The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Inclusive learning

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

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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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

Disablist bullying has no place in our schools, so why is it on the rise?

We have a duty to ensure that all pupils can learn without prejudice, but recent statistics prove that there's still work to be done. A few years ago we took part in a project co-led by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and World of Inclusion to challenge disablist bullying in schools. In all my time...
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Joanna Grace

Pupils with SEND are just the tip of the iceberg

The mark of true inclusion is that all pupils benefit, not just those with SEND. Joanna Grace explains why it's important to see the bigger picture. In my work at The Sensory Projects , I provide training to settings and organisations looking to better understand the sensory world. One day I could...
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Gareth D Morewood

Supporting positive paths to adulthood

Offering a variety of subjects to Year 9 pupils, going beyond the core allocation, is integral to our support for the next generation of successful adults. I have written previously about the importance of an inclusive curriculum and how we define success ; never has this been a more vital element...
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Gareth D Morewood

How to develop a whole-school approach to literacy

There are several ways for SENCOs to develop a 'core offer' of inclusive literacy support. Many schools will have their own approaches, but here are some tried and tested suggestions. Many SENCOs have a range of responsibilities in their schools. Previously, I had been charged with developing a...
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Sofia Correia A...

Make peer-to-peer support and inclusion legendary at your school

Find out how personalised inclusion strategies and peer-to-peer support can help pupils with autism overcome barriers they may face in the classroom. Focusing on needs In order to have an effective inclusive environment, strategies to help children with autism communicate their wants and needs...
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Evie Prysor-Jones

Simple strategies to achieve assessment basics

Learn practical strategies to help pupils with SEN get the basics of test vocabulary, spelling and times tables. It's unlikely any pupil enjoys the exam period, but for pupils with SEN, even the ethos surrounding tests can be enough to provoke stress and self-doubt. As Jean Gross points out in her...
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Simon Yates

SEND assessment: giving up control of lesson observations

Lessons at a special school can involve at least 7 activities happening at once. Simon Yates explains why this has encouraged Chailey Heritage Foundation to change how they monitor the quality of teaching. In my previous blogs on SEND assessment, measuring our progress, not the pupil’s and facing...
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