The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SEND

Gareth D Morewood

Getting value from educational visits

Taking the time to arrange bespoke plans for individual students will mean everyone can make the most of school trips. Conway Centre, Anglesey. Picture credit: conwaycentres.co.uk have previously written about how inclusion means everyone goes , even on the road . After taking 231 Year 7 students...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND: the E is not for exclusion

Too many schools are turning away their most vulnerable learners when additional needs are not met. This must stop. A few weeks ago, I argued that excluding pupils should always be a last resort; that schools and parents can find more positive solutions if they work together; and that for pupils...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autism and sexual health: need it be a challenge?

Understanding sexuality and relationships can one of the most challenging areas for a young person with ASC. Here are some resources to support a proactive approach. In my last post, I suggested some ‘go-to’ books for a SENCO’s autism reading list. One book I chose is the Independent Woman's...
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Joanna Grace

Caught in a spin

Fidget spinners are the latest craze to cause controversy in schools, but an outright ban won't make the underlying needs disappear. You’ve planned the perfect lesson, you have a great starter, you know pupils will find it interesting once they get into it. But their attention is elsewhere. Fidget...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autism: 5 books to add to your reading list

Books can provide a natural introduction to positive discussions around autism and young people. Here are some of my personal favourites. At almost every event I’ve spoken at over the last few years, at least one delegate has asked me how to broach the subject of a diagnosis with a child. If you're...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND: the S is not for special

Labelling for the sake of convenience has profound implications for young people and their families. All schools should ditch the deficit model. When I was appointed as SENCO 15 years ago, one of my first actions was to remove all references to 'SEN' from our faculty, my job title and our day-to-...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': rethinking assessment and feedback

The formative assessment of pupils with SEND has always been a central issue at Holy Family School. A disappointing Ofsted judgement provided a catalyst for change. ‘Setting pupils ambitious and yet realistic targets based on a clear and accurate understanding of what they can and need to do to...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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