The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Elizabeth Holmes

Bold Beginnings: think piece or set text?

Ofsted's controversial new report on Reception teaching is an opportunity to discuss what really matters in the early years. As I write this, my four-year-old son, who will start school this September, is working hard on the garden (or ‘farm’ as he describes it, after watching CBeebies’...
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Gareth D Morewood

National SEND inquiry: it's time to have your say

A new inquiry promises to review the SEND reforms. We can't afford to waste this opportunity to make our voices heard. The implementation period of the SEND reforms has officially ended, leaving at best a mixed picture with regard to outcomes for young people and families; at worst, a total...
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Gareth D Morewood

Investing in interventions: what does the research tell us?

What makes an intervention effective? How are schools to decide what to fund or deliver? Gareth D Morewood explains what we can glean from the existing literature. I've been involved in many discussions around how we evidence the effectiveness of interventions in improving learning outcomes,...
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John Viner

The coming of age of the school business manager

John Viner returns to the starting blocks with a focus on what has happened in the increasingly professional world of SBMs. The professionalism of the school business manager (SBM), with its high expectations and high accountability is in significant contrast to its amateur beginnings and it may be...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Bouncing back from a disappointing inspection outcome

Your Ofsted inspection has come and gone, but the outcome wasn't what you'd hoped. What are the next steps? If social media is anything to go by, an Ofsted inspection remains a source of dread for those who work in schools. While much work has been done by Ofsted – and particularly its national...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND reforms implementation: for better or worse?

A humble SENCO's honest appraisal of the progress we've made over the last four years. 1 April 2018 was a significant date, circled on calendars and etched into memories, for one reason: the end of the implementation period for the SEND Reforms. Or so we thought… There are many ‘old’ Statements of...
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Joanna Grace

There's no such thing as attention-seeking behaviour

Playing the fool, acting up... or indicating an unmet need? Joanna Grace explains how teachers can get to the root of poor behaviour. As a teacher, you may have heard inappropriate classroom behaviour – loud noises, jokes, foot tapping – dismissed as 'just attention seeking'. But is it? 'Just'...
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Helen Morgan

What can we learn from working in an international context?

Helen Morgan explains the benefits of working abroad and what she has gained from it. Working in an international context is fascinating on a number of different levels. From an educational perspective, it provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about the similarities and differences between the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Five for Easter: looking back at the spring term

With the Easter break in full swing, it's a good time to take stock of the term just gone and consider your SEND priorities going forward. While you are tucking into your Easter eggs, here are five of my latest blog posts that you may have missed. Role models help us define by ability, not...
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John Viner

When inspection is not by Ofsted

While the majority of state schools focus on the Ofsted inspection process for their self-evaluation, around a third must also prepare for a separate inspection of their faith character. Ofsted inspection is carried out under sections 5 and 8 of the Education Act 2005, and every headteacher in the...
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