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

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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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...
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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...
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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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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...
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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...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Reassuring children in an uncertain world

What can we do in schools to help children manage anxieties that may arise with the autumn return to 'normal' schooling? Elizabeth Holmes suggests practical ways to cope. For some children who are facing the full return to school following a prolonged period at home as a result of SARS-CoV-2,...
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Elizabeth Holmes

What did we learn from the home learning experience?

For some children and families, home learning was a positive experience. What lessons can schools learn as a result? Elizabeth Holmes poses some searching questions. The changes to our lives ushered in by SARS-CoV-2 in the early months of 2020 have been far-reaching. The new normal we had to settle...
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Liz Worthen

Reconnection, co-construction and courage: how we create a safe space for learning

How do we create a sense of safety in schools? Sharon Gray OBE on the importance of vulnerability, trust, collaboration and community re-building. Sharon Gray OBE is a Pride of Britain award winner, a national leader of education and a consultant who puts emotional health and wellbeing at the heart...
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