The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

School performance and accountability

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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John Viner

Voluntary but unvalued: the crisis in governor recruitment

When governors are so often blamed for poor inspection judgements, is it any wonder that schools struggle to get committed volunteers through the door? When preparing for a Section 48 inspection I have to read a number of documents, including the school’s most recent Ofsted report. Recently, I...
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Lisa Griffin

Accountability: what do we mean and what does it look like?

The Headteachers Roundtable Summit saw more than 200 attendees come together to focus on key issues including assessment and accountability and recruitment and retention. The summit kicked off with chair of the Headteachers Roundtable core group Stephen Tierney talking about accountability. It was...
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Lisa Griffin

‘A revolution is happening’: Tim Coulson on multi-academy trusts

At our recent MATs Summit, regional school commissioner Tim Coulson spoke to us about the role of the RSC and developing successful relationships with trusts. What do you think of the suggestion we heard earlier from Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski that MAT inspections should be based on an appraisal...
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Liz Worthen

‘Because you care, you can pull it off’: Lord Blunkett at the MATs Summit 2016

Grammar schools, career pathways, dealing with controversy and creating change: David Blunkett reflects on the current landscape for leaders in education. One of the highlights of the Optimus Education MATs Summit was hearing Lord Blunkett in conversation with Laura McInerney , editor of Schools...
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