The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Leading teaching and learning

Anita Foster

Effective teaching in the great outdoors

Outdoor learning can be a great way to enrich a school's curriculum and engage pupils in new opportunities beyond the typical forest school afternoon. When I tell people what I do, I often get a response along the lines of ‘Oh, forest schools?’ While I appreciate much of what forest schools can do...
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Chris Fenton

We’re not going on a summer holiday

Working abroad conjures up images of sun, sea and sand but is it always what it seems? Headteacher Chris Fenton describes his experience of working abroad. Living and working abroad isn’t a holiday, though when you look at some international education recruitment sites it’s difficult to make that...
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James Allen

PE in schools: future goals and current obstacles

Their ability to deliver outstanding outcomes is vital to the health of future generations, but the challenges faced by PE professionals are considerable. What lies in the road ahead? Back in March, I conducted some research with physical education (PE) professionals in an effort to really...
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Kate Herbert-Smith

Teachers as researchers: 6 ways to encourage action research

Kate Herbert-Smith of IRIS Connect outlines how to encourage an action research culture to make a meaningful impact on pupil outcomes Teacher research is a powerful tool for professional learning. It has the potential to enhance and improve teaching and learning as well as increase teachers’...
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Gareth D Morewood

GCSE results day: will Progress 8 make a difference?

Now results are in, Gareth D Morewood explores how the new measure of performance, Progress 8, may affect how we value success. As we get towards the end of the of the summer break there is a mixture of feelings for teachers across the UK and indeed further afield. Not only the trepidation of...
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Elizabeth Holmes

CPD support for teacher's wellbeing and self-worth

Teachers' wellbeing and self-worth are of paramount importance if they are to nurture similar confidence in their pupils. Elizabeth Holmes discusses what steps can be taken to support this important area of CPD. Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy. (Wayne Dyer) Is it...
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Dr Matt O’Leary

Have colleges and schools in England learned any lessons about lesson observation?

A national research study from November 2013 by Dr Matt O’Leary raised questions about the effectiveness of lesson observations in the FE sector. He outlines how little mindsets have changed. The study, commissioned by the University and College Union (UCU), Developing a National Framework for the...
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Liz Worthen

From differentiation tips to mastery: the changing world of gifted and talented

Liz Worthen takes a reflective look back at what’s changed (and what hasn’t) in regards to stretch and challenge for more able pupils. When the gifted and talented initiative launched , back in the heady new Labour days of 1999, our first (and ongoing challenge) was the name itself: what did it...
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Lisa Griffin

Question time for the DfE: primary assessment

We put the DfE in the hot seat at our recent primary assessment conference and asked the questions you wanted the answers to. Two years on from the assessment reforms in primary schools and we still have grey areas. What will Ofsted judge your pupils’ progress against next year? What will the 2016...
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Owen Carter

Why I hate TED talks

Everyone seems to trust TED talks, but they're really not a good way to get ideas about education. Here's why. Inspiring, informative, entertaining: who doesn’t love a TED talk? Well, me. I think they stink. But how can you hate TED talks? Ok, let’s rewind a moment. They’re not all bad. In fact, if...
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