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

Mike Williams

Protecting children from sexual exploitation: eight key messages for school staff

Mike Williams outlines findings from the NSPCC child sexual exploitation programme, Protect & Respect. Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse where an exchange of resource takes place for sexual activity with a child. In 2014 the NSPCC launched its child sexual exploitation...
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John Viner

Supporting teacher mental health: strategies for senior leaders

How can senior leaders support their colleagues' mental health? John Viner shares four strategies to promote positive wellbeing amongst staff. As discussed in my previous blog post , wellbeing in schools is coming under increased scrutiny. Unfortunately, too often school leaders are so busy...
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John Dabell

What's the point in breaktimes?

John Dabell looks at the emotional and physical benefits of breaktimes, and how teachers can supervise pupils without interfering. Most children look forward to playtime – they can’t wait to get outside for a break. It’s their time and they have a fair degree of ownership over it. It’s a part of...
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Charlie Roden

Quiz: how sexist is your school?

Does your school have a whole-school approach to challenging gender stereotypes? Take our quiz to find out. Gender inequality permeates many areas of British society, and schools are no exception to this. A particular issue in schools is the gender imbalance in subjects such as science, technology...
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Charlie Roden

Ensuring successful transition from primary to secondary

Charlie Roden looks at ways in which schools can prepare and support their pupils through relationship building and becoming familiar with the new school layout. The first few weeks of secondary school are crucial. A lack of support and poor preparation throughout transition can have negative...
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John Dabell

How to help children who say they are 'stuck'

Teachers are sometimes far too quick to respond to requests for help. How do children benefit from being 'stuck' and how can we encourage them to find a solution independently? When some children encounter a problem, difficulty, or challenge, they stop. Sometimes stopping and pausing for a moment...
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Will Millard

Boyz II Men: how worried should we be about boys' educational outcomes?

How much does gender impact pupil performance? According to Will Millard, other characteristics exert a far more powerful influence over academic outcomes. The media is full of stories about boys’ relative underperformance at school in comparison to girls. This seems warranted. Boys don’t do as...
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John Viner

Staff wellbeing: the case for change

Teacher mental health has been a concern for over a decade, so why has so little been done to tackle the issue? John Viner shares the research around teacher stress, and why urgent action is needed. Damian Hinds has recognised that if we are to retain teachers, something has to be done to address...
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Emily Colyer

Boys' underachievement: rethinking masculinity in schools

Why are boys falling behind in school? Emily Colyer interviews Matt Pinkett about boys' underperformance in his new book Boys Don’t Try? Rethinking Masculinity in Schools. What prompted you to write a book about boys’ underachievement in education? Ever since I started teaching, the debate about...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Why wellbeing in education matters to me

With a growing mental health crisis in our school, Kelly Hannaghan shares her views on why schools need wellbeing leaders. My first memory of starting primary school is scarred by the immense feeling of fear that overcame me. I clearly remember looking through the glass on the classroom door and...
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