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

John Viner

We need to talk about Ofsted

New proposals from Ofsted have prompted a shift in the rhetoric around inspection. John Viner summarises the changing times. With the departure of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted moved into a new phase under the leadership of Amanda Spielman. Out went the old-...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Moving on from Bold Beginnings

It's time to be open about the dilemma parents can face when looking for a school in which their child will thrive, says Elizabeth Holmes. Back in April, I wrote about my son's imminent start at school and my concerns about what he might meet in the Reception year, given what I had read in Ofsted's...
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Gareth D Morewood

New experiences at #BrewEd

When pints met pedagogy: Gareth D Morewood summarises his experience of speaking at a new breed of event. Quite a long time has passed since I became a newly qualified teacher in the 1990s, and during those years I’ve attended a countless number of Inset days and CPD events – many of a variable...
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John Viner

Pupil premium: is it making a difference?

While pupil premium funding was introduced with the good intention of helping schools narrow the attainment gap, its future looks increasingly uncertain. In April 2011, the coalition government introduced the pupil premium and the service premium. This injected an additional £625 million of funding...
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Gareth D Morewood

Meaningful open evenings: a parent’s perspective

An opportunity to present school life at its most authentic and encourage early co-production is not to be wasted. Gareth D Morewood shares one parent’s summary of their recent open evening. For some schools, open evenings can feel like a real chore. The prevailing question among staff can be ‘Why...
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Jack Procter-Blain

Providing trainee teachers with meaningful SEND training

Initial teacher training should prepare trainees to work effectively with every pupil in their classroom, including those with SEND. Ever since the Carter review of initial teacher training in 2015, which reminded us that 'good teaching for SEND is good teaching for all children', practitioners and...
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Gareth D Morewood

Why is an inclusive curriculum essential?

Every pupil should feel that their lessons relate to them. Gareth D Morewood outlines an inclusive approach to curriculum design. There has been lots of debate recently on the nature of the curriculum a school should deliver . News reports have drawn stark attention to the unpleasant consequences...
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John Viner

Keeping children even safer

With an updated Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance now in force, John Viner summarises what has changed and how schools need to respond. I usually try to kick off a new academic year with a quick review of what’s gone on and going on in the political world of education but, this year, it...
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Diane Leedham

Ethical assessment and tracking for EAL learners

Diane Leedham argues why data should be the servant and not the master when it comes to championing the needs of EAL learners. After months of uncertainty and behind the scenes speculation about the position for EAL and BAME learners in the 2018/19 school census return, the DfE finally released the...
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Gareth D Morewood

An inclusive approach in every aspect of school life

Gareth D Morewood describes how a whole-school approach can inform true values for inclusive schools. I am fortunate enough to have provided external training and support to SEND colleagues, schools, parent carer groups and local authorities. One topic that appears ever more frequently in the...
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