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

Parents and carers

Gareth D Morewood

Promoting a better understanding of ADHD in schools

Myths and misunderstandings can create barriers to effective support for pupils with ADHD. Gareth D Morewood shares some advice from a recent event. I have been fortunate to have been part of the work previously developing ADHD care pathways and supporting the development of training materials for...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND at half term: time to take stock

Rest, relaxation and free resources: a SENCO’s half term itinerary. Gareth D Morewood highlights some useful material for next term. This week (or next, depending on where you are) is the time for SENCOs to switch off, to recover from the intense first half of the Autumn term. For some of us this...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Moving on from Bold Beginnings

It's time to be open about the dilemma parents can face when looking for a school in which their child will thrive, says Elizabeth Holmes. Back in April, I wrote about my son's imminent start at school and my concerns about what he might meet in the Reception year, given what I had read in Ofsted's...
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Gareth D Morewood

Meaningful open evenings: a parent’s perspective

An opportunity to present school life at its most authentic and encourage early co-production is not to be wasted. Gareth D Morewood shares one parent’s summary of their recent open evening. For some schools, open evenings can feel like a real chore. The prevailing question among staff can be ‘Why...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

Community in the school and school in the community

The transformative power of school-community relationships is plain to see. Karamat Iqbal explains what schools can gain from strengthening their local ties. If we look closely enough at our communities, we discover that many of them are rich in different types of capital and assets which, when...
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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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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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Debby Elley

Understanding autism: what they forgot to tell you

Much of what we're told about autism gives little sense of what it's like to live comfortably, but one parent's new book is jam-packed with positive experiences. Debby Elley, co-editor of AuKids magazine at the launch of her new book, describing her experience of raising two sons with autism Note...
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Gareth D Morewood

From high achiever to school refuser

An all too familiar story for girls on the autistic spectrum reminds us that we can gain a lot from listening to others. I have previously articulated some of the key issues schools need to keep in mind when supporting autistic girls, and I’m always keen to try to gain further insight into the...
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