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

School performance and accountability

Mark Upton

School funding, standards and the abolition of private schools: the general election story so far

With manifestos published and polling day getting closer for the 2019 election, Mark Upton identifies the likely flashpoints in education and ambiguities within party policies. School funding, or the lack of it, was identified as a liability for the Conservatives at the 2017 general election. A...
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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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Optimus Education

The long and winding road to a very special Ofsted: a view from the chalkface

A secret teacher describes their school’s journey from ‘outstanding’ to ‘special measures’ – and why the last judgement is everything the staff hoped for. Being placed in special measures by Ofsted can conjure up a whole host of emotions: frustration, anger, despair, fear and embarrassment to name...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Deep dives: what do they mean for schools?

Ofsted are now assessing a school's quality of education by carrying out 'deep dives' into subject areas. Elizabeth Holmes looks at what this means for schools, and what to expect during an inspection. Mention the 'deep dive' in certain education circles and there is likely to be a sharp intake of...
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Tiffany Beck

Multi-academy trust governance: your questions answered

Governance was a hot topic at our annual MATs Summit. Tiffany Beck, chair of trustees at Maritime Academy Trust, answers some popular questions from the event. 1. We have a shortage of governors and trustees and require more skilled professionals. Can you share any tips on recruitment? Ask your...
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Lisa Griffin

What is the ePrivacy Regulation?

Thought you’d heard the last of changes to data compliance? Get ready for the new ePrivacy Regulation. The EU have proposed that the current ePrivacy Directive be replaced by the ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) and sit alongside the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May...
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John Viner

We need to talk about Ofsted

New proposals from Ofsted have prompted a shift in the rhetoric around inspection. John Viner summarises the changing times. With the departure of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted moved into a new phase under the leadership of Amanda Spielman. Out went the old-...
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John Viner

Pupil premium: is it making a difference?

While pupil premium funding was introduced with the good intention of helping schools narrow the attainment gap, its future looks increasingly uncertain. In April 2011, the coalition government introduced the pupil premium and the service premium. This injected an additional £625 million of funding...
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Diane Leedham

Ethical assessment and tracking for EAL learners

Diane Leedham argues why data should be the servant and not the master when it comes to championing the needs of EAL learners. After months of uncertainty and behind the scenes speculation about the position for EAL and BAME learners in the 2018/19 school census return, the DfE finally released the...
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John Viner

When is outstanding not good enough?

Recent reports have brought renewed criticism of Ofsted’s delay in inspecting 'outstanding' schools. John Viner summarises what has changed – and what hasn’t. It has taken rather longer to surface than might be expected, but you must have noticed the frequency with which the education press is...
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