The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

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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Katie Rose White

Mental health is no laughing matter, or is it?

Implementing laughing techniques in the classroom can help pupils become more emotionally resilient. Katie Rose White explains how. Stress is a contributing factor to anxiety. Anxiety can lead to panic, depression and low self-esteem. Finding affordable and effective ways to manage stress in...
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Karen Burns

From headteacher to MAT leader: making my move

Karen Burns describes her journey from headship to executive head and current Carillion Academies Trust chief executive. The transition from headteacher to executive headteacher and then to CEO has presented professional and personal challenges in a variety of ways. The prime change for me as a...
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Lisa Griffin

Nearing the summit: Laura McInerney on the MATs landscape

Chair of our annual Multi-Academy Trusts Summit and Schools Week editor Laura McInerney talks about the forthcoming event. This is your third year chairing the MATs Summit. What keeps you coming back? Laura: It’s one of the only events that bring CEOs of multi-academy trusts together to think about...
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Gareth D Morewood

What can schools do to help young people thrive?

Proactive discussions are the key to developing a culture of positive mental health. Here are some tips for SENCOs looking to facilitate the best possible support. One of the most valuable meetings a SENCO can have is with their local NHS commissioner. Incorporating health in discussions about...
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Joanna Grace

Pupils with SEND are just the tip of the iceberg

The mark of true inclusion is that all pupils benefit, not just those with SEND. Joanna Grace explains why it's important to see the bigger picture. In my work at The Sensory Projects , I provide training to settings and organisations looking to better understand the sensory world. One day I could...
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Joanna Feast

Addressing unhealthy lifestyles needn't be a brain-teaser

Late nights or a predilection for fast food are truer to a young person's brain development than you might think. Joanna Feast explains how schools can promote healthier choices. Do you ever find yourself despairing of your students making less-than-healthy choices? Do you imagine how much better...
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Gareth D Morewood

Raising the status of teaching assistants

From interview to induction and far beyond, school leaders should prioritise the professional development of TAs in order to improve learning outcomes for all pupils. In this short post, I intend to try and draw together previous thoughts on teaching assistants and the impact they can have. Along...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': transforming provision for SEND

The deputy headteacher of one secondary school explains why staff are determined to improve learning outcomes for all pupils. From the comfort of the Sussex coast, this summer holiday was a time to think about what went right and what could have gone better at Holy Family Catholic School. On one...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

The cost of educational underachievement

The benefits of receiving an education are matched only by the cost of not receiving one. Karamat Iqbal explains why underachievement is potentially life-changing. They say 'You don't know the value of something until it's gone', and education is no exception to this rule. It is easy to say that...
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