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

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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Liz Murray

Developing an effective SEND register

A comprehensive SEND register supports every aspect of the SENCO role and prevents children from slipping through the net. Liz Murray explains how to put together a SEND register tailored to suit your school. Every year it seems to be more challenging to be prepared for our students with SEND. My...
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Gareth D Morewood

Becoming an adult [with autism]

Preparing for the independence of university life is a big change for most teenagers. What's it like to make the transition into adulthood as an autistic woman? Our blogger shares potential challenges and her solutions. Ellen (not her real name) last wrote for us in a powerful blog about her...
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Gareth D Morewood

International perspectives and broadening horizons

Gareth D Morewood reflects on his latest international conferences, sharing lessons from the inspirational contacts he has made during the last few weeks. I have been very fortunate over the last few years, not only to gain some amazing insights and experiences in UK schools and settings but also...
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Freddie Roberts

Researching for Optimus' SEND Update conference

Our annual SEND Update conference takes place on 23 May. Conference Producer Freddie Roberts shares what he discovered through his research calls, and what you can expect on the day. Going into researching my first SEND conference for Optimus, I was unsure about what to expect in terms of agenda...
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Gareth D Morewood

Autism and peer relationships

What can research tell us about peer relations among autistic learners, and what can we do in our schools to support? I often talk about the peer group being one of the most untapped resources in our schools. Indeed, previously we have heard first-hand from young people about their real, lived...
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