The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Lisa Griffin

Could you be a MAT CFO?

We speak to financial experts about the crucial role played by finance directors in multi-academy trusts. Stephen Morales, executive director of the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) What are the key skills that a finance director (FD) or chief finance officer (CFO) in a...
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Gareth D Morewood

Why is co-production so powerful? Learning from research

There is a strong research basis to support co-production. Read on for a summary of key findings and how we can apply them in schools. After 20 years working in schools with young people and families, the last fifteen as SENCo, there is one thing I am very sure about: working together with parents/...
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Joanna Grace

Sensory circuits: the right track, but not a shortcut

A good start to the day is as important for pupils with sensory needs as anyone else, but a lap of the circuit will only scratch the surface. When at an impasse with work, has time away from your desk ever allowed you to return reinvigorated with new ideas? Has running or swimming ever helped you...
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Gareth D Morewood

Is a picture truly worth a thousand words?

A good strategy for supporting pupils with SEND is a good strategy for all. The use of visual supports should be no exception. I’ve found visual supports to be a useful way to learn and retain new information. Similarly, there is evidence to suggest that PECS support pupils with autism very...
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John Dabell

How to recharge your teaching batteries

Summer is a welcome break for even the most resilient school leader. But when you get your life back, what do you do with it? Did the end of term leave you quanked, forswunk, and ramfeezled? Has your mojo run off and left your body to cope all by itself? Fear not, the summer holidays are here and...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

Are extra-curricular activities important?

Out-of-hours pursuits can play a significant role in shaping a pupil's future. They deserve pride of place in a school's offer. In 2014, the then-secretary of state for education, Michael Gove gave a speech in which he pointed out that schools that excelled academically had a programme of extra-...
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Verity Jones

Reducing the distance: are MOOCs the future of CPD?

Out with the old, in with the digital? Verity Jones explains why online platforms for professional learning have become so popular. Schools have to set a limit for the professional development of their staff. Even where they have joined forces to offer Inset days, twilights and the odd TeachMeet-...
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Gareth D Morewood

For pupils with SEND, exclusion is a road to nowhere

Turning our pupils away should always be a last resort. Schools and parents can find more positive solutions if they work together. In the last year, I received a steady stream of queries about exclusions and SEND. This may indicate additional pressure on schools to meet external accountability...
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John Dabell

Why lazy teachers are the best

Working hard or hardly working? John Dabell explains why putting the power in pupils' hands is the best way for teachers to look after their own wellbeing. I'm a lazy teacher – a really lazy teacher. Many of my colleagues are too. We don’t mind admitting it either. In fact, we’re very proud. You...
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Sue Birchall

A day in the life of a SBM

I recently left my job as the financial controller of a multi-academy trust and returned to a more ‘traditional’ school business manager role. Or you could say I rejoined the circus. If I look up to the ceiling in my office, all I can see are a series of spinning plates that I – the school's top-...
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