The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Staff wellbeing

Gareth D Morewood

SENCOs: make the end of term festive, not frantic!

'Tis the season to be jolly, but with very little 'down time' in the run-up to the end of term, SENCOs need to make sure they allow time for self-care. Don't let a long to-do list wear you down in these last few weeks of term You might think that the run-in to the festive break heralds unbounded...
Read more...
Jack Procter-Blain

You can be a mental health champion

A school's mental health lead is someone who can facilitate grassroots change. This means building resilience, improving communication and gaining trust. It’s a sore but well-known fact that the demand for mental health support in schools is greater than the capacity of external services. When, at...
Read more...
Ashmi Morjaria

School leadership: for better for worse, till death do us part

I often hear colleagues talk about being 'married' to teaching. But what happens when matrimony becomes acrimony, and who can prevent it? For almost a third of teachers, the profession is a turbulent union that will end in divorce within the first five years Relationship breakdown Back in 2010,...
Read more...
John Dabell

How to recharge your teaching batteries

Summer is a welcome break for even the most resilient school leader. But when you get your life back, what do you do with it? Did the end of term leave you quanked, forswunk, and ramfeezled? Has your mojo run off and left your body to cope all by itself? Fear not, the summer holidays are here and...
Read more...
Optimus Education

Award scheme recognises schools building better mental health

From September 2017, a new Wellbeing Award for Schools, presented by the National Children’s Bureau and Optimus Education Ltd, will recognise outstanding work being done to promote mental health and wellbeing within school communities across England. An NCB survey in 2016 showed many school leaders...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Alex Masters

How my hour-long appraisal nearly destroyed me

Appraisals can truly make or break a person, as Alex Masters discovered. Use these expert tips to ensure your feedback is always constructive. It was an hour of pure hell. I was in the English department office, two pupils (who had just been sent out of a nearby classroom owing to disruptive...
Read more...
Elizabeth Holmes

Finders, keepers: improve wellbeing to retain the best staff

The recruitment and retention of staff can be testing at the best of times. Time spent finding and hiring the best person for the job is wasted if the job doesn't entice them to stay in the role. Discussions around staff retention usually follow the premise that keeping staff is good. This isn’t...
Read more...
Elizabeth Holmes

Has teacher workload reached critical mass?

It is a surprise to no-one that indomitable teacher workloads are contributing to the current recruitment and retention crisis. What action must be taken, both on a national and individual level? For almost twenty years I have been writing about the demands of teacher workload and the devastating...
Read more...
Elizabeth Holmes

Healthy schools: working towards wellbeing

Promoting health and wellbeing in school can help pupils lead long, happy lives. Here are some tips for encompassing the 'whole package' of wellbeing in your school's approach. It is undeniable that schools have a responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles. There is little point in developing...
Read more...