The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Gareth D Morewood

High quality, low cost: a guide to CPD for SEND

In ensuring SEND takes pride of place on their school's CPD timetable, SENCOs should first turn to the excellent resources we share among ourselves. In the last post, we asked what a good whole-school investment in SEND would look like, and considered how training and professional development...
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Dai Durbridge

GDPR: your questions answered

We were inundated with questions at our recent GDPR conference. Browne Jacobson lawyer Dai Durbridge answers the most popular ones. 1. What are the implications of staff working remotely with access to confidential information? There is no reason why staff cannot continue to access personal and...
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John Viner

Another year, another education secretary

Unexpected departures and new arrivals at the DfE have brought the future of government education policy into question. Just as the profession was developing a good working relationship with a new secretary of state for education, we looked up and, instead of Justine Greening, found Damian Hinds...
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Gareth D Morewood

What makes a good investment in SEND?

A whole-school approach to improving outcomes for pupils with SEND means not only an investment of money, but also training priorities and time. SEND provision is too often directed toward those with more complex needs or EHCPs. This means that young people with SEND who are identified and...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

Disadvantage: looking beyond the pupil premium

School leaders can take meaningful steps to address the prevalence of disadvantage, not just through the use of pupil premium but their core budget. Disadvantaged children have an unequal start in life. Such children have shorter learning days, can lack ‘broader knowledge’ and cultural capital, and...
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John Dabell

10 resolutions for new teachers

Feeling frazzled after your first term? Begin afresh by resolving to improve your practice without taking on too much. With the first term under your belt, you are probably feeling pretty chuffed with yourself – and rightfully so. You earned your Christmas break and hopefully you’ve spent some...
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Charlie Roden

Days like this: how I became a teaching assistant

Bottle caps can be wheelchair lifts, and students can be tougher interviewers than staff: just some of the things I learned when applying to become a TA. I have been interviewed many times over the years – when applying to the role of support worker, bartender, retail assistant and even university...
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John Dabell

Teachers, here are your professional promises for 2018

A new term can mean a new you if you keep to these pledges for self-improvement throughout 2018 and beyond. That’s another term done and dusted and here we are in a new year already. Where does the time go and when is it half term? When you have been teaching for a few years, it’s easy to slip into...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': reviewing and refining practice for 2018

One year on from our Ofsted report, Holy Family is committed to implementing our plan for better SEND support. Here are some of our priorities. Reviewing and planning are the main two priorities for many SENCOs as the year ends. Ours has just given a wonderful exposition of the history of SEND to...
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Gareth D Morewood

Time to take stock of our SEND highlights

Every SENCO have reason to be proud of their work this year. It's important not to let these positive highlights languish in the shadow of ongoing challenges. This is one of the most hectic times of year, and it can be a huge strain on schools and families. Ofsted’s annual report has signalled a...
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