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

Teaching and learning

Catherine O'Farrell

Power in collaboration: Four tips for high-impact LSAs

Learning support assistants (LSAs) provide valuable support to pupils with complex needs but their continuing professional development (CPD) is often overlooked. Catherine O’Farrell explains how teachers and other professionals can work with them to develop the skills they need. One of the most...
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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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Adele Bates

From teacher to TV presenter

Remote classes raise new challenges for leaders, educators and pupils. Adele Bates suggests some new ways of approaching learning, engagement and behaviour. This academic year I found myself spending an entire lesson with a laptop bag on my head, for teenagers with social, emotional and mental...
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John Dabell

How to help children who say they are 'stuck'

Teachers are sometimes far too quick to respond to requests for help. How do children benefit from being 'stuck' and how can we encourage them to find a solution independently? When some children encounter a problem, difficulty, or challenge, they stop. Sometimes stopping and pausing for a moment...
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Gareth D Morewood

The value in listening to new voices

No matter how experienced we think we are, fresh perspectives will help us grow. Gareth D Morewood recaps his experience of attending the inaugural New Voices. Buoyed by the success of my first #BrewEd earlier this month, it wasn’t long before I was preparing for another new experience at an...
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Simon Scarborough

5 ways to make inclusive PE work

Adapting the curriculum is only the start in making PE more inclusive. Simon Scarborough offers a few tips. One of the greatest barriers I have faced when promoting inclusive PE practice is the misconception held by some, that making PE more inclusive somehow makes it impossible to stretch and...
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John Dabell

Most able, most appropriate?

What's in a label? For John Dabell, much less than teachers might assume. He explains why it's time to focus on pupils' potential rather than on pigeonholes. We are pretty good at giving ourselves labels. Ask someone who they are, and they will label themselves a teacher, a father, perhaps a...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Arts in the curriculum: one school's approach

How do we stop creative subjects being squeezed out of the curriculum? Elizabeth Holmes spoke to the headteacher of one primary school that is keeping the arts in the picture. Pupils at Ashdown Primary School proudly displaying their work. The school recently held an ‘ exploration day ’ for arts...
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Tom Fay

Teachers: do you have the X factor?

What does it take to be a great teacher? Tom Fay asked pupils to name their desired traits, and shares the responses. Everyone remembers a great teacher they once had. You may not remember exactly what they said or did, but you will certainly remember how they made you feel. Their impact can last a...
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John Dabell

Teachers can make their mark with written feedback

Effective feedback lies at the heart of the learning process. John Dabell explains why written feedback should be no exception. Marking has been demonised. It has been hijacked by the marking martyrs who rage against the machine. They hate marking and pour scorn on it at every available opportunity...
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