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

Recruitment

John Viner

Keeping children even safer

With an updated Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance now in force, John Viner summarises what has changed and how schools need to respond. I usually try to kick off a new academic year with a quick review of what’s gone on and going on in the political world of education but, this year, it...
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John Viner

Where do new teachers come from?

Looking for fresh talent, or a pathway to a new career? John Viner outlines some of the many different routes into teaching. As a teacher trainer, it always astonishes me that, of the (usually) young men and women who we send out into schools with a shiny new QTS, so many leave the profession after...
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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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Julie Moktadir

Tier 5 sponsorship and independent schools: what to know

With recent difficulties in Tier 5 sponsorship for independent schools, Stone King lawyer Julie Moktadir explains what schools need to consider when applying for a visa. Independent schools often sponsor individuals from outside the EEA to enhance the educational experience of their students. As...
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David Weston

4 ways for MATs to become employers of choice

David Weston describes key ways MATs can become employers of choice where talented individuals want to stay and develop. In a time of significant challenges for recruitment and retention, MATs are under pressure to stand out as great employers. CEOs and executive headteachers are increasingly...
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John Viner

Midday meals supervisor: the school's superhero

While every school might have different expectations of the midday meals team, such expectations are invariably high. John Viner makes the case for recognising their valuable input. In the grand scheme of things, a school’s midday meals supervisor (MMS) is often its unsung hero. Yet the fact that,...
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Charlie Roden

Days like this: how I became a teaching assistant

Bottle caps can be wheelchair lifts, and students can be tougher interviewers than staff: just some of the things I learned when applying to become a TA. I have been interviewed many times over the years – when applying to the role of support worker, bartender, retail assistant and even university...
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John Viner

Staff retention means keeping the right people on the bus

A long and costly recruitment cycle is just one of the things a school has to endure if they can't keep their eggs on the bus – and their foxes at bay. At the sharp end of budget matters, school business managers are likely to have a very good idea of the cost of recruiting a new member of staff...
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Alex Masters

Why pupil interview panels are a bad idea

Pupil empowerment is something to actively embrace in schools but, Alex Masters argues, involving 11 year-olds in the interview process is a step too far. 'I'd now like you to sing a few bars of your favourite song. In your own time...' I still remember it vividly. It was my fourth teaching job...
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John Viner

Voluntary but unvalued: the crisis in governor recruitment

When governors are so often blamed for poor inspection judgements, is it any wonder that schools struggle to get committed volunteers through the door? When preparing for a Section 48 inspection I have to read a number of documents, including the school’s most recent Ofsted report. Recently, I...
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