no longer scrawl shopping lists or Christmas cards in elegantly sweeping fonts, with perfectly conjoined letters that flow into each other, as do waves on the sea.
 
 
More than just aesthetics
 
Whilst it may no longer be an educational necessity, most will agree that cursive handwriting is impressive. Jane Connolly, member of Peannairi, the Irish Association of Calligraphers, says handwriting is an art. “It’s something nice to look at,” she says, “it shows personality.”
 
Michael Sull, master penman, author and teacher believes teaching cursive handwriting is so much more. He says, “Handwriting develops the cognitive sense in children, as well as motor skill development. Handwriting helps people remember more of what they've written instead of just pressing keys that they have no more thought of after they press it."
 
A school in the state of New York is fully behind teaching children handwriting that is both pleasing to the eye, as well as legible. St. Agnes School encourages excellence in all educational endeavours, and good penmanship is a part of the course of study at the school. At St. Agnes children are taught to practice cursive handwriting at the end of the second grade (7 to 8 years of age), with further mastery taught in third grade (8 to 9 years of age). By the time children enter the fourth grade (9 to 10 years of age), students are expected to complete all of their written work in cursive handwriting. The school’s dedication to the artform recently culminated in their participation in the 2018 Zaner-Bloser 27th Annual National Handwriting Contest. The competition attracts over 300,000 participants from both public and private schools, and all abilities are welcome. Students who enter are judged according to the Zaner-Bloser Keys to Legibility: Shape, Size, Spacing, and Slant.
 
Speaking on behalf of St. Agnes School, Principal Elizabeth Jensen says, “Cursive writing is more than just a ‘lost art form’. Cursive writing allows students an additional means to process language, improve fine motor skills, connect with older generations and engage with historical documents.”
 
Whatever side of the handwriting fence you personally sit on, one would find it hard to say it wouldn’t be a shame if cursive were to disappear from society.
If you’d like to expand your career, visit our jobs boardto look at the latest roles. If you’d just like to have a chat about teaching, then get in touch with one of our experienced education consultants.
 
Call 0208 5066740 or email info@urbanlearning.co.uk
  
 

We had a lovely message come through from one of our candidates that was so nice we thought we'd share it with everyone.
 

In less than a week of making contact, I had an interview, taught my demo lesson and was offered a job as an English teacher in a school with a ‘good’ Ofsted standing. 
 
I could not have obtained this position without Damien's warmth, support and dedication to finding me the best fit in a wonderful school. The entire process – registering, getting references and obtaining an enhanced DBS was done from the comfort of my home. At the end of the week, my timesheets are not faxed but texted to Urban Learning. It is that easy! And after a long day at School, what teacher isn’t looking for easy? - my agency understands this. Go, Damien!

-Donna B


Thanks so much for the positive feedback, Donna!

If you're looking for your perfect role, give Damien a call on 0208 506 6740 or email damien.fisher@urbanlearning.co.uk
 

Autumn Budget 2017: The Key Points for Teachers and Those in Education
 
 
In the leadup to the Autumn Budget’s announcement on Wednesday 22 November 2017, like many before, there was much speculation from those in teaching as to what they could expect. What will The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s little red box have in store for those in education?
 
Phillip Hammond, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been under pressure from teachers, parents, and education unions to invest more money into schools.
 
The financial strain on schools was underlined recently with Nick Gibb, the schools standards minister commenting that it’s “not right” for heads to be asking parents to fund classroom essentials. His comments came after a school in Prime Minister Theresa May’s constituency asked parents to make a voluntary £1 a day contribution to help pay for books, pens and pencils.
 
 
But it’s not all bad news. Teachers in England and Wales – along with other frontline public servants – may receive a sizeable pay rise in 2018, after the government indicated it would lift the 1% cap on wage increases it had previously applied.
 
So, what can teachers and others in the education sector expect going forward?
We take a look at bottom line of Hammond’s 2017 Autumn Budget:
 
 
National Retraining Scheme
 
During his speech, Hammond announced plans for a retraining scheme, saying:
 
 ‘The Education Secretary and I are launching a historic partnership, between government, the CBI and the TUC – to set the strategic direction for a National Retraining Scheme.’
 
Its first priority will be to boost digital skills and to support the expansion of the construction sector.
 
And to make a start immediately, we will invest £30 million in the development of digital skills distance learning courses, so people can learn wherever they are, and whenever they want.
 
And I am pleased to be able to accept the representation I have received from the TUC to continue to fund UnionLearn, which I recognise as a valuable part of our support to workplace learning.’
 
 
T-levels
 
The Chancellor announced an introduction of T-levels with a further £20m to support Further Education colleges in preparation for them. This comes after having already pledged £500 million in funds for T-levels in the Spring Budget.
 
He said: ‘Knowledge of maths is key to the high-tech, cutting edge jobs in our digital economy.
 
 
Teaching for Mastery of Maths Programme
 
As some sources had previously suggested, The Chancellor has promised a boost for schools in the Autumn Budget: The Teaching for Mastery of Maths programme shall be expanded to a further 3000 schools, with £40 million to train maths teachers throughout the UK.
 
More financial support will be given through an introduction of a £600 Maths Premium for schools, for every additional pupil who takes A-level or Core maths. A proposal for new maths schools across England was also hinted at.
 
The Chancellor said this was so ‘highly talented young mathematicians can realise their potential wherever they live and whatever their background. More maths for everyone.’
 
An aim to triple the number of trained computer science teachers to 12,000 was also announced. Teachers will enter a nationwide retraining scheme after calls from the TUCunion.
 
 
If you’d like to expand your career, visit our jobs boardto look at the latest roles. If you’d just like to have a chat about teaching, then get in touch with one of our experienced education consultants.
 
Call 0208 5066740 or email info@urbanlearning.co.uk
 
 
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