The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Ofsted

Elizabeth Holmes

Bold Beginnings: think piece or set text?

Ofsted's controversial new report on Reception teaching is an opportunity to discuss what really matters in the early years. As I write this, my four-year-old son, who will start school this September, is working hard on the garden (or ‘farm’ as he describes it, after watching CBeebies’...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Bouncing back from a disappointing inspection outcome

Your Ofsted inspection has come and gone, but the outcome wasn't what you'd hoped. What are the next steps? If social media is anything to go by, an Ofsted inspection remains a source of dread for those who work in schools. While much work has been done by Ofsted – and particularly its national...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': reviewing and refining practice for 2018

One year on from our Ofsted report, Holy Family is committed to implementing our plan for better SEND support. Here are some of our priorities. Reviewing and planning are the main two priorities for many SENCOs as the year ends. Ours has just given a wonderful exposition of the history of SEND to...
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Elizabeth Holmes

More smiles, less stick: Chris Dyson on a positive approach to behaviour

At Parklands Primary School, believing that pupils can do their best is the first step to better behaviour. Headteacher Chris Dyson spoke to Elizabeth Holmes about their 'no exclusions' approach. Much has been said recently about behaviour management. From ‘no excuses’ to 'no exclusions', the way...
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John Viner

From educator to regulator: what you need to know about the new HMCI

What will Amanda Spielman make of the Wilshaw legacy? John Viner suspects there may be change in the air. Ofsted's new chief inspector, Amenda Spielman. Picture credit: gov.uk When the former education secretary, Nicky Morgan selected Amanda Spielman to be successor to Sir Michael Wilshaw as Her...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': transforming provision for SEND

The deputy headteacher of one secondary school explains why staff are determined to improve learning outcomes for all pupils. From the comfort of the Sussex coast, this summer holiday was a time to think about what went right and what could have gone better at Holy Family Catholic School. On one...
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Sue Birchall

Ofsted is coming: how SBMs can prepare

No truer is the saying 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance' than when an inspector calls. Here are the steps school business managers can take to stay ahead. For many school leaders, the autumn term can be the winter of their discontent. Image source: HBO At the beginning of term, nothing...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

No more Trojan Horses

In recent years, education in Birmingham has been the subject of national controversy. What can schools do to prevent history repeating itself? In March 2014, the press reported an alleged plot by so-called ‘hardline Islamists’ to take over a number of Birmingham schools. The substance of the plot...
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Lisa Griffin

How to write a school policy: 9 top tips

School policies and procedures demonstrate your compliance with statutory requirements but how do you start to write one? These nine tips will help guide you in creating and reviewing a policy. 1. Correct content Cover what needs to be covered in accordance with legal guidance and Ofsted...
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Jack Procter-Blain

Inspecting e-safety: an update

Schools are struggling to train staff and foster a collective e-safety culture, according to a recent assessment report. How can they ensure that policy and practice are inspection-ready? Attendees at last week’s Bett exhibition were invited to a half-hour seminar on ‘Inspecting Keeping Children...
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