The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Sofia Correia A...

How do we define (and meet) outcomes for pupils with SEND?

Schools have a duty to put pupils' needs and aspirations at the centre of SEND provision. It is therefore vital that we understand 'outcomes', and the steps we can take to meet them. Throughout my time as a teaching assistant, I've often discussed: how we define ‘outcomes’ in relation to pupils...
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Elizabeth Smith

Eating disorders: laying the groundwork for positive discussion

Any lesson on eating disorders should be framed with clear, pre-determined ground rules and an emphasis on coping strategies, so you may lead pupils into a confident discussion. When addressing topics as sensitive as eating disorders, it is absolutely vital to establish clear rules before any...
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Sue Birchall

To MAT, or not to MAT?

Academisation has significant implications for the role of the SBM. If you place your trust in trusts, collaboration will be the key to meeting the needs of pupils. Are multi-academy trusts the future of academies? As someone who works within a multi-academy trust (MAT), I’m eagerly watching the...
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Alex Masters

Dreading that difficult conversation? Try these simple techniques

Everyone dreads those difficult conversations with colleagues. Alex Masters explores some simple techniques to help turn the awkward and stressful into the positive. They say there are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. I would like to add one more to the list: difficult...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND at half term: 'and breathe...'

As colleagues reach the end (or beginning) of their half term break, it's a good time to reflect on the issues we've covered so far. This is the 100th post in my 'SENcology' series! For further insights into the world of SEND provision, browse the full list of posts so far. As some colleagues reach...
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John Viner

The inequality of deferred entry

Deferring entry for summer-born children may work for some, but not for others. It is time to be absolutely clear about what admissions authorities can and cannot do. My twin grandsons were born in August. Bright though they are, when they are due to start school – when they just turn four – their...
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Linda Evans

Ask and you shall receive: how to stretch pupils with questioning techniques

Linda Evans explains how developing questioning skills in teachers and pupils can extend learning. Many books have been written on about the role of questioning in teaching and learning, and its importance is clearly acknowledged in published good practice. In the day-to-day delivery of lessons,...
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Gareth D Morewood

Help, I'm a new SENCO and I don't know where to start!

If you're new to the profession, the role of the SENCO might initially seem complex and unsupported. It's important to know that you're never alone! Over a typical week, I will receive about twenty e-mails and tweets from fellow SENCOs across the country and about ten or so from parents and carers...
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Nickii Messer

Why aren't more schools business savvy?

It is disheartening that so many schools continue to make poor financial decisions at the expense of their pupils' life chances. If they are to stay solvent, SBMs must spend strategically! To prove that I am such a hard-nosed business lady, my friends like to recall the time that, when held up and...
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Lisa Griffin

Accountability: what do we mean and what does it look like?

The Headteachers Roundtable Summit saw more than 200 attendees come together to focus on key issues including assessment and accountability and recruitment and retention. The summit kicked off with chair of the Headteachers Roundtable core group Stephen Tierney talking about accountability. It was...
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