Staff Profile: Maria Bowness - MK College

Staff Profile: Maria Bowness

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Group Director Curriculum Innovation and Pedagogy

Q: How long have you worked at Milton Keynes College Group?

A: I’ve been with the College for nearly 30 years now. I started as a visiting lecturer and gradually moved up the ranks to my current position as Group Director Curriculum Innovation and Pedagogy. During that time, I’ve had the privilege of managing various areas including Hairdressing, Hospitality, Motor Vehicle, and Creative Arts. I’ve also worked with Pearson as a quality reviewer, overseeing the quality of Pearson and Edexcel courses in collaboration with our Group Director of Quality.

Q: What motivates you in your role?

A: My passion stems from my own inspiring educational experiences, particularly at the London College of Fashion. My goal is to build an inspirational curriculum that opens students’ eyes to the careers they’re pursuing, both in the classroom and in the workplace.

Q: How does the College deliver an innovative curriculum?

A: One initiative I’m particularly proud of is the Silverstone Partnership, where our students get to benefit from practical experiences at Silverstone. For instance, our Motor Vehicle and Hospitality students engage in track days at Silverstone, offering them unique hands-on experiences. We’ve also established the Claire Clark Academy, where students work with award-winning chefs like Claire to gain invaluable insights and experiences in patisserie.

Q: What’s your approach to curriculum development and pedagogy?

A: I believe in ensuring that our curriculum is not only comprehensive but also exciting for our students. By working closely with our Group Director of Employer Engagement and Partnerships, we develop strong relationships with employers to provide students with real-world learning opportunities. Pedagogically, I support staff to understand how individuals learn, providing opportunities for both in-class and out-of-class learning experiences.

Q: Why is attendance so important at the College?

A: It’s important for students to understand the importance of attendance. We strongly believe in the principle of “you get out what you put in,” and we emphasise this message to parents as well. Our minimum expectation for attendance is 87%. We’re here to help students succeed, but showing up regularly is a big part of doing well and being able to progress. It not only increases the chances of academic success, but opens more opportunities for their future, like moving on to higher levels of education or finding a job.

Q: What’s your favourite part of working at the College?

A: Without a doubt, it’s the opportunity to meet and work with our wonderful students. Just to have the opportunity to be part of a young person’s journey and career path. There is nothing more rewarding.