Who is behind CatholicLinks?

Margaret Buck, a practising Catholic, has developed the CatholicLinks website. 

Margaret is a teacher by profession and at heart.  She has worked in all phases of education, teaching children from early years through to young people completing their sixth form education. She has worked for substantial periods in primary, secondary and special schools holding senior posts in all phases. She has also taught adults and worked in higher education settings.

After headship Margaret worked as a Local Authority Inspector with responsibility for a number of primary, secondary and special schools. She supported several schools in coming out of special measures, including a residential special school for boys with emotional and behavioural needs. She has been involved in several initiatives to produce curriculum materials to support teachers, as well as producing resources for leadership and governance training, and in publishing generally.

In 2002, Margaret was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Diocesan Schools Commission (DSC) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, under the leadership of Bishop Marcus Stock (of Leeds), when he held the post of Director of Schools as Father Marcus Stock.

When Bishop Stock moved from the DSC to take up the post of the General Secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Margaret was invited to take on the position of Director of Schools for the Diocesan Schools Commission (DSC).   She agreed to taking on the leadership for a time-limited period.  During her time as Director, Margaret led on advising the Archbishop and Trustees with respect to academies, including negotiating with the DfE the model academy documents for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Subsequently, Margaret also worked as an Associate at director level for the Diocesan Education Service for a period of time in order to finalise the diocesan academy documents on behalf of the Archbishop and the Trustees of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and to formulate the diocesan strategy and policy for academy conversion of both converter and supported academies.  This included agreeing the model of ‘supported conversion’ – rather than ‘sponsored conversion’ – for schools the DfE and Diocesan Education Service agreed should become academies.

During that time she also continued to lead on leadership formation, training and development in the Archdiocese and work with the National College for Teaching and Leadership.  Margaret has substantial experience in writing and delivering leadership and governance programmes.

She now continues to work, independently, as an educational consultant.  This independent status enables her to pursue a variety of projects and pieces of work that interest her.  For example, Margaret supported the work of the Catholic Education Service (CES) in its partnership with Heythrop College, as a member of the research board on a national leadership project, Visions for Educational Leadership.  She was involved in exploring the way forward for a Catholic Education Alliance.

In some of these areas of work, Margaret enjoyed working with Geraldine (Gerry) Bradbury, who used to be Director in the Salford diocese; they both share a great interest in Catholic leadership matters. Together, with the support of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), they produced a half module to support the Modular Leadership Curriculum Level 3 NPQH on leading a Catholic school or academy.  They have also worked, and continue to work with Liverpool Hope University in various ways.

Margaret is also studying for a PhD, researching the future of Catholic education set within the current educational landscape and finds the project absorbing.

Margaret’s other experiences also have included or include:

  • Headship;
  • LA inspector;
  • Ofsted inspector;
  • Representing the Catholic Education Service (CES) and the Archdiocese of Birmingham on National College steering groups;
  • Commissioned by the National College to produce leadership programmes for Church schools;
  • NPQH tutor, assessor and facilitator for over 10 years;
  • Facilitator for a range of National College programmes, including:
    • Leadership Pathways;
    • Leading from the Middle;
    • Developing the Capacity for Sustained Improvement;
    • Established Leaders;
  • Specialist work and publication in the field of Special Educational Needs;
  • Senior positions in primary, secondary and special schools;
  • External examiner for Warwick University BAQTS (primary) for several years;
  • Foundation governor of a Catholic secondary school;
  • LA governor of a school in special measures;
  • Governor on an Interim Executive Board (IEB) of a Catholic school in special measures;
  • Working for the Catholic Education Service on various working groups, including the CES Catholic Teaching Schools and National College Licensed Provider Working Group to consider the formation of the Catholic Education Alliance;
  • A director of the Barberi and Newman Trust in the Archdiocese of Birmingham;
  • Governor training for Liverpool Hope University;
  • Online tutoring for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) for Liverpool Hope University;
  • Governor and director training development work with Eastern Leadership Centre (ELC) and the National Governors Association (NGA);
  • Assessor for the Professional Qualification for School Inspectors (PQSI);
  • Work for the Catholic diocese of Menevia;
  • Work for the Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster Diocesan Education Service.;
  • Work as a consultant to Mutli-Academy Companies, in the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The Archdiocese of Birmingham

Margaret’s

long and dedicated service to the Diocesan Education Service

in the Archdiocese of Birmingham is recognised and Archbishop Bernard Longley and the Archdiocese, have recorded their appreciation.

Margaret has the full support of Archbishop Longley and the Trustees in working with Birmingham schools and academies, and they wish Margaret

well in [her] continuing service to Catholic Education throughout the country, [and are] happy for any of the Governing Bodies or Academy Boards in [their] Diocesan Schools to approach [her] concerning the management of their schools.


Feedback

Some feedback* from Margaret’s work with the Westminster Archdiocese Diocesan Education Service:

… one of the best sessions I’ve been to in a long time. A very challenging session but I got a lot out of it. Would love to attend more sessions with Margaret. I think she could do a lot to increase confidence in deputies and in preparing them for the next step. She left me very much with the thought – ‘choose it or lose it – if not me then who?’ Thank you. This is the best conference in a few years.

Mary McCallion, Deputy Headteacher, St Raphael’s Catholic School, Northolt.

Truly inspirational. Told it how it is / should be from experience.

Julian Rakowski, Deputy Headteacher, St Joseph’s Catholic School, Ealing.

Wow!! … a session that was rooted in great experience and authority. A very effective session challenged us to clarify ideas and the ‘learning journal’ will be kept carefully to refer to AND build on!

Rosemary Sherry, Deputy Headteacher, St Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Stevenage.

It got everyone really talking … This was so useful in terms of clarifying what is really important – and preparing us for interviews and Catholic leadership and are we ready?! She made us (the whole table) feel the answer is yes.

Tracy Lane, Deputy Headteacher, Christ the King Catholic School, Islington.

Absolutely brilliant. Margaret’s passion is infectious – she makes you want to be better. It has made me think about how I need to champion change as a leader. Clear links given between the Catholic way of life and striving for excellence in all aspects of our schools.

Claudia Dimond, Deputy Headteacher, St Francis de Sales Catholic School, Haringey.

* original documents available for scrutiny on request.


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