Maria is a Specialist Leader in Education for SEND and Associate Headteacher and Inclusion Leader at St. Mary’s Primary School in East Barnet, Hertfordshire where SEN Leadership is recognised as an ‘Area of Excellent Practice’. Alongside her role on the Senior Leadership Team at St. Mary’s, she is a Primary SEN Consultant for the London Leadership Strategy, and leads on the the MITA (Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants) project.
In 2014/15 she was a member of the SEN board at Challenge Partners, which led the strategic development of SEN programmes across 265 schools in the UK. She regularly presents at the ‘Securing Good’ national conferences and has worked with head teachers and senior leaders on this programme in Norfolk, London and Medway providing practical school to school support resulting in rapid change and school improvement. Maria has also co-written the SEN primary training materials for Teaching Leaders. In addition, her work at St. Mary’s Primary School was recognised in DfE training materials for school leaders on the SEND reforms. Most recently, she has been selected to deliver SEND support on the part DfE funded programme SEN Leaders and is working with secondary mainstream schools to further develop SEND practice. Maria is now working as a member of the Institute of Education’s Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants practitioner team contributing to continuing school improvement.
‘Betterment is a perpetual labour. To make a science of performance, to investigate and improve how well we use knowledge and resources already at hand, they told me of simple, almost banal changes that produced enormous improvements.’ Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande
"I’m really interested in how learning and development principles in different industries can be applied to education. The quote above is about refinements to surgery and improved hygiene in battlefield hospitals. We can learn from this. Small changes – big impact by using what's already there. This is especially pertinent with the current financial challenges faced by schools."
Favourite moment(s) in teaching:
"Exposing children (regardless of need) to the richness of language and emotion in written and visual literature. Being a ‘facilitator of learning’ in the classroom; showing the children beautifully crafted text and stepping back to allow them to question, deconstruct and absorb the writer’s intentions. Magic!"
"I make a mean baked vanilla cheesecake - it's pretty infamous in these parts."