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

Nicky Thompson

Attracting and retaining career changers

Career changers can bring a wealth of skills and experience to the teaching profession. Nicky Thompson explains how schools can support and encourage new teachers from another sector. Seven years ago I swapped the boardroom for the classroom when I retrained to be a technology teacher in a...
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Catherine O'Farrell

Power in collaboration: Four tips for high-impact LSAs

Learning support assistants (LSAs) provide valuable support to pupils with complex needs but their continuing professional development (CPD) is often overlooked. Catherine O’Farrell explains how teachers and other professionals can work with them to develop the skills they need. One of the most...
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Adele Bates

How do you deal with behaviour?

Been told you shouldn’t smile until Christmas? Adele Bates explores how you can work out how to do behaviour your own way. When talking about behaviour there is often an underlining assumption that there is one way that really works. It’s the booming voice of discipline creating compliance, where...
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Aldaine Wynter

Setting up an anti-racist book and film club

Aldaine Wynter explains how book and film clubs form an essential strand of staff professional development around anti-racism in his school. In my previous blog, Developing anti-racism strategy for schools and preparing for a cultural shift , I explored the impact that anti-racism strategies have...
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Elizabeth Holmes

After Covid-19 – is there a catch in catching up?

Elizabeth Holmes explores debates around catching up, funding, and the potential for education recovery. One thing that we can (probably) all agree on is that the picture of teaching and learning throughout the pandemic has been mixed at best. While some schools were able to switch between school...
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Kirsty Ruthven

School uniform: The gender debate

Kirsty Ruthven, Head of Education at the charity Lifting Limits, casts an eye over the school uniform debate through a gender-equality lens. We need school uniform to show our identity as a school. It’s important that we all feel part of a group (Year 5 pupil). I think we should wear our own...
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Luke Ramsden

What do DSLs need to be prepared for?

What challenges does the upcoming academic year hold for safeguarding leads? Luke Ramsden shares his reflections on the impact of KCSIE, Everyone’s Invited and Covid-19. With teachers around the country reaching their well-deserved summer breaks (ignoring for the moment the inevitable fallout of...
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Adele Bates

Checking in, self-direction and learning cycles: an alternative to school?

If you could design your dream school, what would it look like? Adele Bates finds out how Kate McAllister is making her dream a reality at The Hive School. When Optimus’ Liz suggested that I interview someone for the blog, I knew who my first choice was: Kate McAllister ( @Rethinking_Kate ) and her...
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Ian Holmes

Moving from health vs education to health and education

Ian Holmes and Bryn Llewellyn, co-directors of Move & Learn, explain the research and reality behind physically active learning and why it is especially important right now. There is plenty of evidence of the negative impact of COVID lockdowns on our children and their development. The problem...
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Aldaine Wynter

Developing an anti-racism strategy and preparing for a cultural shift

Aldaine Wynter describes the next part of his school’s anti-racism journey: creating a more relevant, inclusive curriculum, and promoting student ownership. My last blog, Beginning the conversation around race, diversity and inclusion with staff , shared my school's journey as we sought to...
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