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

Olivia Dickinson

Like a girl: Gender stereotypes in education

What is the impact of gender stereotypes on the behaviours and beliefs of pupils and staff? Olivia Dickinson investigates. In your school or early years setting, what do you see that suggests how pupils and staff devalue things that are coded feminine? It is often deemed desirable for girls to like...
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Jean Gross

Self-efficacy: simple strategies to raise attainment

Building pupils’ sense of capability is vital to their long-term success. Jean Gross sets out some low-cost, straightforward ways to encourage self-efficacy in and out of school. I wonder if you use the idea of self-efficacy in your work? You may instead talk about having a sense of agency or an...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

Preparing young people for a multicultural world

Where do you come from? Dr Karamat Iqbal explores what it means to live in a multicultural world and suggests resources to support teaching and further reflection. I have lived in the Midlands for 51 years, having been born in Kashmir. But I am used to being asked: ‘Where do you come from?' Visible...
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Adele Bates

Checking in, self-direction and learning cycles: an alternative to school?

If you could design your dream school, what would it look like? Adele Bates finds out how Kate McAllister is making her dream a reality at The Hive School. When Optimus’ Liz suggested that I interview someone for the blog, I knew who my first choice was: Kate McAllister ( @Rethinking_Kate ) and her...
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Ian Holmes

Moving from health vs education to health and education

Ian Holmes and Bryn Llewellyn, co-directors of Move & Learn, explain the research and reality behind physically active learning and why it is especially important right now. There is plenty of evidence of the negative impact of COVID lockdowns on our children and their development. The problem...
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Aldaine Wynter

Developing an anti-racism strategy and preparing for a cultural shift

Aldaine Wynter describes the next part of his school’s anti-racism journey: creating a more relevant, inclusive curriculum, and promoting student ownership. My last blog, Beginning the conversation around race, diversity and inclusion with staff , shared my school's journey as we sought to...
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Ashmi Morjaria

What you don’t know, you don’t know!

Ashmi Morjaria explores the concept of hinterland knowledge, why it matters and what it means for curriculum design. As a member of the British Indian community and a school leader, I have found the last year more emotionally taxing than any year before. Knowing that I was 2 and half times more...
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Luke Ramsden

Navigating digital media: an essential part of the school curriculum?

Luke Ramsden makes the case for the explicit teaching of media and digital literacy to equip young people for a world of limitless information. If you look at the front page and mission statement of any school around the country you are likely to see that they boast that they are teaching for a ‘...
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Tom Osborne

How do we learn?

Learning is about asking questions, not about being told the answers, argues 16 year old Tom Osborne. Is it time to re-think priorities for schooling? Have a think about this question: how do you think we learn? What is our motivation to learn? Most of you probably think that all our learning comes...
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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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