The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Joanne Miles

The challenges of sustaining joined-up CPD

When coordinating a whole-school development cycle for all staff to get behind, there are several common pitfalls to be aware of. This year I have written online materials and organised workshops for Optimus on the thorny issue of joining up continuing professional development (CPD) cycles with...
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Janet Goodall

What works for engaging parents?

From posters in the playground to bacon butties, schools are likely to find new ways to bring parents on board if they're given time to think creatively. We’ve recently completed a yearlong project with 34 local schools in the Wiltshire local authority. The aim was to improve these schools'...
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Gareth D Morewood

Col-lab-orating to connect neuroscience with education

The role of neuroscience in educational practice - particularly for children and young people with SEND - has been controversial, but one laboratory's research shows great promise. There have been many unsubstantiated claims at events regarding ‘breakthroughs’ in neuroscience, including one example...
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John Viner

Voluntary but unvalued: the crisis in governor recruitment

When governors are so often blamed for poor inspection judgements, is it any wonder that schools struggle to get committed volunteers through the door? When preparing for a Section 48 inspection I have to read a number of documents, including the school’s most recent Ofsted report. Recently, I...
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Webinar
Academy Ambassadors

From LGB to MAT and beyond: building the trustee board

How do you build the right governance board for a new or growing MAT? Sarah Gore of Academy Ambassadors explores what to consider when recruiting and structuring your board of trustees. Download the presentation slides Download the podcast In this 30-minute webinar, we will explore: making the...
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Chris Fenton

Manama or Manchester: parents are parents

When working with parents, is there any difference between being a headteacher in the UK and headteacher abroad? Chris Fenton describes his experience. I fought in a playground once. Not uncommon I suppose, but more so when I reveal that I was a headteacher at the time. I may be exaggerating a...
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Gareth D Morewood

Visual ethnography: bringing a child-centred approach into focus

If we are to help pupils with SEND meet their outcomes, how can we determine what's 'important' for them? Research into the use of photographs as data could have the answer. Last summer I was fortunate enough to lead a workshop on outcomes and EHCPs at the SENCO Update conference . A short paper...
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Matthew Clement...

Fairer funding or financial catastrophe? Stephen Morales on challenging the status quo

I recently asked Stephen Morales, CEO of the National Association of School Business Management, for his view on the impact of recent funding issues on schools. Throughout the interview, Stephen was as measured and diplomatic as you would expect of someone in his position. NASBM is an organisation...
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Lisa Gill

SEND assessment: your top questions answered

Keynote speakers Lesley Cox HMI and Richard Aird OBE return to answer some of the most popular questions from our recent conference on 'measuring what matters' with SEND. Richard Aird When P levels are removed, how will we be able to assess where pupils who, despite being in Year 1, are working...
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Elizabeth Holmes

A proactive approach to keeping pupils safe

In addition to keeping pupils safe from physical harm in school, all staff must stay alert to signs of abuse - online or offline. All aspects of pupil wellbeing should be at the heart of what a school provides. This is made clear in the Teachers’ Standards 2012 , which emphasise teachers’...
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