The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Mental health and wellbeing

John Viner

When fast-track adoption comes off the rails

When it works, the fast-track adoption route can save prospective parents a lot of hassle. But when it doesn't, schools are the first to see the emotional consequences. Angela and Darren are a childless couple. Having exhausted all other possibilities, they started fostering for the local authority...
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Optimus Education

How do we look after ourselves?

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the emphasis on the ways we enable ourselves to thrive, not just survive. An incredible number of organisations and public figures have joined the effort 'to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health'. ( Mental Health Foundation )...
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Gareth D Morewood

Mental health: what can schools do to build resilience?

Establishing a school-wide culture of resilience should be at the forefront of what we do to address the alarming prevalence of mental health issues among young people. 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to...
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Gareth D Morewood

Col-lab-orating to connect neuroscience with education

The role of neuroscience in educational practice - particularly for children and young people with SEND - has been controversial, but one laboratory's research shows great promise. There have been many unsubstantiated claims at events regarding ‘breakthroughs’ in neuroscience, including one example...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autism and mental health support, without the cost!

Priestnall School's recent event on autism and mental health was a busy hive of discussions, and proof of the fact that long-lasting support need not come at a great cost. I have written previously about mental health , a situation compounded for so many parents, carers and young people with SEND...
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Clare Erasmus

My pledge for 2017? To help change the language of learning!

Early, pro-active interventions remain an undercapitalized way of supporting pupils with mental health difficulties. While we wait for the funding to trickle through, we still need to be pro-active. A DfE study has found that one in ten children and young people aged 5 to 16 has a clinically...
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Gareth D Morewood

How can we support the emotional regulation of children with autism?

Helping pupils with autism to regulate their emotions and handle changing states will greatly benefit their capacity to engage. Here's a summary of what you need to know and how you can help. Recently I have been fortunate enough to have took part in some powerful discussions with Studio III , who...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Healthy schools: working towards wellbeing

Promoting health and wellbeing in school can help pupils lead long, happy lives. Here are some tips for encompassing the 'whole package' of wellbeing in your school's approach. It is undeniable that schools have a responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles. There is little point in developing...
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Laura Nuttall

Mental health: don’t let your pupils ‘get by’ unsupported

As someone who received support from my school counsellor and teachers, I still struggled with my mental health illness. How do pupils who don't have access to adequate support cope? They don't. Many years ago, I was an 8-year-old in a primary school classroom desperately trying not to cry whilst...
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Sofia Correia A...

Be the writer of your life story: why we need to express emotions

It can be a struggle for young people to acknowledge overwhelming emotions and how to express them. In Using Poetry to Promote Talking and Healing, Dr. Pooky Knightsmith outlines how we can help students to express their emotions clearly and safely. Poetry can open up discussion In Using Poetry to...
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