The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Professional development

John Viner

The coming of age of the school business manager

John Viner returns to the starting blocks with a focus on what has happened in the increasingly professional world of SBMs. The professionalism of the school business manager (SBM), with its high expectations and high accountability is in significant contrast to its amateur beginnings and it may be...
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Helen Morgan

What can we learn from working in an international context?

Helen Morgan explains the benefits of working abroad and what she has gained from it. Working in an international context is fascinating on a number of different levels. From an educational perspective, it provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about the similarities and differences between the...
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John Dabell

10 resolutions for new teachers

Feeling frazzled after your first term? Begin afresh by resolving to improve your practice without taking on too much. With the first term under your belt, you are probably feeling pretty chuffed with yourself – and rightfully so. You earned your Christmas break and hopefully you’ve spent some...
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John Dabell

Teachers, here are your professional promises for 2018

A new term can mean a new you if you keep to these pledges for self-improvement throughout 2018 and beyond. That’s another term done and dusted and here we are in a new year already. Where does the time go and when is it half term? When you have been teaching for a few years, it’s easy to slip into...
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Verity Jones

Reducing the distance: are MOOCs the future of CPD?

Out with the old, in with the digital? Verity Jones explains why online platforms for professional learning have become so popular. Schools have to set a limit for the professional development of their staff. Even where they have joined forces to offer Inset days, twilights and the odd TeachMeet-...
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Sue Birchall

A day in the life of a SBM

I recently left my job as the financial controller of a multi-academy trust and returned to a more ‘traditional’ school business manager role. Or you could say I rejoined the circus. If I look up to the ceiling in my office, all I can see are a series of spinning plates that I – the school's top-...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Teachers: does your professional learning have purpose?

To guarantee the 'C' in CPD, teachers should always be asking questions of the research they carry out or the training they receive. Karl Bentley is a senior lecturer and programme director for PGCE 7-14 at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent. After a career in power and control engineering...
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Nickii Messer

School business management or leadership – does it matter?

Does a move from school business management to school business leadership mean that some skills are being downgraded, or no longer seen as useful? Having been a committed supporter of the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) for many years, I still remember the (many)...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Spotlight on Northern Rocks

Although only in its fourth year, Northern Rocks is firmly established in the academic calendar as a powerhouse of pedagogical thinking. I spoke to its co-founder ahead of this year's conference. Drawing together teachers and others working in the field of education, Northern Rocks offers a forum...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Finders, keepers: improve wellbeing to retain the best staff

The recruitment and retention of staff can be testing at the best of times. Time spent finding and hiring the best person for the job is wasted if the job doesn't entice them to stay in the role. Discussions around staff retention usually follow the premise that keeping staff is good. This isn’t...
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