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

SENCology

Gareth D Morewood

University beckons: continuing the journey to independence

Ellen shares lessons learned around applying for university as an autistic adult, including the importance of deadlines and DSAs. In Ellen’s last post on becoming an autistic adult she shared her aspirations to attend university and how she was preparing for that on a personal level. Now Ellen...
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Gareth D Morewood

Why constant consistency matters: emotional regulation as a foundation for learning

Gareth D Morewood reflects on the importance of a joined-up approach when it comes to reducing stress and enabling learning to take place. I have written previously about stress and emotional regulation in the context of learning and the value of listening to the voices of young people . However,...
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Debby Elley

Beyond the tick list: the ice cream sundae approach to explaining autism

Words don't come easy... Debby Elley examines the need for a more explicit, balanced and environmental approach to talking about autism. As well as being the co-editor of AuKids magazine, I’m mum to twin autistic boys. One of them, Bobby , is verbal and has just left mainstream school. When Bobby...
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Gareth D Morewood

Low Arousal experiences during lockdown: learning from a family perspective

Gareth D Morewood seeks first-hand experiences from families and draws out five positive lessons to take forward in practice. The recent months have been extremely challenging for everyone across the globe. The word unprecedented is often used, but rarely warranted. I think it is justified with...
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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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Gareth D Morewood

Autism and inclusion in a mainstream secondary school

Gareth D Morewood reflects on how his previous school has successfully created an inclusive environment for their pupils with autism. During my last year as SENCO, my school was fortunate to be part of the Autism Education Trust (AET) good practice case studies . The case studies highlight eight...
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Joanna Grace

'Tis a sensory season!

Christmas can be an exciting but overwhelming time, particularly for young people with SEND. Joanna Grace shares strategies to help children cope with and enjoy the festive period. Stepping out the door in the early morning last week, I turned to my little boy and said, “I think I can smell...
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Gareth D Morewood

Prioritising wellbeing: putting yourself first

With work-related stress on the rise, school staff need to be thinking about putting themselves first. Gareth D Morewood looks at ways of supporting stress to directly improve wellbeing. The recently published Teacher Wellbeing Index highlights disproportionately high levels of stress amongst...
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Elizabeth Holmes

The SEND inquiry: getting it right for children, families and schools

It's been five years since the last biggest education reforms for young people with SEND were introduced, but how successful have these reforms been? Elizabeth Holmes looks at some of the findings and responses to the SEND inquiry report. In April 2018, the Education Committee launched their SEND...
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Liz Murray

Flexible working in action: planning and communication

In the first of a blog series, Liz Murray shares her experience of setting up a new job share. As teacher, SENCO, and educational consultant, I haven’t shied away from publicly advocating the importance of embracing flexible working across all sectors. I recently wrote about my zig zag career path...
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