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

pupil mental health

John Dabell

What's the point in breaktimes?

John Dabell looks at the emotional and physical benefits of breaktimes, and how teachers can supervise pupils without interfering. Most children look forward to playtime – they can’t wait to get outside for a break. It’s their time and they have a fair degree of ownership over it. It’s a part of...
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Emily Colyer

Boys' underachievement: rethinking masculinity in schools

Why are boys falling behind in school? Emily Colyer interviews Matt Pinkett about boys' underperformance in his new book Boys Don’t Try? Rethinking Masculinity in Schools. What prompted you to write a book about boys’ underachievement in education? Ever since I started teaching, the debate about...
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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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Charlie Roden

Promoting positive wellbeing in the early years

What happens during a child's earliest years can have a lasting impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Charlie Roden looks at how we can help children get the best start in life. The first five years of a child’s life are crucial for development. It is during these years that a child’s brain...
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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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Katie Renton

4 ways to develop resilient teenage learners

To prepare young people for success in later life, we must first help them overcome adversity, cope with uncertainty and recover from failure in the present. It’s no secret that the life of a teenager is challenging, and that building resilience against stress, anxiety and pressure is no easy task...
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Gareth D Morewood

SENCOs: make the end of term festive, not frantic!

'Tis the season to be jolly, but with very little 'down time' in the run-up to the end of term, SENCOs need to make sure they allow time for self-care. Don't let a long to-do list wear you down in these last few weeks of term You might think that the run-in to the festive break heralds unbounded...
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Jack Procter-Blain

You can be a mental health champion

A school's mental health lead is someone who can facilitate grassroots change. This means building resilience, improving communication and gaining trust. It’s a sore but well-known fact that the demand for mental health support in schools is greater than the capacity of external services. When, at...
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Katie Rose White

Mental health is no laughing matter, or is it?

Implementing laughing techniques in the classroom can help pupils become more emotionally resilient. Katie Rose White explains how. Stress is a contributing factor to anxiety. Anxiety can lead to panic, depression and low self-esteem. Finding affordable and effective ways to manage stress in...
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Gareth D Morewood

What can schools do to help young people thrive?

Proactive discussions are the key to developing a culture of positive mental health. Here are some tips for SENCOs looking to facilitate the best possible support. One of the most valuable meetings a SENCO can have is with their local NHS commissioner. Incorporating health in discussions about...
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