The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Pupil safety and pastoral care

Dr Karamat Iqbal

No more Trojan Horses

In recent years, education in Birmingham has been the subject of national controversy. What can schools do to prevent history repeating itself? In March 2014, the press reported an alleged plot by so-called ‘hardline Islamists’ to take over a number of Birmingham schools. The substance of the plot...
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John Viner

When fast-track adoption comes off the rails

When it works, the fast-track adoption route can save prospective parents a lot of hassle. But when it doesn't, schools are the first to see the emotional consequences. Angela and Darren are a childless couple. Having exhausted all other possibilities, they started fostering for the local authority...
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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...
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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

Mental health: what can schools do to build resilience?

Establishing a school-wide culture of resilience should be at the forefront of what we do to address the alarming prevalence of mental health issues among young people. 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Championing diversity and equality in these challenging times

In these turbulent times, schools must ensure that their commitment to equality and diversity shines through. 'It’s never too late to give up your prejudices.' ~ Henry David Thoreau As with our communities, our schools are diverse. Diversity is not abstract in any way. It is simply a reflection of...
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Elizabeth Smith

Eating disorders: laying the groundwork for positive discussion

Any lesson on eating disorders should be framed with clear, pre-determined ground rules and an emphasis on coping strategies, so you may lead pupils into a confident discussion. When addressing topics as sensitive as eating disorders, it is absolutely vital to establish clear rules before any...
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Jack Procter-Blain

How 'e-safe' are your pupils?

To celebrate this year's Safer Internet Day , test your pupils' knowledge of common e-safety issues with this short quiz. The quiz touches on some of the risks young people can face online, including: sexting and the sharing of inappropriate images sophisticated 'phishing scams' and untrustworthy...
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Jack Procter-Blain

Inspecting e-safety: an update

Schools are struggling to train staff and foster a collective e-safety culture, according to a recent assessment report. How can they ensure that policy and practice are inspection-ready? Attendees at last week’s Bett exhibition were invited to a half-hour seminar on ‘Inspecting Keeping Children...
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Andrew Moffat

From schools to supermarkets: there are no outsiders!

In these unkind times, it's important to champion an inclusive, 'no outsiders' ethos. Real-world examples offer great opportunities to get pupils thinking about diversity. This week I delivered an assembly to Year 4 and 5 pupils on a branch of Tesco in Scotland. The Moray branch is working with...
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