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

Gareth D Morewood

Listening to the voices of young people: understanding stress

Gareth D Morewood reminds us of the importance of having simple strategies to manage stress and create a low arousal culture in schools. Towards the end of the last year I was fortunate to deliver some workshops on stress and wellbeing to two groups of young people organised by the charity...
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Ann-Marie McNicholas

Too stressed for exam success?

Preparing for exams can be overwhelming for neurodiverse learners, impacting their mental health. Ann-Marie McNicholas explores strategies to develop their self-belief, improve learning and relieve exam nerves. There’s no doubt about it: exams can be stressful for many learners. The NSPCC reports...
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John Viner

Home education: where do schools and parents stand?

Parents have a right to choose to educate their child at home and may do so for several reasons. With little regulation and lack of clear guidance, John Viner explores the role schools, local authorities and parents play. As a headteacher it always troubled me that parents can withdraw a child from...
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John Viner

Knife crime: what can schools do?

For some children knife crime has become normalised. John Viner looks at the role schools can play in educating pupils about knife carrying and keeping them safe. We seem to have reached a point where knife crime is just another weekly occurrence, when the news reports another stabbing and we...
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Rachel Wright

Why 100% attendance awards are toxic to school environments

Going to school or work is important, but not as important as mental wellbeing and health. Rachel Wright argues why schools need to stop giving out attendance awards. ‘Four reasons my son won’t be collecting his 100% attendance award’ became a social media viral phenomenon in 2017. As a blogger and...
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Optimus Education

Wellbeing Award for Schools: the impact so far

Over 1,000 schools are taking part in the Optimus Wellbeing Award for Schools, but what impact has this actually had on the wellbeing of pupils, staff and families? In 2016, Optimus commissioned research into a series of new awards, including the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) . We found that...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Building wellbeing connections across the globe

An opportunity to meet with fellow wellbeing leaders from Zhejiang deepens cultural understanding and confirms the importance of mental health education for children and young people everywhere. Earlier this term I wrote about the power of networking . My wellbeing work has brought me into contact...
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Kelly Hannaghan

How deprivation affects outcomes in education – and what we can do about it

Like many school leaders, Kelly Hannaghan is seeing first-hand the effects of poverty on her school community. What can schools do to empower families and ensure children achieve their academic potential? The Child Poverty Act 2010 set targets for ending child poverty by 2020. However, child...
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Sarah Soyei

Getting equality and diversity right in schools

A whole school approach to equality can increase attainment, improve behaviour and ensure that everyone feels safe and able to succeed. Sarah Soyei outlines four ways to make your school more inclusive. Senior leaders and teachers are under increasing pressure, with numerous demands on people’s...
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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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