The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Joanna Feast

Mental health in the curriculum: tips for teachers

How do you tackle mental health in the curriculum and get it as right as possible ? Try these tips! Tip 1: Identify needs So often, this is missed in the rush to get something ‘taught’. Instead, spend some time asking pupils questions and looking at your data: what do these tell you? What are the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Preparing young people for the road ahead

We all expect our young people to have smooth transitions to adulthood, with support from school and the wider community. Why should those with SEND be any different? Last week our school was fortunate enough to be visited by Chris Rossiter and Nance Gedge from the Driver Youth Trust , a national...
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John Viner

Staff retention means keeping the right people on the bus

A long and costly recruitment cycle is just one of the things a school has to endure if they can't keep their eggs on the bus - and their foxes at bay. At the sharp end of budget matters, school business managers are likely to have a very good idea of the cost of recruiting a new member of staff...
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Gareth D Morewood

Let's all go to the zoo!

School visits can be great ways to integrate aspects of the curriculum and give all students something to talk about. This week, we took our Year 8s deep into the animal kingdom. This week we took our Year 8 on their annual educational visit to Chester Zoo. In line with our usual philosophy , all...
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Optimus Education

How do we look after ourselves?

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the emphasis on the ways we enable ourselves to thrive, not just survive. An incredible number of organisations and public figures have joined the effort 'to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health'. ( Mental Health Foundation )...
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Sue Birchall

Dawn of MAT or: the evolution of the SBM

The old days of school business management are gone, but not forgotten. As election uncertainty looms, Sue Birchall looks at the history of this complex role. With the announcement of an election and the subsequent freeze on publishing the response from the grammar school consultation process, the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Even for governors, the law still trumps all!

I recently explained to a group of governors how they can actively support a school's provision for SEND. It starts with knowing the law and listening to key stakeholders! This week I was fortunate enough to address the University of Manchester’s School Governors Initiative annual conference. As...
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Anna Reid

What does ‘high potential’ mean for languages?

Our languages department strives to convince all pupils that they have can thrive at French or Spanish. To do this, we wanted to understand what being 'high potential' actually involves. ‘High potential’ is a puzzling term if you believe, as I do, that every child has latent skills and competencies...
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Alex Masters

Why pupil interview panels are a bad idea

Pupil empowerment is something to actively embrace in schools but, Alex Masters argues, involving 11 year-olds in the interview process is a step too far. 'I'd now like you to sing a few bars of your favourite song. In your own time...' I still remember it vividly. It was my fourth teaching job...
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Sue Birchall

SBMs: let's focus on solutions, not problems

Given its skewed portrayal in the media, you'd forgive people for wondering if there's any hope left in education. It's time SBMs took a solution-based approach to funding challenges. ‘Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.’ ~ George...
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