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

Leading teaching and learning

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

Homework: how beneficial is it?

How effective is homework in improving pupil attainment? According to research, less is more. Homework – love it or hate it, one thing is indisputable: it's one of the hottest topics amongst parents across the country. Browse any corners of social media where parents hang out and you will see...
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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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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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Dr Helen O'Connor

Introducing 'positive education' into the curriculum

Embedding wellbeing in the curriculum is more important than ever. Dr Helen O'Connor shares how 'positive education' has been introduced in her school, and how it can be adapted to suit different environments. It's easy to predict what parents want most for their children. They want them to be...
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John Dabell

Why we need interprofessional collaboration

Schools could learn so much from external professionals if they collaborated more. John Dabell looks at values we can take from other professions, and why they should be implemented in education. It’s often said that teaching is the profession on which all other professions depend. Perhaps, but how...
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Torsten Payne

Is your curriculum Ofsted ready?

Curriculum is under the spotlight for the Ofsted 2019 framework. What do you need to know about what they'll be looking for? ‘One of the areas that I think we sometimes lose sight of is the real substance of education. Not the exam grades or the progress scores, important though they are, but...
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Diane Leedham

Ethical assessment and tracking for EAL learners

Diane Leedham argues why data should be the servant and not the master when it comes to championing the needs of EAL learners. After months of uncertainty and behind the scenes speculation about the position for EAL and BAME learners in the 2018/19 school census return, the DfE finally released the...
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Simon Scarborough

5 ways to make inclusive PE work

Adapting the curriculum is only the start in making PE more inclusive. Simon Scarborough offers a few tips. One of the greatest barriers I have faced when promoting inclusive PE practice is the misconception held by some, that making PE more inclusive somehow makes it impossible to stretch and...
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