The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Simon Scarborough

The need for inclusive PE is greater than ever

If your physical education curriculum is to get every student moving, it needs to play to their strengths. Simon Scarborough explains how you can make your lessons more inclusive. With a rise in mental health issues reported among young people, and record levels of childhood obesity , it would...
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Julia Watson

How to detoxify your staffroom

A collection of dirty mugs is not the only sign that the vitality of your staffroom may be under threat. Julia Watson provides some tips for a healthier environment. A happy, healthy staffroom is at the heart of an effective team, providing safe haven, a place of camaraderie and connection. Sadly...
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Gareth D Morewood

How (and why) we set up a secondary nurture group

Supporting students in a nurturing environment was a formative step in our school’s progression towards a model for inclusion. Here is what we did. Ten years ago, at Priestnall School, we established a nurture group to support students’ transition from our feeder primary schools to Year 7 (any...
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John Viner

When is outstanding not good enough?

Recent reports have brought renewed criticism of Ofsted’s delay in inspecting 'outstanding' schools. John Viner summarises what has changed – and what hasn’t. It has taken rather longer to surface than might be expected, but you must have noticed the frequency with which the education press is...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Arts in the curriculum: one school's approach

How do we stop creative subjects being squeezed out of the curriculum? Elizabeth Holmes spoke to the headteacher of one primary school that is keeping the arts in the picture. Pupils at Ashdown Primary School proudly displaying their work. The school recently held an ‘ exploration day ’ for arts...
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Laura McInerney

Learning from each other: lessons from the MATs Summit

Chair of our annual Multi-Academy Trusts Summit Laura McInerney looks back at her experience of the event and shares some memorable moments. An irritating truth of teaching is that no matter how long you spend planning for pupils to learn some big, important concept, events will always overtake...
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Tom Fay

Teachers: do you have the X factor?

What does it take to be a great teacher? Tom Fay asked pupils to name their desired traits, and shares the responses. Everyone remembers a great teacher they once had. You may not remember exactly what they said or did, but you will certainly remember how they made you feel. Their impact can last a...
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Charlie Roden

Review: Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism

Debby Elley's latest book is a sweet treat, offering a valuable perspective on autism and acceptance. Since being appointed as a teaching assistant at a secondary school with a large SEN department, I have worked with a lot of brilliant children who happen to be autistic. Having had limited...
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Lisa Griffin

MATs: inspection and accountability

We asked three multi-academy trust CEOs for their views on Ofsted, inspection and how MATs can measure and evaluate their own impact. Ofsted have asked for the power to inspect MATs. What would this mean for trusts? The key issue is not who inspects MATs, but rather how MATs are to be inspected...
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Elizabeth Holmes

School readiness: who is ready for whom?

Our definition of a child's readiness for school, and a school's readiness for a child, has undergone major shifts in recent decades. Elizabeth Holmes and Dr Pam Jarvis discuss what has changed. It’s that time of year when school readiness guides start doing the rounds and we hear about children...
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