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

Charlie Roden

Promoting positive body image in boys

Charlie Roden looks at how negative body image is becoming increasingly common in boys and young men, and what schools can do to help. In the last eight years, the number of men with an eating disorder has risen by 70% – the same rate of increase as women. In the last seven years, the amount of...
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Paul Gooding

10 simple steps to enhancing whole school wellbeing

Want to improve your school's mental health but don't know where to start? Follow these 10 simple steps to support the positive wellbeing of both students and staff. Promoting positive wellbeing is central to education. After all, wellbeing is the canvas upon which students learn – it is the...
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John Dabell

What's the point in breaktimes?

John Dabell looks at the emotional and physical benefits of breaktimes, and how teachers can supervise pupils without interfering. Most children look forward to playtime – they can’t wait to get outside for a break. It’s their time and they have a fair degree of ownership over it. It’s a part of...
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Charlie Roden

Quiz: how sexist is your school?

Does your school have a whole-school approach to challenging gender stereotypes? Take our quiz to find out. Gender inequality permeates many areas of British society, and schools are no exception to this. A particular issue in schools is the gender imbalance in subjects such as science, technology...
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Charlie Roden

Ensuring successful transition from primary to secondary

Charlie Roden looks at ways in which schools can prepare and support their pupils through relationship building and becoming familiar with the new school layout. The first few weeks of secondary school are crucial. A lack of support and poor preparation throughout transition can have negative...
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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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Kelly Hannaghan

Why wellbeing in education matters to me

With a growing mental health crisis in our school, Kelly Hannaghan shares her views on why schools need wellbeing leaders. My first memory of starting primary school is scarred by the immense feeling of fear that overcame me. I clearly remember looking through the glass on the classroom door and...
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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 Viner

Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best: what impact could Brexit have on schools?

No one knows what a disorderly Brexit could mean for education, but we need to be prepared. How should schools respond to the potential disruption which may follow? The local authority officer looked across the room. “We are,” he said, “preparing for the worst, but rather hoping it won’t be as bad...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Teaching hungry children: the impact of food insecurity

With 4.5 million children in the UK living in poverty, many are going to school hungry. What impact does this have on our pupils, and what foods do schools need to be providing to support their learning? In November 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme povery and human rights visited the UK...
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