The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Nicola Harvey

Strategies to support anxiety

Nicola Harvey shares four practical strategies to use in supporting children or young people who are experiencing anxiety. Anxiety is a normal emotion and we all experience it from time to time. It only becomes a problem when anxiety persistently gets in the way of a child or young person living...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Supervision for mental health leads: why and how?

Kelly Hannaghan makes the case for pastoral staff supervision for mental health and wellbeing leads, as a means to process the increasing pressures they are carrying. It’s perplexing that wellbeing practitioners such as psychologists and social workers have regular supervision that is mandatory,...
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Adele Bates

Pandemic permissions: let’s keep talking about mental health and wellbeing

‘Actually, I’m not that great.’ What would change if we put conversations about mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of our work in schools? Around Christmas I got a text from someone I vaguely know: ‘sorry, I’m not able to work on that right now, I’m having trouble with my mental health’...
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Nicola Harvey

Understanding anxiety in children and young people

Anxiety is a normal feeling and can help protect us from danger. But when and why does it become a problem? Nicola Harvey explores some common forms of anxiety. The pandemic has impacted everyone. The new norm means unexpected school closures, social distancing in public spaces, children being away...
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Luke Ramsden

Thoughts for safeguarding leads on returning from lockdown

Safeguarding lead Luke Ramsden reflects on experiences of the return to full schooling and implications for the summer term and new academic year. School staff around the country were delighted when we realised that we could all return in person for the last three or four weeks of term. Now that we...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

How should controversial issues be handled in the classroom?

In the second of his two-part series , Karamat Iqbal looks at how to teach pupils about controversial issues and instil confidence in staff. Read part one, What is controversial in the classroom? Teaching of some curricula and the resources and methodologies used are left to the schools’ and...
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Adele Bates

Pause and prioritise the basics: lockdown, pandemic and resilience

Adele Bates talks to resilience writer David Gumbrell about the importance of connection, space, reassurance and getting outdoors. David Gumbrell is an author and speaker on resilience and wellbeing. A teacher for over 20 years, he worked his way up from NQT to headteacher, holding various...
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Andrew Hammond

Critical reflection at the heart of CPD

Guest blogger Andrew Hammond explains why personal development, motivation and empowerment need to be at the centre of any CPD programme. The craft of teaching requires heart and mind, body and soul. CPD is often targeted at boosting our professional skills without considering the deep-down-things...
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Luke Ramsden

A day in the life of a safeguarding lead in lockdown

Luke Ramsden reflects on the 'new normal' of life as a safeguarding lead during lockdown and beyond. At a time when the media has generally described schools as ‘closed’, teachers have in fact been busier than ever, trying to adapt well-practised lesson plans and schemes of work to a world of...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Helping young people make sense of events

Elizabeth Holmes investigates the challenges young people may face in coming to terms with world events and the impact on their lives, and what can be done to help. Amidst the seemingly interminable news of viruses, strains, mutations, vaccinations, economic shocks and industries and sectors left...
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