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

Talking diagnosis: a parent's advice

An honest conversation about your child’s needs isn’t something to fear – it can help you work and learn together. Gareth D Morewood asks one parent for their views. Recently there has been a flurry of questions on Twitter and from colleagues in different schools about how parents and carers should...
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Marta Pelejero

From thinking all was impossible to becoming a TA (and now teacher!)

Volunteering as a teaching assistant at Priestnall School gave Marta Pelejero precious insight into the fundamentals of teaching. She describes her journey so far. How many people know their vocation? How many know what they really want to do with their life? In this constantly changing world it is...
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Gareth D Morewood

How (and why) we set up a secondary nurture group

Supporting students in a nurturing environment was a formative step in our school’s progression towards a model for inclusion. Here is what we did. Ten years ago, at Priestnall School, we established a nurture group to support students’ transition from our feeder primary schools to Year 7 (any...
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Charlie Roden

Review: Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism

Debby Elley's latest book is a sweet treat, offering a valuable perspective on autism and acceptance. Since being appointed as a teaching assistant at a secondary school with a large SEN department, I have worked with a lot of brilliant children who happen to be autistic. Having had limited...
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Sophie Chalmers

'I have a voice – hear me': Jonathan's story

Sophie Chalmers talks to Jonathan Bryan about Teach Us Too, his campaign to give all non-verbal children the right to an education. Jonathan Bryan, pictured with his mother Chantal, speaks eloquently and with passion about the plight of children labelled with PMLD Twelve-year-old Jonathan Bryan,...
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Gareth D Morewood

National SEND inquiry: current challenges and possible solutions

Writing a submission to the government's SEND inquiry provided an opportunity to reflect on the challenges in the current system, and offer some suggestions for change. In a previous post I explained why the Education Committee’s inquiry into support for children and young people with SEND is a...
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Gareth D Morewood

The power of FestABLE: three stories

A personal highlight of the recent FestABLE were the inspirational stories of young people and their families. Gareth D Morewood shares a few shining examples. Last Saturday I was fortunate to have been asked to attend the inaugural FestABLE event at National Star College in Cheltenham. The event...
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Julie Kennelly

Working together to maximise the impact of TAs

Schools can learn as much from each other as from anything else, as Priestnall School has found when discussing the best use of teaching assistants. This year, Priestnall School has taken part in the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) project . As part of this, we had the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Revisiting the student passport

It has been several years since Priestnall School first introduced student passports. Gareth D Morewood explains why they continue to help secure better outcomes. We have been using student passports at Priestnall School for almost a decade now, and the reason for using them has never been clearer...
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Gareth D Morewood

Establishing a model for SENCO supervision

Successful professional supervision of SENCOs will depend on the extent of collaboration and mutual support between supervisor and supervisee. Gareth D Morewood outlines his thoughts. In a previous post I made the case for SENCO supervision , looking closely at: managerial supervision, to refer to...
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