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

Mental health and wellbeing

John Viner

Staff wellbeing: the case for change

Teacher mental health has been a concern for over a decade, so why has so little been done to tackle the issue? John Viner shares the research around teacher stress, and why urgent action is needed. Damian Hinds has recognised that if we are to retain teachers, something has to be done to address...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Why wellbeing in education matters to me

With a growing mental health crisis in our school, Kelly Hannaghan shares her views on why schools need wellbeing leaders. My first memory of starting primary school is scarred by the immense feeling of fear that overcame me. I clearly remember looking through the glass on the classroom door and...
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Dr Helen O'Connor

Introducing 'positive education' into the curriculum

Embedding wellbeing in the curriculum is more important than ever. Dr Helen O'Connor shares how 'positive education' has been introduced in her school, and how it can be adapted to suit different environments. It's easy to predict what parents want most for their children. They want them to be...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Teaching hungry children: the impact of food insecurity

With 4.5 million children in the UK living in poverty, many are going to school hungry. What impact does this have on our pupils, and what foods do schools need to be providing to support their learning? In November 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme povery and human rights visited the UK...
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Gareth D Morewood

Why understanding our own stress matters

Everyone experiences stress, but why does it matter? Gareth D Morewood shares how we can understand our own stress, and what we can do to manage it. In light of the current teacher retention and recruitment crisis, this morning the DfE announced their latest plans to set up an advisory group on...
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Charlie Roden

Creative interventions to enhance student wellbeing

How can tortoises and pinwheels help your students? Charlie Roden shares two examples of creative interventions to enhance your students' wellbeing. Jake and Doodles stay with a member of staff during half terms and holidays Having worked as a TA in a secondary school, one of my main...
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Joanna Grace

Recognising mental health in students with learning disabilities

In a population as vulnerable as our students with profound learning disabilities, recognising their mental health can be a game changer. Joanna Grace shares two stories to show the importance of such recognition. We all know that being mentally healthy is just as important for living a good life...
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John Viner

DfE recognises the importance of mental health in schools

The DfE is now recognising the link between mental health and behaviour in schools. John Viner looks at how useful their recent reports are. The Department for Education (DfE) has recently published two informative and helpful papers. The first, released in October, is Mental health and wellbeing...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Creating a school garden

How can a school garden contribute to a child’s development? Elizabeth Holmes finds out why the school garden at Castle Carrock is so important. Whether you’re green fingered or not, the benefits of gardening are well rehearsed. According to research there are ‘substantial human health benefits’ to...
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Lisa Griffin

‘Wellbeing at the heart of our school’

We visited Lessness Heath Primary School to congratulate them on their wellbeing provision and present them with the Wellbeing Award for Schools. Sunshine and blue skies set the scene for a day of celebration at Lessness Heath Primary School . The school is the first to achieve the Wellbeing Award...
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