The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SENCology

Gareth D Morewood

Working together to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable young people

Reflections on #CoPro19: Gareth D Morewood highlights key themes and important points to consider in working towards co-production. Prior to our third conference a few weeks ago, I wrote about our journey in developing #CoPro19 ; a conference about families and professionals working together and...
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Joanna Grace

Recognising mental health in students with learning disabilities

In a population as vulnerable as our students with profound learning disabilities, recognising their mental health can be a game changer. Joanna Grace shares two stories to show the importance of such recognition. We all know that being mentally healthy is just as important for living a good life...
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Gareth D Morewood

Transition into adulthood: moving from school to college

The transition from school to college can be daunting for any teenager. Gareth D Morewood shares the experiences of a former student with autism, and how she deals with the challenges she faces at college. I am fortunate to work with some truly empowering young people and many fantastic families...
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Gareth D Morewood

What is co-production? Moving from theory into practice

How does co-production happen? Finding solutions, collaboration, empowerment and sharing responsibility. I have considered previously how research indicates that co-production is powerful . However, I am constantly thinking more about what this really means ‘on the ground’. In the first post of the...
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Liz Murray

Models for the SENCO role: context, value and intent

Should SENCOs be on the SLT? Does status matter? What’s the best way to ensure influence and impact on pupil outcomes? It’s several years now since I completed the NASENCo qualification , but I still remember the first day of the course. We started off by introducing ourselves. While we were all in...
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Gareth D Morewood

It’s time to take action on SENCO workload

The ‘It’s about time’ report has highlighted the issue of SENCO workload. What action can we take to redress the balance? Nearly 2,000 SENCOs responded to a call for their real experiences of the job, workload, processes and (perhaps most importantly?) time. The resulting report, It’s about time:...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autistic girls: my steep learning curve

To better support girls with autism, we need more research. Here's what I've discovered so far. Previously I have written about my growing understanding of autistic girls and more recently I have had the opportunity to learn further from our pupils and specialist staff. I never consider myself to...
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Gareth D Morewood

Emotional regulation in the context of whole school inclusion

Helping pupils understand the importance of emotions and how to regulate them can reduce stress, anxiety and dysregulation. Gareth D Morewood explains how research can inform a nuanced approach. A range of studies in different countries have demonstrated that autistic pupils are among the most...
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Gareth D Morewood

Promoting a better understanding of ADHD in schools

Myths and misunderstandings can create barriers to effective support for pupils with ADHD. Gareth D Morewood shares some advice from a recent event. I have been fortunate to have been part of the work previously developing ADHD care pathways and supporting the development of training materials for...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND at half term: time to take stock

Rest, relaxation and free resources: a SENCO’s half term itinerary. Gareth D Morewood highlights some useful material for next term. This week (or next, depending on where you are) is the time for SENCOs to switch off, to recover from the intense first half of the Autumn term. For some of us this...
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