The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Joanna Grace

Pupils with SEND are just the tip of the iceberg

The mark of true inclusion is that all pupils benefit, not just those with SEND. Joanna Grace explains why it's important to see the bigger picture. In my work at The Sensory Projects , I provide training to settings and organisations looking to better understand the sensory world. One day I could...
Read more...
Joanna Feast

Addressing unhealthy lifestyles needn't be a brain-teaser

Late nights or a predilection for fast food are truer to a young person's brain development than you might think. Joanna Feast explains how schools can promote healthier choices. Do you ever find yourself despairing of your students making less-than-healthy choices? Do you imagine how much better...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Raising the status of teaching assistants

From interview to induction and far beyond, school leaders should prioritise the professional development of TAs in order to improve learning outcomes for all pupils. In this short post, I intend to try and draw together previous thoughts on teaching assistants and the impact they can have. Along...
Read more...
Damian Moore

'One happy family': transforming provision for SEND

The deputy headteacher of one secondary school explains why staff are determined to improve learning outcomes for all pupils. From the comfort of the Sussex coast, this summer holiday was a time to think about what went right and what could have gone better at Holy Family Catholic School. On one...
Read more...
Dr Karamat Iqbal

The cost of educational underachievement

The benefits of receiving an education are matched only by the cost of not receiving one. Karamat Iqbal explains why underachievement is potentially life-changing. They say 'You don't know the value of something until it's gone', and education is no exception to this rule. It is easy to say that...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SEND: the D is not for disadvantage

The UK is failing to uphold the rights of its disabled citizens, according to the United Nations. It's more important than ever that we work towards better outcomes in education. According to the government, the UK is a ‘world leader in disability issues’. But its efforts to uphold the rights of...
Read more...
Sue Birchall

Ofsted is coming: how SBMs can prepare

No truer is the saying 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance' than when an inspector calls. Here are the steps school business managers can take to stay ahead. For many school leaders, the autumn term can be the winter of their discontent. Image source: HBO At the beginning of term, nothing...
Read more...
Elizabeth Holmes

NEU horizons for ATL and NUT

The amalgamation of two national education unions is a rallying cry for those looking to get their voices heard. It couldn't have come at a better time, argues Elizabeth Holmes. In March, members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT), two of the...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SENCOs, make these first weeks count!

At this time of year, strategic planning for SEND provision can fall victim to in-the-moment demands. Here is my advice for a smooth start. In these hectic few weeks, many schools will be thrown in to the usual mix of analysis and induction; the typical balance of review and preparation to start...
Read more...
John Viner

A new school year, a reshaped DfE?

The aftermath of the general election saw several top jobs in education change hands, but what hope does a revamped department give for the future? When Theresa May called the general election for June, Optimus asked me what my three wishes would be for future education policy. They were: to...
Read more...