The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Damian Moore

'One happy family': rethinking assessment and feedback

The formative assessment of pupils with SEND has always been a central issue at our school. A disappointing Ofsted judgement provided a catalyst for change. ‘Setting pupils ambitious and yet realistic targets based on a clear and accurate understanding of what they can and need to do to improve.'...
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Matt Miller

Terrorism and schools: are we doing enough?

Following publication of a report into how prepared London is for a terrorist incident, Matt Miller considers what the implications are for schools. As autumn descends on a year that will long be remembered for a litany of terrorist atrocities across the country, notably in London and Manchester, I...
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Gareth D Morewood

Disablist bullying has no place in our schools, so why is it on the rise?

We have a duty to ensure that all pupils can learn without prejudice, but recent statistics prove that there's still work to be done. A few years ago we took part in a project co-led by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and World of Inclusion to challenge disablist bullying in schools. In all my time...
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Lisa Griffin

MATs Summit 2017: four phases of school improvement

‘School improvement is strongest when schools work together.' Lisa Griffin reports back from the first day of our multi-academy trust event. Sir David Carter sets out his vision for the future of school improvement School improvement was the theme of the day as the third annual MATs Summit kicked...
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Liz Worthen

When finance met fine dining: modelling efficiencies in MATs

Our MATs Summit prelude brought financial management heads together to discuss fairer funding and money-saving in multi-academy trusts. Models for growth The afternoon began with an exploration of models and structures led by Matthew Clements-Wheeler, business manager and deputy headteacher at...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND governance: in pursuit of support and accountability

When it comes to facilitating the best possible provision for SEND, governors can be a valuable ally for the SENCO and other leaders. I have been fortunate to serve as governor at each of the schools I’ve worked in to date. I have served as a staff and, more recently, co-opted governor. I have also...
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Ian Warwick

How to stretch the more able: go off-piste, define differentiation and avoid time-wasting marking

Conference chair Ian Warwick addresses some of the questions posed by delegates at the 'Stretch and Challenge the More Able' event. Like a GPS, teachers are prone to denying students responsibility for their own path-finding We're told the curriculum is about mastering all learning at a child's own...
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John Viner

From educator to regulator: what you need to know about the new HMCI

What will Amanda Spielman make of the Wilshaw legacy? John Viner suspects there may be change in the air. Ofsted's new chief inspector, Amenda Spielman. Picture credit: gov.uk When the former education secretary, Nicky Morgan selected Amanda Spielman to be successor to Sir Michael Wilshaw as Her...
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Karen Burns

Let’s stay together – in a MAT

Personalising the art of retention is key to keeping staff. Karen Burns describes why multi-academy trusts provide more options to aid the retention of talent. Overwhelmingly the biggest contributor to staff retention is the feel and experience of working in a school on a day to day basis. It can...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND: the N is not for NEET

Disability is not a barrier to working, but sadly it can be a barrier to getting a job. Gareth D. Morewood explains what schools can do to encourage change. We have previously commented on the extent to which the UK is failing to uphold the rights of its disabled citizens , and underscored the...
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