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

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,...
Read more...
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’...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Nicola Harvey

Digital mental health platforms for young people: an innovative way forward?

The pandemic is just one factor driving the increased use of online mental health platforms. Nicola Harvey weighs up the opportunities and challenges this innovation presents. At a time when everyone is adjusting to the tier system and vaccines are on the way, children and young people are...
Read more...
Fiona Carnie

Caring for vulnerable children: put listening at the heart of schools

Fiona Carnie draws on examples from practice at home and abroad to explore the vital role of listening in pandemic recovery, for children, families and staff. Many children – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – are suffering deeply through this pandemic. Increasing numbers live in...
Read more...
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...
Read more...
Elizabeth Holmes

Improving inclusion for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils are statistically the most vulnerable of any identified group of pupils in the UK. Why is this, and what can be done in schools to challenge biases and change mindsets? Damian Le Bas’ book The Stopping Places: A journey through Gypsy Britain , which combines memoir...
Read more...
Adele Bates

Beyond the big binary behaviour debate

We spend a lot of time talking about and dealing with pupil behaviour but are we always fair and equal? Do we recognise our own bias? Adele Bates explores how best to support our pupils. There are binary debates around everywhere. Traditional vs. Progressive Discipline vs. Liberal Zero tolerance vs...
Read more...