Headteacher Maureen Buckby – Sharing Best Practice – The Key to Success
Published: Friday, January 10th, 2020 at 3:38 PM
Headteacher Maureen Buckby tells us why sharing best practice - and resources - can help us to continue Hounslow’s reputation for excellent primary school teaching standards.
The world is a very different place now compared to what it was when Maureen Buckby started as a newly-qualified teacher back in 1982. It was the year Prince William was born, CDs went on sale for the first time, and Channel 4 started broadcasting its first show: Countdown.
Maureen has been teaching in Hounslow ever since, and retired at the end of last term after 38 years in the profession. “Hounslow has been a great place to work,” she says. “It prepares children to live in the real world. There are families in our schools from many different backgrounds – teaching across the Borough’s schools is an amazing job.”
She’s spent the past 25 years as Head teacher at Spring Grove Primary and has also worked at other primary schools in the Borough of Hounslow as an Executive Head teacher over the last five years. Having worked with children throughout the primary school age range - from three year olds joining nursery to 11 year olds looking to start secondary education - Maureen has the experience from which others may wish to draw.
The commitment to sharing knowledge and best practice and gathering new ideas, not only amongst the teachers at her own school, but with others across the borough, underlies the work that Maureen has done as a Lead Head teacher with the HEP primary schools.
This principle of continuing to learn and reflect on one’s practice was instilled during her first teaching role. “I began my career working with a mixed age group of year 5 and 6 pupils within a team teaching environment of four teachers and 120 children. There was a firm belief that, by working with others, you would continue to develop, learn and grow as a practitioner”, she says. “It was an amazing environment. We shared best practice among ourselves - it was a wonderful place to reflect, learn and grow as an educator.”
Maureen adds, “I was supported by colleagues within school and the NQT induction programme – a model that schools continue to follow, ensuring new teachers are not left to work in isolation.”
Working in a professional, challenging and supportive manner within HEP is the positive way forward. Maureen has been one of four Lead Head teachers promoting the Peer Challenge and encouraging collaboration and challenge across 45 schools over the last 5 years. “Working in this way, with a group of other schools, has brought about a changing mind-set that has led to schools developing, sharing and improving practice in a positive environment. We use the peer challenge model within our triads and quads to question and challenge colleagues; this professional discussion helps lead to improved outcomes. We are able to share high-quality teaching and learning across our triads and quads and there’s realistic benchmarking with others. It also means that no school has to work in isolation. Working together boosts confidence and supports school development. Professional rapport has been growing across schools over the last 5 years and I am sure it will continue to do so. If you have the capacity to collaborate, be bold and altruistic about sharing. There are no losses, only gains.”
All schools are focussed on recruiting new teachers to HEP schools. “Our mantra to teachers entering the profession is, ‘Never suffer in silence’. It’s best to reach out straight away if you’re struggling, to your mentor, a colleague or your Head Teacher,” she advises. “Solutions are always on hand. Teachers multitask, solve problems - and they’re good at it. So there will be a resolution. A lot of the time, the solution will be in the school itself.”
Although Hounslow is saying goodbye to one of its top teaching staff, we don’t say goodbye to Maureen’s knowledge and experience. By sharing best practice with her team and other schools in HEP, the improvements continue within and across the many schools who work together.