The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SENCology

Gareth D Morewood

National SEND inquiry: it's time to have your say

A new inquiry promises to review the SEND reforms. We can't afford to waste this opportunity to make our voices heard. The implementation period of the SEND reforms has officially ended, leaving at best a mixed picture with regard to outcomes for young people and families; at worst, a total...
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Gareth D Morewood

Investing in interventions: what does the research tell us?

What makes an intervention effective? How are schools to decide what to fund or deliver? Gareth D Morewood explains what we can glean from the existing literature. I've been involved in many discussions around how we evidence the effectiveness of interventions in improving learning outcomes,...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND reforms implementation: for better or worse?

A humble SENCO's honest appraisal of the progress we've made over the last four years. 1 April 2018 was a significant date, circled on calendars and etched into memories, for one reason: the end of the implementation period for the SEND Reforms. Or so we thought… There are many ‘old’ Statements of...
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Gareth D Morewood

Five for Easter: looking back at the spring term

With the Easter break in full swing, it's a good time to take stock of the term just gone and consider your SEND priorities going forward. While you are tucking into your Easter eggs, here are five of my latest blog posts that you may have missed. Role models help us define by ability, not...
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Gareth D Morewood

From high achiever to school refuser

An all too familiar story for girls on the autistic spectrum reminds us that we can gain a lot from listening to others. I have previously articulated some of the key issues schools need to keep in mind when supporting autistic girls, and I’m always keen to try to gain further insight into the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Role models help us define by ability, not disability

We're fortunate to have many shining examples of people who refused to be defined by their disabilities. Schools can use these role models to inform positive lessons. This week brought the sad news of the passing of Professor Stephen Hawking . I am no expert on his work, but have learned a lot more...
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Jack Procter-Blain

Every teacher is a researcher of SEND

As teachers, there's no better way to find and apply what works than investing time in research. Exploring research into SEND deserves to be high on your agenda. With so much to sift through, and so little time to do it, research is too often a ‘would-have’ instead of a ‘must-have’ for teachers...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Spotlight on FestABLE

Few events successfully engage all those who can work together to improve outcomes for young people with SEND. I spoke to the organiser of one new festival with something for everyone. FestABLE, the UK’s first National Festival of Specialist Learning, is taking place on Saturday 2 June 2018. It...
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Gareth D Morewood

It's time to supervise the SENCO

For other professionals, positive supervision is already a component of high quality work. Why not develop something similar for SENCOs? This week has been a tough one. As a SENCO, it can happen: external and internal demands, the end of our school’s financial year, planning for next steps and the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Why we need more ethical SEND leaders

Knowing and doing what is right should be a SENCO's guiding principle, irrespective of outside pressure. Gareth Morewood makes the case for ethical leadership. As we professionals continue to struggle with the injustices of a system that seems to work well for very few young people and their...
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