The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

Transition for pupils with autism: what does research tell us?

We know how difficult the leap from primary to secondary school can be. Planning and coordinating transition in the best interests of the child will be time well spent. It is quite amazing how quickly time flies in the education world, let alone that of the SENCO. We are now preparing for Year 6...
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Owen Carter

What schools can’t learn from startups

The secrets of high-performance organisations aren’t that secret - and may not be that useful in education. Everyone loves a success story, and schools are no different. Little wonder that the smouldering trails left by some high-performing businesses, whether Google or Apple , seem to appeal to...
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John Viner

When the whistle blows...

Reporting malpractice in the workplace is now not only acceptable, but expected. What do school staff need to know, and who can they trust? Source: Richard Wheeler (Zephyris) 2007 Few people would know the name of Dr Stephen Bolsin had he not become famous – some might say infamous – for making...
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Nickii Messer

School leaders: why not look on the bright side?

School leaders might see little cause for optimism in these hectic times. But when the going gets tough, Nickii Messer would rather be the swan than the headless chicken! 'Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.' ~ Colin Powell Even in the current climate I remain an optimist. I love optimistic...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Championing diversity and equality in these challenging times

In these turbulent times, schools must ensure that their commitment to equality and diversity shines through. 'It’s never too late to give up your prejudices.' ~ Henry David Thoreau As with our communities, our schools are diverse. Diversity is not abstract in any way. It is simply a reflection of...
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Alex Masters

Let’s end the fear around academisation

SBMs up and down the country are full of trepidation about their school’s impending academisation. We need to see this as an opportunity, rather than threat. ‘When nothing is sure, everything is possible.’ It’s fair to say that the education system is always in a state of flux and, given the fact...
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Gareth D Morewood

Supporting positive paths to adulthood

Offering a variety of subjects to Year 9 pupils, going beyond the core allocation, is integral to our support for the next generation of successful adults. I have written previously about the importance of an inclusive curriculum and how we define success ; never has this been a more vital element...
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Janet Goodall

Are parents ever hard to reach?

Dismissing parents as unavailable or uncooperative will never help schools to foster better engagement. If we want them to get involved, there has to be trust! Whenever I’m working with schools to improve parental engagement, I’m invariably asked the question: ‘What do we do about the parents who...
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Joanne Miles

Lesson observations: quality assurance or quality improvement?

Rather than something staff repeatedly suffer through, a school’s observation cycle can be an invaluable professional learning tool – if you give them a say. Over the last few years, I have spent much time helping schools and colleges to re-think their use of lesson observations. Where observation...
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Steve Taylor

MATs: a 'try before you buy' approach

Executive head Steve Taylor explains why his multi-academy trust are taking struggling schools on loan for a year as part of a ‘try before you buy’ scheme. Robin Hood Multi Academy Trust formed in September 2016 with a clear vision: to test the boundaries of education, take risks and follow what we...
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