The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Teaching and learning

Owen Carter

Review: Ouroboros by Greg Ashman

Is education eating its own tail? Owen Carter reviews Ouroboros by Greg Ashman. Ouroboros is a very, very interesting book. The name refers to the ancient symbol of a snake eating its own tail: applied to education, it means that fads, trends and all the worst of teaching gimmickry come round time...
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Miranda Galloway

Using history to support children with SEND

Miranda Galloway, from local social enterprise Dig Discover Enjoy, explains how engaging with archaeology can encourage pupils with SEN to be creative and learn new skills. Our mission is to enable people to get involved in archaeology and heritage. Getting creative with Roman plates We realised...
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Katie Renton

Action research: challenging and improving teaching practice

Teachers are constantly challenged to improve and reflect on their practice. Katie Renton, junior content executive at Optimus Education, looks at how teachers can improve pupils’ experiences in the classroom through action research. Professional development in schools must create an overt...
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Alex Masters

The state of play: how Lego can lead to deeper learning

‘Play is the beginning of knowledge,’ so a wise man once said. Indeed, recent studies have found clear links between play and deeper learning...so much so that there have been calls for Ofsted to stress the importance of play in its inspection framework. There are many compelling cases for the link...
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Owen Carter

What you say to pupils matters - a lot

If there’s one thing I learnt from Growing Excellence , it’s that what you say to pupils matters. It really matters. Why? It’s what takes you from this butterfly: To this butterfly: Put simply, Dweck’s research shows us that often we get back what we put in. If you tell someone they’re excellent at...
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Sara Boomsma

Middle leaders: beat the stress and lead your team to outstanding

Battling time constraints, managing staff, engaging in the day-to-day running of the school and teaching high-quality, differentiated lessons... is it any wonder that today’s middle leaders are stressed? Now that the Government and Ofsted have upped their focus on accountability and a wider range...
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Owen Carter

Excellent teaching: borrow shamelessly, learn from the best

Growth mindsets. Innovation and excellence. Marginal learning gains. Chances are you’ve heard some of these terms flying around the staffroom or seen them filling up your twitter feed. But how can you put them into practice and make sure you’re walking the walk as well as talking the talk? A...
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Lizzie Gait

Adventure Learning at Netley Abbey Infant School

I recently had the good fortune to visit Headteacher Jon Le Fevre at Netley Abbey Infant School , a large infant school on the south coast of England – a long trip from our office in North London but well worth the journey! I love visiting schools in the primary phase as my overriding image of them...
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Suruthi Bala

‘Great teaching isn't complicated, it’s about getting the simple things right’

This week I visited Greig City Academy to meet Ross McGill ( @TeacherToolkit ) and as a relative newbie to the twittersphere I was keen to meet the most followed teacher and writer of the most influential blog on education in the UK! We started the visit with a tour of the school and it was...
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