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

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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Nicola Harvey

How to promote diversity in schools: three strategies for positive change

Do you want to see change in schools and wider society in terms of challenging racist structures? Nicola Harvey shares three areas for action. Many of us are using lockdown to reflect on our personal values and take a meaningful look at the structure of the society we live in. Sparked by the...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Education recovery: bridging the gap of opportunity for staff and pupils post pandemic

Kelly Hannaghan shares her own experiences of the repair and reintegration process that schools are currently facing. Are educators and pupils ready for the changes ahead? Who would have thought that the end of the academic year would feel like this? Pre-coronavirus school life would have looked...
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Joe McGinn

Research call: understanding the impact of Covid-19 disruption on young people

How is the current disruption to schooling going to affect pupils in the future? What will be the impact on wellbeing, social and emotional development? Joe McGinn of ImpactEd shares a research opportunity. The outbreak of Covid-19 is contributing to an unprecedented level of change in our...
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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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