Obituary - Maggie Marshall 1953-2011

30th September 2011 at 01:00

Maggie Marshall was a natural primary teacher. She was artistic; she was musical; she was mathematical; she was meticulously organised. Little of this, however, would have been obvious to her colleagues: the Scunthorpe maths specialist rarely spoke about herself.

Margaret Ann Hill was born near Stoke in September 1953. Musically talented - she played piano and guitar - and artistic, she also volunteered at her local Sunday school. Primary teaching, therefore, seemed an obvious career choice.

It was during her three-year degree at West Midlands College of Education that friends introduced her to Dave Marshall. Before his PGCE year was up, the pair were going out. They married in 1975 and moved to Scunthorpe, Dave's home town. There, Mrs Marshall found a job at Lincoln Gardens Junior School. She impressed colleagues with her musical ability, composing musicals for pupils to perform. And, when colleagues left the school, she wrote comic song tributes for them.

Organising school concerts, she became known for her emphasis on copyright regulations. She did things by the book: every "i" had to be dotted and "t" crossed. This focus on doing things properly similarly emerged when her daughter, Rebecca, started at Lincoln Gardens. Mrs Marshall refused to attend Rebecca's parents' evenings, instead sending Dave. This, she said, was the only way to ensure no one was compromised.

In 1993 she was promoted to senior management, with responsibility for, among other things, maths. She had a natural facility with the subject - a fact that was quickly noticed by the local authority. And so, in 1998 she began working for North Lincolnshire, first as curriculum-support teacher and later as maths consultant. Once again, her meticulousness came to the fore. Her training sessions were admired for their thoroughness: if teachers needed to be trained in something, Mrs Marshall could be relied on to offer a course in it. And, having identified schools' needs, she did not draw up meaningless action plans: she saw things through.

Beyond maths, she had many talents: as well as composing school musicals, she also painted the stage sets. And she had recently begun attending an evening class in making greetings cards. But most people would have had no idea. She was a very private person, unassuming and undemonstrative. She would far rather listen to other people than talk about herself.

When, recently, the National Strategies were abandoned and her department restructured, there was much tooth-gnashing among Mrs Marshall's colleagues. She, however, remained sanguine: what would be, would be.

In August her mother died, and she and Dave went to make arrangements for the funeral. At midnight, Dave went to bed; Maggie decided to stay up and watch a film. In the early hours of the morning, Dave found her dead on the bathroom floor.

Maggie Marshall died on 11 August.

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