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

Pupil safety and pastoral care

Liz Worthen

What can we do about sexual harassment in schools?

Liz Worthen shares her key takeaways from the Delivering Statutory RSE conference and signposts useful resources. Not surprisingly, one of the main topics for discussion on the part of both speakers and delegates at the Delivering Statutory RSE conference was sexual harassment. Of course, child-on-...
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Adele Bates

How do you deal with behaviour?

Been told you shouldn’t smile until Christmas? Adele Bates explores how you can work out how to do behaviour your own way. When talking about behaviour there is often an underlining assumption that there is one way that really works. It’s the booming voice of discipline creating compliance, where...
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Kirsty Ruthven

School uniform: The gender debate

Kirsty Ruthven, Head of Education at the charity Lifting Limits, casts an eye over the school uniform debate through a gender-equality lens. We need school uniform to show our identity as a school. It’s important that we all feel part of a group (Year 5 pupil). I think we should wear our own...
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Adele Bates

How are we all behaving?

Are you seeing unusual behaviour patterns emerging post lockdown? Adele Bates reflects on what she and other practitioners are witnessing, possible causes and solutions. I’ve started and re-written this blog post a couple of times because it seems that every time I think I have found a pattern in...
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Nicola Harvey

Strategies to support anxiety

Nicola Harvey shares four practical strategies to use in supporting children or young people who are experiencing anxiety. Anxiety is a normal emotion and we all experience it from time to time. It only becomes a problem when anxiety persistently gets in the way of a child or young person living...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Supervision for mental health leads: why and how?

Kelly Hannaghan makes the case for pastoral staff supervision for mental health and wellbeing leads, as a means to process the increasing pressures they are carrying. It’s perplexing that wellbeing practitioners such as psychologists and social workers have regular supervision that is mandatory,...
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Adele Bates

Pandemic permissions: let’s keep talking about mental health and wellbeing

‘Actually, I’m not that great.’ What would change if we put conversations about mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of our work in schools? Around Christmas I got a text from someone I vaguely know: ‘sorry, I’m not able to work on that right now, I’m having trouble with my mental health’...
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Nicola Harvey

Understanding anxiety in children and young people

Anxiety is a normal feeling and can help protect us from danger. But when and why does it become a problem? Nicola Harvey explores some common forms of anxiety. The pandemic has impacted everyone. The new norm means unexpected school closures, social distancing in public spaces, children being away...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Helping young people make sense of events

Elizabeth Holmes investigates the challenges young people may face in coming to terms with world events and the impact on their lives, and what can be done to help. Amidst the seemingly interminable news of viruses, strains, mutations, vaccinations, economic shocks and industries and sectors left...
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Adele Bates

'Why can't they just behave?'

Answer: because there is something in that negative behaviour that is communicating an unmet need – and It’s our jobs as educators to find out what that is. We’re all human, and will all ponder variations of this question from time to time. ‘Why now?’ ‘It’s not that hard to just sit down.’ ‘It must...
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