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 Dabell

Don’t do your best!

Sometimes a job only has to be done well enough. John Dabell argues that teaching is one such job and explains why it's better not to give 100% all the time. If you are ‘trying your best’ all the time it’s a one-way ticket to the GP with burn out. Perfection, or chasing perfection, is a huge time-...
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Sarah Hopp

For the love of learning: using the positive niche construction framework

Balancing pupil wellbeing and academic catch-up is challenging. Sarah Hopp explains how the PNC framework can help all learners flourish. In the recent Opportunity for all white paper the government announced that by 2030: 90% of learners should reach the expected standard in English and maths at...
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Dr Alistair Bailie

Seven tips to beat exam stress

How can you best support students who are stressed out at the prospect of exams? Clinical psychologist Dr Alistair Bailie suggests seven strategies to share. For students of any age, there can be considerable stress when it comes to exams. Their implications for study, jobs, and life progress can...
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Lauren Peart-Roddis

A spring in our step! TEAM’s wellbeing and workload journey so far

A working group, workload charter, wellbeing champion and learning lessons from staff surveys: Lauren Peart-Roddis shares next steps in the TEAM Education Trust's staff wellbeing journey. With the steady lengthening of each day and the exciting possibilities offered in early spring, our strategy to...
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Lauren Peart-Roddis

The TEAM plan for workload and wellbeing

The TEAM Education Trust put wellbeing at the heart of its strategy from the start. Lauren Peart-Roddis shares useful tips and lessons learnt. Launching as a new education trust in the midst of a pandemic in June 2020 was always going to be tricky, but staff wellbeing was an important priority for...
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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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