The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

SEND Code of Practice

Gareth D Morewood

Investing in interventions: what does the research tell us?

What makes an intervention effective? How are schools to decide what to fund or deliver? Gareth D Morewood explains what we can glean from the existing literature. I've been involved in many discussions around how we evidence the effectiveness of interventions in improving learning outcomes,...
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Gareth D Morewood

SEND reforms implementation: for better or worse?

A humble SENCO's honest appraisal of the progress we've made over the last four years. 1 April 2018 was a significant date, circled on calendars and etched into memories, for one reason: the end of the implementation period for the SEND Reforms. Or so we thought… There are many ‘old’ Statements of...
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Gareth D Morewood

Five for Easter: looking back at the spring term

With the Easter break in full swing, it's a good time to take stock of the term just gone and consider your SEND priorities going forward. While you are tucking into your Easter eggs, here are five of my latest blog posts that you may have missed. Role models help us define by ability, not...
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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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Gareth D Morewood

Why we need more ethical SEND leaders

Knowing and doing what is right should be a SENCO's guiding principle, irrespective of outside pressure. Gareth Morewood makes the case for ethical leadership. As we professionals continue to struggle with the injustices of a system that seems to work well for very few young people and their...
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Gareth D Morewood

A new professional pathway for SENCOs

Initial training and later professional development mean nothing if they don't reflect our needs. The modern SENCO is no exception. Earlier this week I explained why we need to rethink the role of SENCO . The post prompted much discussion about the SENCO’s significance, and how decisions on the...
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Jack Procter-Blain

Making the most of speech and language therapy

Speech and language skills are essential if pupils in Reception are to be expected to access the curriculum. I found out how one TA has helped improve her school's provision for SLCN. On Tuesday it was revealed that the government will not continue funding for The Communication Trust , a charity...
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Gareth D Morewood

Time to rethink the 'effective SENCO'

Never has time been such a precious asset to the SENCO, whose professional status needs to be carefully reconsidered if they are expected to progress in the role. It has always been important for me to reflect on my own practice as SENCO and identify new opportunities to develop my skills. All...
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Gareth D Morewood

What makes a good investment in SEND?

A whole-school approach to improving outcomes for pupils with SEND means not only an investment of money, but also training priorities and time. SEND provision is too often directed toward those with more complex needs or EHCPs. This means that young people with SEND who are identified and...
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Sofia Correia A...

How do we define (and meet) outcomes for pupils with SEND?

Schools have a duty to put pupils' needs and aspirations at the centre of SEND provision. It is vital that we understand 'outcomes', and the steps we can take to meet them. Throughout my time as a teaching assistant, I've often discussed: how we define ‘outcomes’ in relation to pupils with SEND how...
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