The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Elizabeth Holmes

Arts in the curriculum: one school's approach

How do we stop creative subjects being squeezed out of the curriculum? Elizabeth Holmes spoke to the headteacher of one primary school that is keeping the arts in the picture. Pupils at Ashdown Primary School proudly displaying their work. The school recently held an ‘ exploration day ’ for arts...
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Laura McInerney

Learning from each other: lessons from the MATs Summit

Chair of our annual Multi-Academy Trusts Summit Laura McInerney looks back at her experience of the event and shares some memorable moments. An irritating truth of teaching is that no matter how long you spend planning for pupils to learn some big, important concept, events will always overtake...
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Tom Fay

Teachers: do you have the X factor?

What does it take to be a great teacher? Tom Fay asked pupils to name their desired traits, and shares the responses. Everyone remembers a great teacher they once had. You may not remember exactly what they said or did, but you will certainly remember how they made you feel. Their impact can last a...
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Charlie Roden

Review: Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism

Debby Elley's latest book is a sweet treat, offering a valuable perspective on autism and acceptance. Since being appointed as a teaching assistant at a secondary school with a large SEN department, I have worked with a lot of brilliant children who happen to be autistic. Having had limited...
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Lisa Griffin

MATs: inspection and accountability

We asked three multi-academy trust CEOs for their views on Ofsted, inspection and how MATs can measure and evaluate their own impact. Ofsted have asked for the power to inspect MATs. What would this mean for trusts? The key issue is not who inspects MATs, but rather how MATs are to be inspected...
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Elizabeth Holmes

School readiness: who is ready for whom?

Our definition of a child's readiness for school, and a school's readiness for a child, has undergone major shifts in recent decades. Elizabeth Holmes and Dr Pam Jarvis discuss what has changed. It’s that time of year when school readiness guides start doing the rounds and we hear about children...
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Julia Watson

Teachers, beware the pursuit of perfection!

Perfectionism is not ‘wanting things done right’. It’s a fear-based response to anxiety which wastes time and talent. The term ‘perfectionist’ can be used to describe someone who likes things done properly, or would ‘go the extra mile’ to get a job done. However, in my clinical practice I have...
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Sophie Chalmers

'I have a voice – hear me': Jonathan's story

Sophie Chalmers talks to Jonathan Bryan about Teach Us Too, his campaign to give all non-verbal children the right to an education. Jonathan Bryan, pictured with his mother Chantal, speaks eloquently and with passion about the plight of children labelled with PMLD Twelve-year-old Jonathan Bryan,...
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Lisa Griffin

‘Wellbeing at the heart of our school’

We visited Lessness Heath Primary School to congratulate them on their wellbeing provision and present them with the Wellbeing Award for Schools. Sunshine and blue skies set the scene for a day of celebration at Lessness Heath Primary School . The school is the first to achieve the Wellbeing Award...
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Gareth D Morewood

National SEND inquiry: current challenges and possible solutions

Writing a submission to the government's SEND inquiry provided an opportunity to reflect on the challenges in the current system, and offer some suggestions for change. In a previous post I explained why the Education Committee’s inquiry into support for children and young people with SEND is a...
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