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

Leadership and staff development

John Dabell

Swiss cheese leadership

What does it mean to think like Swiss cheese? John Dabell discusses how the Swiss cheese model can be used within schools to help eliminate error and risk. Leaders must be brutally honest with themselves and acknowledge what they know, what they don't know and what they partly know. This involves...
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Amy Marsh

The importance of identity and self-awareness

How well do you know yourself? Amy Marsh examines how to better understand ourselves, our relationship with others, and why it matters. Think back to a time when you got some feedback that triggered you. What was it that made your reaction so extreme? In the book Difficult Conversations , the...
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John Dabell

17 myths about school leadership

You can’t be nice, don’t have enough time and must shout loudest; John Dabell discusses common misconceptions about being a school leader. School leadership has an image problem. There aren't many that want the job and the pipeline is running dry. The image that many of us hold about leadership is...
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Olivia Coombe

The 2022 Optimus blog quiz

With 2022 coming to an end, what better way to recap our year than with a blog quiz, covering many topics discussed this year by great authors. Hints are available for those who may need them, and answers are at the bottom of the page. Q1. Which A level subject was most popular with students,...
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Candice West

Overcoming three barriers to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion

Finding ways to defeat EDI obstacles can be challenging. Candice West offers tips to locate where unconscious bias, privilege and lack of representation may cause problems. Go straight to Unconscious bias Lack of representation Privilege Educators are passionate about teaching and want young people...
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Mel Greenwood

We are what we see in others: modelling in the classroom

Modelling is the only buzzword we should be uttering, says Mel Greenwood. She explains five ways to model your mindset to best impact your students. We should never belittle our ability as an educator. Everything we do and say is being watched and scrutinised by our children and young people and it...
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Angela Milliken-Tull

Seven ways to lead and develop a PSHE curriculum

How can you give PSHE and personal development a platform in your setting? Angela Milliken-Tull provides seven tips to develop your PSHE programme and overcome negative stereotypes. Look on any social media platform, and you will see countless apps and gurus extolling the benefits of a dazzling...
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John Dabell

Wishing you well: 20 ways to keep being well

The intensity of school life can take its toll unless you have a self-care and wellbeing plan in place. John Dabell shares 20 ways to keep being well. The whacky workloads of a teaching term can really knock your mojo for six if you neglect your wellbeing, which is why it is crucial to keep mind,...
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John Dabell

Don’t do your best!

Sometimes a job only has to be done well enough. John Dabell argues that teaching is one such job and explains why it's better not to give 100% all the time. If you are ‘trying your best’ all the time it’s a one-way ticket to the GP with burn out. Perfection, or chasing perfection, is a huge time-...
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Aldaine Wynter

Representation in teaching

‘You can’t be what you can’t see’. Aldaine Wynter discusses why representation in the classroom is an important way to role model for students. In my previous piece I spoke of the importance of representation in education at every level. So far, we have explored representation at school leadership...
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