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

Fiona Carnie

Caring for vulnerable children: put listening at the heart of schools

Fiona Carnie draws on examples from practice at home and abroad to explore the vital role of listening in pandemic recovery, for children, families and staff. Many children – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – are suffering deeply through this pandemic. Increasing numbers live in...
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Adele Bates

‘But they’re fine with me’ – why this doesn’t help when managing behaviour

Adele Bates explains why this comment is unsupportive of staff and unhelpful for pupils and suggests some alternative approaches. ‘But they’re fine with me’ is the most useless comment I received in my NQT year. I had a Year 7 class once a fortnight for their ‘library session’ during my PGCE. I...
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Catherine O'Farrell

From fear to opportunity and growth: levering the power of the collective

Catherine O’Farrell explains how a need for Covid-19 solutions has given rise to an international community of practice around inclusion. Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay So, we all know the narrative that has been espoused again and again over the past months. It’s flooding our televisions,...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Improving inclusion for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils are statistically the most vulnerable of any identified group of pupils in the UK. Why is this, and what can be done in schools to challenge biases and change mindsets? Damian Le Bas’ book The Stopping Places: A journey through Gypsy Britain , which combines memoir...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Coping with change and moving forward with hope

Kelly Hannaghan shares her lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic and explores ways to adjust to the new normal in education and life. Photo by Florian Bernhardt on Unsplash As I sit in my local community library reflecting on 2020, it dawns on me that I haven’t really taken the...
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Adele Bates

Beyond the big binary behaviour debate

We spend a lot of time talking about and dealing with pupil behaviour but are we always fair and equal? Do we recognise our own bias? Adele Bates explores how best to support our pupils. There are binary debates around everywhere. Traditional vs. Progressive Discipline vs. Liberal Zero tolerance vs...
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Gareth D Morewood

Applying Low Arousal approaches in education settings

Gareth D Morewood explores how to embed Low Arousal approaches in classrooms, schools and settings, so that all young people can thrive. Previously I wrote about the importance of constant consistency with regard to whole-school approaches. For me this is one of the most important elements of a...
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Gareth D Morewood

University beckons: continuing the journey to independence

Ellen shares lessons learned around applying for university as an autistic adult, including the importance of deadlines and DSAs. In Ellen’s last post on becoming an autistic adult she shared her aspirations to attend university and how she was preparing for that on a personal level. Now Ellen...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Reassuring children in an uncertain world

What can we do in schools to help children manage anxieties that may arise with the autumn return to 'normal' schooling? Elizabeth Holmes suggests practical ways to cope. For some children who are facing the full return to school following a prolonged period at home as a result of SARS-CoV-2,...
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Nicola Harvey

How racism impacts on teacher wellbeing and what we can do about it

The stress and trauma of discrimination takes its toll on mental health. Nicola Harvey explores strategies to build resilience and support wellbeing. Many of us are starting to think about the new school term and the transition to a ‘new normal’. We also have the aftermath of Covid-19, exam results...
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