The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

School performance and accountability

Dr Karamat Iqbal

Should education be secular?

Religious belief is very much alive in our schools, but many teachers are drastically unprepared to teach in the classrooms of the future. One of the most visible effects of globalisation has been the greater movement of peoples and communities. This has led to newer forms of diversity, especially...
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Matthew Burgess

What does Brexit mean for international students?

As the UK prepares to leave the EU and Brexit negotiations continue, Matthew Burgess looks at the impact on international students. Brexit is likely to have multiple effects on those parts of the UK's education sector that welcome students from beyond these shores. What are these effects and why do...
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Lisa Griffin

MATs Summit 2017: four phases of school improvement

‘School improvement is strongest when schools work together.' Lisa Griffin reports back from the first day of our multi-academy trust event. Sir David Carter sets out his vision for the future of school improvement School improvement was the theme of the day as the third annual MATs Summit kicked...
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John Viner

From educator to regulator: what you need to know about the new HMCI

What will Amanda Spielman make of the Wilshaw legacy? John Viner suspects there may be change in the air. Ofsted's new chief inspector, Amenda Spielman. Picture credit: gov.uk When the former education secretary, Nicky Morgan selected Amanda Spielman to be successor to Sir Michael Wilshaw as Her...
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Sue Birchall

Ofsted is coming: how SBMs can prepare

No truer is the saying 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance' than when an inspector calls. Here are the steps school business managers can take to stay ahead. For many school leaders, the autumn term can be the winter of their discontent. Image source: HBO At the beginning of term, nothing...
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John Viner

A new school year, a reshaped DfE?

The aftermath of the general election saw several top jobs in education change hands, but what hope does a revamped department give for the future? When Theresa May called the general election for June, Optimus asked me what my three wishes would be for future education policy. They were: to...
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Lisa Griffin

Could you be a MAT CFO?

We speak to financial experts about the crucial role played by finance directors in multi-academy trusts. Stephen Morales, executive director of the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM) What are the key skills that a finance director (FD) or chief finance officer (CFO) in a...
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Lisa Griffin

How to write a school policy: 9 top tips

School policies and procedures demonstrate your compliance with statutory requirements but how do you start to write one? These nine tips will help guide you in creating and reviewing a policy. 1. Correct content Cover what needs to be covered in accordance with legal guidance and Ofsted...
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Owen Carter

What schools can’t learn from startups

The secrets of high-performance organisations aren’t that secret - and may not be that useful in education. Everyone loves a success story, and schools are no different. Little wonder that the smouldering trails left by some high-performing businesses, whether Google or Apple , seem to appeal to...
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Steve Taylor

MATs: a 'try before you buy' approach

Executive head Steve Taylor explains why his multi-academy trust are taking struggling schools on loan for a year as part of a ‘try before you buy’ scheme. Robin Hood Multi-Academy Trust formed in September 2016 with a clear vision: to test the boundaries of education, take risks and follow what we...
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