The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Pupil safety and pastoral care

Joanna Grace

There's no such thing as attention-seeking behaviour

Playing the fool, acting up... or indicating an unmet need? Joanna Grace explains how teachers can get to the root of poor behaviour. As a teacher, you may have heard inappropriate classroom behaviour – loud noises, jokes, foot tapping – dismissed as 'just attention seeking'. But is it? 'Just'...
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Kieren McCarthy

It's not too late to help young people recognise online sexual content

How do you help children and young people navigate a world of online sexual content? By doing what teachers have always done: give 'em a compass. It's taken a long time but we finally seem ready to address the impact of the internet on young people in a systematic way. The government's Internet...
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John Viner

Smart watches: new tech needs new solutions

In face of a booming wearable technology market, it’s high time we find ways to incorporate rather than exclude these gadgets in schools. Analysts at Research and Markets, a market research organisation, have estimated that the wearable technology market will grow at a compound annual growth rate...
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Elizabeth Holmes

More smiles, less stick: Chris Dyson on a positive approach to behaviour

At Parklands Primary School, believing that pupils can do their best is the first step to better behaviour. Headteacher Chris Dyson spoke to Elizabeth Holmes about their 'no exclusions' approach. Much has been said recently about behaviour management. From ‘no excuses’ to 'no exclusions', the way...
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Jack Procter-Blain

You can be a mental health champion

A school's mental health lead is someone who can facilitate grassroots change. This means building resilience, improving communication and gaining trust. It’s a sore but well-known fact that the demand for mental health support in schools is greater than the capacity of external services. When, at...
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Matt Miller

Terrorism and schools: are we doing enough?

Following publication of a report into how prepared London is for a terrorist incident, Matt Miller considers what the implications are for schools. As autumn descends on a year that will long be remembered for a litany of terrorist atrocities across the country, notably in London and Manchester, I...
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Katie Rose White

Mental health is no laughing matter, or is it?

Implementing laughing techniques in the classroom can help pupils become more emotionally resilient. Katie Rose White explains how. Stress is a contributing factor to anxiety. Anxiety can lead to panic, depression and low self-esteem. Finding affordable and effective ways to manage stress in...
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Joanna Feast

Addressing unhealthy lifestyles needn't be a brain-teaser

Late nights or a predilection for fast food are truer to a young person's brain development than you might think. Joanna Feast explains how schools can promote healthier choices. Do you ever find yourself despairing of your students making less-than-healthy choices? Do you imagine how much better...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

The cost of educational underachievement

The benefits of receiving an education are matched only by the cost of not receiving one. Karamat Iqbal explains why underachievement is potentially life-changing. They say 'You don't know the value of something until it's gone', and education is no exception to this rule. It is easy to say that...
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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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