The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SENCology

Marcus Wilton

'It's cool to have ADHD': Marcus' story

As a spectrum condition, ADHD affects everyone differently. 10-year-old Marcus Wilton's account brings the reality of living with the condition to life. Marcus and his grandmother at the ADHD Foundation conference, where Marcus was awarded a trophy for his contribution to raising public awareness...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Mythbusting SEND: why the law still trumps all

Variability in local practice continues to cause upheaval for schools at the heart of the SEND system. Here are some of the misconceptions we need to address now. Previously I have written about how the law trumps all as far as SEND is concerned. As we near the end of the reforms implementation...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

A new professional pathway for SENCOs

Initial training and later professional development mean nothing if they don't reflect our needs. The modern SENCO is no exception. Earlier this week I explained why we need to rethink the role of SENCO . The post prompted much discussion about the SENCO’s significance, and how decisions on the...
Read more...
Jack Procter-Blain

Making the most of speech and language therapy

Speech and language skills are essential if pupils in Reception are to be expected to access the curriculum. I found out how one TA has helped improve her school's provision for SLCN. On Tuesday it was revealed that the government will not continue funding for The Communication Trust , a charity...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Time to rethink the 'effective SENCO'

Never has time been such a precious asset to the SENCO, whose professional status needs to be carefully reconsidered if they are expected to progress in the role. It has always been important for me to reflect on my own practice as SENCO and identify new opportunities to develop my skills. All...
Read more...
Joanna Grace

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: in need of our understanding

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) may sound obscure, but misdiagnosis or misunderstanding in schools can have a lasting effect on young people who have the condition. It’s likely that your school supports young people with autism. It’s also likely that, if you were to have trouble supporting a...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

High quality, low cost: a guide to CPD for SEND

In ensuring SEND takes pride of place on their school's CPD timetable, SENCOs should first turn to the excellent resources we share among ourselves. In the last post, we asked what a good whole-school investment in SEND would look like, and considered how training and professional development...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

What makes a good investment in SEND?

A whole-school approach to improving outcomes for pupils with SEND means not only an investment of money, but also training priorities and time. SEND provision is too often directed toward those with more complex needs or EHCPs. This means that young people with SEND who are identified and...
Read more...
Charlie Roden

Days like this: how I became a teaching assistant

Bottle caps can be wheelchair lifts, and students can be tougher interviewers than staff: just some of the things I learned when applying to become a TA. I have been interviewed many times over the years – when applying to the role of support worker, bartender, retail assistant and even university...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Time to take stock of our SEND highlights

Every SENCO have reason to be proud of their work this year. It's important not to let these positive highlights languish in the shadow of ongoing challenges. This is one of the most hectic times of year, and it can be a huge strain on schools and families. Ofsted’s annual report has signalled a...
Read more...