Starting out in the summer of 2017 and new to the post Buckswood’s Co-Principals Michael Shaw (right) and Kevin Samson (left) have undergone a steep learning curve, here they tell us what makes them tick at school and beyond.
What is the best part of working at Buckswood?
MS: we have a school where staff and students say ‘hello’ when passing each other. It is a small thing but says so much about our values. The campus is beautiful as well.
KS: The diversity of the community – being able to go to work every day in a rural corner of Sussex yet being surrounded by people from all over the world.
Who or What inspired you to teach?
MS: I always liked going to school, but the inspiration to teach came from my GCSE and A level Geography teachers. Studying ‘Human’ aspects of the subject such as population and development fascinated me and this knowledge was imparted by enthusiastic teachers I really looked up to.
KS: I went to boarding school from age 9 and my tutors and house parents had a lasting impact on me in terms of what I wanted to do when I grew up. It led me to want to work in a boarding environment and this is what I have done upon completion of my degree – first in the USA and now back here in the UK.
What makes your school different?
MS: Good question…. we have a super Bagpipe band!
KS: The ability to make rapid change without layers of red tape.
Your personal motto in life
MS: Treat people how you wish to be treated yourself.
KS: “Prioritize your problems and take care of them one at a time, the highest priority first. Don’t try to do everything at once or you won’t be successful.”
Favourite school event
MS: Has to be international day where our students from all offer the world share their culture and food, whilst raising money for charity. I particularly enjoy the West African cuisine.
KS: The Carol Concert. Bringing the whole school together to celebrate the festive season in a traditional way.
If you weren’t in education, what would be your dream job?
MS: Sports’ journalist/broadcaster
KS: Farmer or cider maker (or retired lottery winner!)
Do you cook, if so, what is your signature dish?
MS: I suppose you would need to ask my wife. I would say Curry though, I do enjoy cooking.
What three things do you need to be a successful principal?
MS: focus, perspective, a smile
KS: Understanding (of people and regulations), a sense of humour and the ability to make decisions and stick to them.
Best advice you would give new students joining the school?
MS: Don’t be shy, give things a try as you will find something that may develop into a life long passion.
KS: You have an opportunity like no other – we are a small school so get to know everyone and try everything on offer!