The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

John Viner

When fast-track adoption comes off the rails

When it works, the fast-track adoption route can save prospective parents a lot of hassle. But when it doesn't, schools are the first to see the emotional consequences. Angela and Darren are a childless couple. Having exhausted all other possibilities, they started fostering for the local authority...
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Gareth D Morewood

How can we improve outcomes in a broken system?

The initial promise of the SEND reforms has been replaced with confusion, frustration and delays. The system works well for no one, least of all our children and young people. Back in September 2014, there was a lot of hope that the introduction of the SEND reforms would bring better outcomes for...
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Denise Inwood

Teaching schools must work together, but they need a helping hand

Six years on from the introduction of teaching schools, there’s a challenge to be faced: the absence of any coordinated school-to-school support. Teaching schools were first introduced in 2011 to facilitate systemic change in teacher training. Since then, it has become evident that the support they...
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Nickii Messer

School business management or leadership – does it matter?

Does a move from school business management to school business leadership mean that some skills are being downgraded, or no longer seen as useful? Having been a committed supporter of the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) for many years, I still remember the (many)...
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Optimus Education

Award scheme recognises schools building better mental health

From September 2017, a new Wellbeing Award for Schools, presented by the National Children’s Bureau and Optimus Education Ltd, will recognise outstanding work being done to promote mental health and wellbeing within school communities across England. An NCB survey in 2016 showed many school leaders...
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Gareth D Morewood

Planning, preparation and evaluation: a summer to-do list for SENCOs

As we enter what's likely to be the busiest term of the year, now is a good time to identify our priorities for giving all pupils the best possible start in September. In these long summer days, there is often a feeling that the time we need seems to miraculously appear! Most (if not all) SENCOs...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Spotlight on Northern Rocks

Although only in its fourth year, Northern Rocks is firmly established in the academic calendar as a powerhouse of pedagogical thinking. I spoke to its co-founder ahead of this year's conference. Drawing together teachers and others working in the field of education, Northern Rocks offers a forum...
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Sue Birchall

Education: on the ballot, or in the clouds?

After more than a month of campaigning, election day looms. Are party promises for education trustworthy enough to determine where we mark our cross, or is there more at stake? The NAHT’s summary of the party manifestos offers a simple table of the various education policies that voters should keep...
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Lisa Griffin

How to write a school policy: 9 top tips

School policies and procedures demonstrate your compliance with statutory requirements but how do you start to write one? These nine tips will help guide you in creating and reviewing a policy. 1. Correct content Cover what needs to be covered in accordance with legal guidance and Ofsted...
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Elizabeth Holmes

'Serious potential': David Weston on the benefits of lesson study

Across the country, schools are using lesson study to explore the 'what next' of learning. Elizabeth Holmes caught up with David Weston to discuss the growing popularity of this imported approach. The continuing personal and professional development of teachers will always be of the utmost...
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