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

An inclusive approach in every aspect of school life

Gareth D Morewood describes how a whole-school approach can inform true values for inclusive schools. I am fortunate enough to have provided external training and support to SEND colleagues, schools, parent carer groups and local authorities. One topic that appears ever more frequently in the...
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Gareth D Morewood

How to strengthen your SENCO-governor relationship

To the SENCO, a SEND governor can provide supportive accountability and critical friendship. Here are some ways to make this relationship count. Last week I emphasised that the start of the new term is the perfect time for SENCOs to plan strategically for effective SEND provision. But a SENCO is...
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Gareth D Morewood

A new school year, a fresh approach to SEND?

Opportunities to improve practice and share ideas can benefit new and experienced SENCOs alike. Gareth D Morewood shares some simple advice to kick-start the new term. The beginning of a new academic year is a great time to consider how we can all become the strategic SENCOs we aspire to be. This...
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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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