The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

HR

John Dabell

How to recharge your teaching batteries

Summer is a welcome break for even the most resilient school leader. But when you get your life back, what do you do with it? Did the end of term leave you quanked, forswunk, and ramfeezled? Has your mojo run off and left your body to cope all by itself? Fear not, the summer holidays are here and...
Read more...
Optimus Education

Award scheme recognises schools building better mental health

From September 2017, a new Wellbeing Award for Schools, presented by the National Children’s Bureau and Optimus Education Ltd, will recognise outstanding work being done to promote mental health and wellbeing within school communities across England. An NCB survey in 2016 showed many school leaders...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Alex Cuetos

Do new teachers set their expectations too high?

In my experience of working with new graduates from other countries, even a six-hour working day can apparently be 'too much'. Is this a generational gripe, or something more systemic? One of the worst things about working in China is being so far away from home. Seeing so many people come and go,...
Read more...
Alex Masters

How my hour-long appraisal nearly destroyed me

Appraisals can truly make or break a person, as Alex Masters discovered. Use these expert tips to ensure your feedback is always constructive. It was an hour of pure hell. I was in the English department office, two pupils (who had just been sent out of a nearby classroom owing to disruptive...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Alex Masters

Dreading that difficult conversation? Try these simple techniques

Everyone dreads those difficult conversations with colleagues. Alex Masters explores some simple techniques to help turn the awkward and stressful into the positive. They say there are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. I would like to add one more to the list: difficult...
Read more...
Elizabeth Holmes

Has teacher workload reached critical mass?

It is a surprise to no-one that indomitable teacher workloads are contributing to the current recruitment and retention crisis. What action must be taken, both on a national and individual level? For almost twenty years I have been writing about the demands of teacher workload and the devastating...
Read more...
John Viner

Facing up to staff absence: what can you do?

Worrying absence level statistics suggest that effective planning and monitoring are more important than ever. Not too long ago, a popular daily newspaper bewailed the fact that ‘15,000 teachers go sick every day ’, going on to blame stress and ministerial meddling. So, here’s a question for you:...
Read more...