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

Jean Gross

Self-efficacy: simple strategies to raise attainment

Building pupils’ sense of capability is vital to their long-term success. Jean Gross sets out some low-cost, straightforward ways to encourage self-efficacy in and out of school. I wonder if you use the idea of self-efficacy in your work? You may instead talk about having a sense of agency or an...
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Nicola Harvey

The PERMA approach to staff wellbeing

Education professionals are reporting high levels of work-related stress. Nicola Harvey explains how the PERMA approach can nurture a sense of wellbeing, fulfilment and purpose. After a well-deserved summer break, education professionals in England, have returned to the classroom. While everyone...
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Ian Holmes

Moving from health vs education to health and education

Ian Holmes and Bryn Llewellyn, co-directors of Move & Learn, explain the research and reality behind physically active learning and why it is especially important right now. There is plenty of evidence of the negative impact of COVID lockdowns on our children and their development. The problem...
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Nicola Harvey

Strategies to support anxiety

Nicola Harvey shares four practical strategies to use in supporting children or young people who are experiencing anxiety. Anxiety is a normal emotion and we all experience it from time to time. It only becomes a problem when anxiety persistently gets in the way of a child or young person living...
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Kelly Hannaghan

Supervision for mental health leads: why and how?

Kelly Hannaghan makes the case for pastoral staff supervision for mental health and wellbeing leads, as a means to process the increasing pressures they are carrying. It’s perplexing that wellbeing practitioners such as psychologists and social workers have regular supervision that is mandatory,...
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Adele Bates

Pandemic permissions: let’s keep talking about mental health and wellbeing

‘Actually, I’m not that great.’ What would change if we put conversations about mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of our work in schools? Around Christmas I got a text from someone I vaguely know: ‘sorry, I’m not able to work on that right now, I’m having trouble with my mental health’...
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Nicola Harvey

Understanding anxiety in children and young people

Anxiety is a normal feeling and can help protect us from danger. But when and why does it become a problem? Nicola Harvey explores some common forms of anxiety. The pandemic has impacted everyone. The new norm means unexpected school closures, social distancing in public spaces, children being away...
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Luke Ramsden

Thoughts for safeguarding leads on returning from lockdown

Safeguarding lead Luke Ramsden reflects on experiences of the return to full schooling and implications for the summer term and new academic year. School staff around the country were delighted when we realised that we could all return in person for the last three or four weeks of term. Now that we...
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Adele Bates

Pause and prioritise the basics: lockdown, pandemic and resilience

Adele Bates talks to resilience writer David Gumbrell about the importance of connection, space, reassurance and getting outdoors. David Gumbrell is an author and speaker on resilience and wellbeing. A teacher for over 20 years, he worked his way up from NQT to headteacher, holding various...
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Luke Ramsden

A day in the life of a safeguarding lead in lockdown

Luke Ramsden reflects on the 'new normal' of life as a safeguarding lead during lockdown and beyond. At a time when the media has generally described schools as ‘closed’, teachers have in fact been busier than ever, trying to adapt well-practised lesson plans and schemes of work to a world of...
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