Meet the new head of Buxlow Preparatory School
The Inspired Learning Group are pleased to welcome Christine McLelland, who joins as the new Head of Buxlow Prep School.
Christine has 24 years’ experience in education, having taught all year groups from Reception through to Year 6 in both the State Maintained and Independent Sectors in London. With a range of roles and responsibilities over her career, including Deputy Head, Designated Safeguarding Lead and most recently as Executive Headteacher of two Nursery and Pre-Prep Schools in North London, we are confident Christine will make invaluable contributions to the future of Buxlow.
We conducted an interview with Christine to delve deeper into her background and motivations. Continue reading to uncover more details about her educational background:
How would previous pupils describe you?
My previous pupils would describe me as approachable, funny, and kind. They are pleased to have me spend time with them in lessons, talking about their learning with them. They are confident to come and knock on my door to show their work. My old school friends think it is hilarious that I have become a headteacher – I was easily distracted at school and found myself in trouble quite often!
What are you proud of in your career?
Reflecting on 24 years in education, I am most proud of the long-lasting relationships I have established – with pupils, parents, and staff. I’ve frequently been told by colleagues that my eyes light up when I am with the children and there’s always a tangible learning buzz!
How do you think a head can make a real difference to an individual pupil?
As headteacher, I ensure that the learning environment, curriculum, and staffing meets the needs of all pupils. The school development plan will focus on meeting the needs of all pupils at the school with a determined focus on understanding the whole child and ensuring that the school enables them to achieve their best and that they head to their senior schools well prepared for the next step on their journey.
I understand that learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom and on school excursions. I know that a significant proportion of learning happens outside of school with the parents playing the most important part in this journey. Therefore, establishing solid and trusting relationships with parents is key to my work. Every parent is a Friend of Buxlow – no contribution of help is too big, nor too small.
What are the qualities of a successful leader?
Over the past 24 years I have had the good fortune to work alongside and learn from a wide variety of exceptional leaders from within the education sector and beyond. I always find myself coming back to one key aspect: The importance of clear expectations, communications, and relationships at every level.
Having excellent communication between staff and the senior leadership team is key to a school’s success. I set a clear strategy whilst ensuring that everyone feels involved and included on the journey. My approach is to lead with authenticity – to build trust between teams and to empower all staff to be at their very best.
What about Buxlow are you looking forward to?
Buxlow is unique to the area due to the academic reputation and its long history within the community. I am looking forward to engaging with alumni over the next year or two to collate their stories, reunite friends and plan a spectacular celebration of this significant milestone.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
When not at school I enjoy long walks with my husband who is a head of school and Albert the Miniature Schnauzer.
What is a unique skill you have?
I have a huge passion for food, hence training to be a professional chef which I will continue to do on an ad-hoc basis at weekends. When not working in the restaurant, I love to cook delicious food at home. I am currently experimenting with dehydration which is a lot of fun.