The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SEND

Sophie Chalmers

'I have a voice – hear me': Jonathan's story

Sophie Chalmers talks to Jonathan Bryan about Teach Us Too, his campaign to give all non-verbal children the right to an education. Jonathan Bryan, pictured with his mother Chantal, speaks eloquently and with passion about the plight of children labelled with PMLD Twelve-year-old Jonathan Bryan,...
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Gareth D Morewood

National SEND inquiry: current challenges and possible solutions

Writing a submission to the government's SEND inquiry provided an opportunity to reflect on the challenges in the current system, and offer some suggestions for change. In a previous post I explained why the Education Committee’s inquiry into support for children and young people with SEND is a...
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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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Julie Kennelly

Working together to maximise the impact of TAs

Schools can learn as much from each other as from anything else, as Priestnall School has found when discussing the best use of teaching assistants. This year, Priestnall School has taken part in the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) project . As part of this, we had the...
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Gareth D Morewood

Revisiting the student passport

It has been several years since Priestnall School first introduced student passports. Gareth D Morewood explains why they continue to help secure better outcomes. We have been using student passports at Priestnall School for almost a decade now, and the reason for using them has never been clearer...
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Gareth D Morewood

Establishing a model for SENCO supervision

Successful professional supervision of SENCOs will depend on the extent of collaboration and mutual support between supervisor and supervisee. Gareth D Morewood outlines his thoughts. In a previous post I made the case for SENCO supervision , looking closely at: managerial supervision, to refer to...
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Gareth D Morewood

An integrated approach to working with health services

With a positive disposition, a little creativity and the support of key stakeholders, nothing is impossible. Gareth D Morewood outlines his alternative approach to organising CAMHS consultations. Earlier this week posted a tweet about something I thought reasonably unremarkable. Tomorrow we host...
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Joanna Grace

Sensory rooms: a sound investment in the right hands

Kitting out your school with the latest technology is no guarantee that your pupils will benefit. Joanna Grace explains why it’s important to invest in people too. The first sensory rooms in the UK emerged in the mid-1980s. Initially there were just a few of these strange immersive spaces in the...
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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

National SEND inquiry: it's time to have your say

A new inquiry promises to review the SEND reforms. We can't afford to waste this opportunity to make our voices heard. The implementation period of the SEND reforms has officially ended, leaving at best a mixed picture with regard to outcomes for young people and families; at worst, a total...
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