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14th January 2018


Two New Year pieces appear on Voice of the North currently: first a grumble about January, the month of all months in which to be seriously grumpy and, second, a contribution to the (fairly muted) debate about banning mobile phones from schools, complete with broadcast interview on BBC Radio Kent. It's worth adding that the interview arose from a Tes piece I wrote in late 2017.


In the Tes I discuss the school putting music GCSE lessons after school and charging £5 for them. It's not the charge that worries me so much as the downgrading of music as a subject - just a nice little extra, perhaps? It won't do. Click here to find the text which will link you to the Tes webpages.

SecEd produced a November NQTs' special, and my contribution was all about pausing for a moment to take stock of where, as a NQT, you find yourself. Be positive, optimistic and honest!




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Welcome to the website of

Bernard Trafford

MA (Oxon) MEd PhD (Birmingham) FRSA


Educationist, writer, musician

Dr Bernard Trafford was a school head in the independent sector for 27 years (see below), retiring in August 2017. Currently, however (from January 2018), he is  "unretired" for a period, while serving as Interim Head at the Purcell School, the leading specialist music school in Bushey, Herts. 

For nine years (2018-17) Bernard headed the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School and, before that, spent 18 at Wolverhampton Grammar School. Involved in education on a national scale, from 2007 to 2009 he was Chairman of HMC, the organisation of some 260 UK and international British-style independent schools that includes most of the best in the world.  He was involved for many years at Committee level in both HMC and the Association of School and College Leaders, ASCL. He has also advised both the UK government and the Council of Europe on citizenship and student voice. See Biography for more.

Bernard is a prolific blogger and columnist, living (mostly) in Oxford. He is a founder-author of the blog-site Voice of the North while, in the educational sphere, he is in demand as a speaker, consultant/expert and as regular contributor to both the Tes and SecED: see the box to the left for his latest publications and links.


A musician by training, he has never stopped writing, arranging, directing, singing and playing: he has huge experience in the choral sphere and has written/arranged much music for the (school) theatre. He was hugely honoured to have his entry for the 2017 BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Programme's Carol Competition shortlisted by experts and declared winner by public vote. As a performer he loves above all to play the trumpet: orchestral, Baroque (piccolo) and traditional jazz - above all the latter (he'd really like to be a mixture of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Charlie Shavers!).

And the rest...

He fails to keep fit by running and loves walking in the hills of Northumberland where he and his wife, Katherine, have a cottage. Their two daughters are both teachers.

There's a considerable amount of material on the inner pages so, if you cannot immediately find some area of Bernard's work that you were expecting to see, please use the search facility, left.