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

Charlie Roden

From special measures to outstanding: the power of an arts-based curriculum

When Naveed Idrees became headteacher at Feversham Primary Academy, pupils were disengaged and staff morale was low. Naveed explains how an arts-based curriculum has transformed his school. What state was your school in when you first became appointed as headteacher? When I became headteacher in...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Deep dives: what do they mean for schools?

Ofsted are now assessing a school's quality of education by carrying out 'deep dives' into subject areas. Elizabeth Holmes looks at what this means for schools, and what to expect during an inspection. Mention the 'deep dive' in certain education circles and there is likely to be a sharp intake of...
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John Dabell

How can governors help the wellbeing of school leaders?

John Dabell explores how support and challenge from governors can improve headteacher wellbeing and make the life of a leader easier. Headteachers and governors don’t have to get on like a house on fire, but it certainly helps if they have a professional and productive working relationship that is...
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Elizabeth Holmes

An inclusive approach to menopause

Support for female teachers experiencing menopause symptoms is key to their wellbeing and retention. Elizabeth Holmes looks at what genuine provision can be put in place to help staff at this stage of their lives and careers. Menopause, the end of a woman’s menstrual periods, can be a challenging...
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Kelly Hannaghan

The power of networking: what are the benefits for leaders in education?

School leaders around the country are trying to juggle the demands of their role alongside finding opportunities to protect their self-care and promote pupil outcomes. Could networking be the key to success? Kelly Hannaghan shares her experiences. It’s one of the biggest buzzwords in education:...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Why self-care is vital for wellbeing leaders

The role of the wellbeing leader in cultivating a healthy environment and organisation is increasingly important. But what challenges do these leaders face in protecting their own wellbeing? Think about all the challenges schools are facing: troubled pupils, Ofsted inspections, attainment concerns...
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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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Ashmi Morjaria

Women in leadership – change the stats!

Two-thirds of women experience 'imposter syndrome' in the workplace. How can we combat this voice in our head, and how can we encourage and support the progress of other women? I recently attended an inspiring course led by Carol Jones (Director of Leading Women Education ) at my school. The aim of...
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John Viner

Damian Hinds' plans for teacher retention

One of the biggest threats to recruitment and retention in schools is teacher workload. John Viner looks at how education secretary Damian Hinds plans to tackle this problem. I have written before on the problems of teacher recruitment , but the situation is compounded by the rate in which teachers...
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Julia Watson

7 ways to succeed as a school leader

Looking to refresh or improve your leadership skills this term? Julia Watson explains how you can raise the bar. The amount expected of a school leader has never been greater, with inordinate demands on time and resources distracting from the essence of the role. So how can you get off to a flying...
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