The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SEND

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...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SEND governance: in pursuit of support and accountability

When it comes to facilitating the best possible provision for SEND, governors can be a valuable ally for the SENCO and other leaders. I have been fortunate to serve as governor at each of the schools I’ve worked in to date. I have served as a staff and, more recently, co-opted governor. I have also...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SEND: the N is not for NEET

Disability is not a barrier to working, but sadly it can be a barrier to getting a job. Gareth D. Morewood explains what schools can do to encourage change. We have previously commented on the extent to which the UK is failing to uphold the rights of its disabled citizens , and underscored the...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

What can schools do to help young people thrive?

Proactive discussions are the key to developing a culture of positive mental health. Here are some tips for SENCOs looking to facilitate the best possible support. One of the most valuable meetings a SENCO can have is with their local NHS commissioner. Incorporating health in discussions about...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Raising the status of teaching assistants

From interview to induction and far beyond, school leaders should prioritise the professional development of TAs in order to improve learning outcomes for all pupils. In this short post, I intend to try and draw together previous thoughts on teaching assistants and the impact they can have. Along...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SEND: the D is not for disadvantage

The UK is failing to uphold the rights of its disabled citizens, according to the United Nations. It's more important than ever that we work towards better outcomes in education. According to the government, the UK is a ‘world leader in disability issues’. But its efforts to uphold the rights of...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

SENCOs, make these first weeks count!

At this time of year, strategic planning for SEND provision can fall victim to in-the-moment demands. Here is my advice for a smooth start. In these hectic few weeks, many schools will be thrown in to the usual mix of analysis and induction; the typical balance of review and preparation to start...
Read more...
Gareth D Morewood

Why is co-production so powerful? Learning from research

There is a strong research basis to support co-production. Read on for a summary of key findings and how we can apply them in schools. After 20 years working in schools with young people and families, the last fifteen as SENCo, there is one thing I am very sure about: working together with parents/...
Read more...