The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Lisa Griffin

Lisa Griffin is content lead for leadership and governance. An experienced editor and content manager in industries including education and healthcare, Lisa is particularly interested in leadership support and development.

Latest blog posts

Lisa Griffin

How to write a school policy: 9 top tips

School policies and procedures demonstrate your compliance with statutory requirements but how do you start to write one? These nine tips will help guide you in creating and reviewing a policy. 1. Correct content Cover what needs to be covered in accordance with legal guidance and Ofsted...
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Lisa Griffin

Accountability: what do we mean and what does it look like?

The Headteachers Roundtable Summit saw more than 200 attendees come together to focus on key issues including assessment and accountability and recruitment and retention. The summit kicked off with chair of the Headteachers Roundtable core group Stephen Tierney talking about accountability. It was...
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Lisa Griffin

Establishing or joining a MAT: autonomy vs capacity

Our recent Establishing or Joining Multi-Academy Trusts conference was a day of debate, thoughtful questions and honest answers. Lisa Griffin highlights some of the key learnings. Autonomy and capacity were the big buzz words of the event. For most of the attendees who were looking for guidance on...
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Lisa Griffin

Is it time to pay school governors?

With more accountability and greater pressure on school governors, we ask whether it is time this volunteer role became a paid one. Appointing headteachers, legal responsibilities, examining how the school budget is spent, scrutinising results and progress of pupils: these are just a few of the...
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Lisa Griffin

‘A revolution is happening’: Tim Coulson on multi-academy trusts

At our recent MATs Summit, regional school commissioner Tim Coulson spoke to us about the role of the RSC and developing successful relationships with trusts. What do you think of the suggestion we heard earlier from Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski that MAT inspections should be based on an appraisal...
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Lisa Griffin

'We need more BME teachers in the classroom'

7.6% of state school teachers in England come from BME backgrounds and only 3% are school leaders*. Why is this number so low? Headteacher Marva Rollins talks about the training she does with BME teachers aspiring to leadership. Tell us about your progression to headship and career to date. Marva:...
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Lisa Griffin

Could you be a MAT CEO?

We spoke to multi-academy trust CEOs to find out their biggest challenges and advice they would give to new and aspiring CEOs. What key skills does a MAT CEO need? Vision developer Strategist Leadership developer Quality assurer Communicator for the MAT Ambassador for the MAT How important is it...
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Lisa Griffin

Academies and MATs: to be or not to be?

Following the apparent U-turn over forced academisation, we talked to a number of schools about their concerns and the future they’re planning. Lisa Griffin summarises the results. ‘Schools are all becoming academies!’ ‘Oh no they’re not!’ Maybe not quite a pantomime but it went something like that...
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Lisa Griffin

Extra, extra! Use the media to your advantage

Getting positive coverage in the media can enhance the reputation of your school. So what do you need to do to ensure the publicity you attract is used to your advantage? There needs to be a relationship between schools and the press. While the press like human interest stories that make their...
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Lisa Griffin

Question time for the DfE: primary assessment

We put the DfE in the hot seat at our recent primary assessment conference and asked the questions you wanted the answers to. Two years on from the assessment reforms in primary schools and we still have grey areas. What will Ofsted judge your pupils’ progress against next year? What will the 2016...
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Lisa Griffin

Changing times: academisation and group collaboration

With the recent ‘Educational excellence everywhere’ white paper and new Education and Adoption Act 2016, the education landscape is going through a huge amount of change. What does this mean for your school and what should you do now? It’s clear that the academy programme continues to be a key part...
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Lisa Griffin

Get more from the core: developing middle leaders

Middle leaders provide the vital link between leadership and the classroom but how can they best be supported? 'The role of middle managers is crucial to the steady and sustained improvement of schools. The headteachers and senior managers provide the vision but middle managers effect the long-term...
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Lisa Griffin

MATs: can the system cope?

Academy conversion and multi-academy trust growth seems to be the future for our educational landscape. Lisa Griffin explores the challenges and priorities this brings for MATs. As the DfE released its first white paper since 2010, Educational excellence everywhere , Nicky Morgan announced ‘This...
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Lisa Griffin

The sacrifice syndrome of headteachers

The shortage of headteachers is well documented and effectively supporting them an ongoing concern. We talk to author and director of Integrity Coaching Viv Grant about the ‘sacrifice syndrome’ of heads and overcoming it to be a visionary school leader. Watch Viv Grant's webinar on stress reduction...
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Lisa Griffin

What makes a multi-academy trust successful?

The first Ofsted inspections of multi-academy trusts received mixed results. Optimus content lead Lisa Griffin outlines what is expected of MAT leaders and the challenges they are facing. With the number of multi-academy trusts (MATs) increasing (there are now over 500 MATs consisting of two or...
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Lisa Griffin

Marketing your school

School marketing is a vital part of raising your profile but how can you do it effectively? Use our tips, resources and advice to implement a marketing strategy. Effective school marketing and PR can make a huge difference to pupils, whether through improved communication or by making sure that...
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Lisa Griffin

23 top tips for new headteachers

Taking on the role of headship? Get prepared for the new challenges and responsibilities with advice and top tips from our experts and practitioners. Managing change 1. Dealing with change in the school system is a constant and complex task for leaders. People will expect changes and it’s a good...
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Lisa Griffin

Ofsted and British values

With increased importance of British values in the new framework, we look at what these really mean for schools and how to evidence for Ofsted. As of November 2014, schools have had to promote British values (BV), so no doubt we’re all very familiar with them. The advice from the DfE is to do this...
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Lisa Griffin

Youngest headteacher in the UK is outstanding

How did the youngest headteacher in the UK, Siobhan Easton, achieve outstanding in her school’s first Ofsted inspection? Lisa Griffin, content lead for Leadership and Governance, interviews her to find out. Siobhan Easton, aged 27, heateacher at Marine Academy Plymouth (MAP) Primary School is the...
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Lisa Griffin

A whole-school approach to building parental partnerships

Engaging parents can drive pupil progress, but what can schools do to overcome communication barriers? It is well known that parental engagement impacts a child’s education, not just academically but emotionally and in terms of confidence too – their all-round development. The challenge for schools...
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Lisa Griffin

Get ready for the new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework 2015

Following the ‘Better inspection for all’ consultation, and the announcement from Sir Michael Wilshaw today about the changes, the new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework 2015 comes into force in September. In our upcoming webinar, education writer and consultant John Viner will detail the changes...
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Lisa Griffin

The need for a ‘thinking’ governing body

Lisa Griffin reports back from the Optimus ‘Developing Skilled and Strategic Governing Bodies’ conference. The first task of the day for those attending the conference was to answer a question posed by chair for the day Dr Jamie Clarke, an executive headteacher and National Leader of Education. He...
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Lisa Griffin

Coaching for CPD and school improvement

Coaching is a vital part of developing staff and driving whole-school improvement. We spoke to schools to find out the approaches they take to coaching. What does coaching look like in your school? Have you thought about the role coaching plays in your long term strategy to harness staff...
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Lisa Griffin

What’s the priority: inspecting improvement or improving inspection?

‘Inspection vs improvement isn’t a choice to make, they go hand in hand’ said Sean Harford , one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and Ofsted’s national director for schools at the ATL’s accountability debate . Lisa Griffin highlights the key findings. This kicked off a lively and engaging discussion...
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