What's new?


18th March 2018

On Voice of the North I look back at Ken Dodd, Sir Stephen Hawking and join others - such as @mattwridley - in advocating a positive attitude as the secret of health and happiness!


Teacher workload remains both a contentious issue and the subject of major national debate at present. As several commentators have pointed out (not least me!), we need to start trusting teachers again. Click here to find the text which will link you to the Tes webpages.

SecEd's leadership section this month includes a piece from me about feedback. It's a vexed question, and we'll never all agree about it. But we have to continue to do our best on it! 



follow me
  • Written about 3 hours ago
    RT @tes: 'We must get back to an assumption that teachers are doing their job, and doing it well, unless there are indications to the contr…
  • Written about 4 hours ago
    A teenaged composer (far left) watches her piece, Skyline, being prepared by school symphony orchestra for première… https://t.co/7h4pwpQr8m
  • Written about 4 hours ago
    Yer dad’s right! https://t.co/SimT0CsV1y
  • Written about 4 hours ago
    RT @tonyparkin: 'Only by trusting teachers to get on with their job will we tackle workload and stress' | TES https://t.co/oy2qQF52Un < mor…
  • Written about 11 hours ago
    What an outrageously wicked youth! https://t.co/zbVTf1y4KI

Search bernardtrafford.com

On World Book Day 1st March 2018

I announce the publication of my first novel

Song for a Spy

a historical adventure story now available for instant download on Kindle. 

Click here.

How does Lorenzo, until two days before a highly-trained choirboy, though already far from innocent of the world’s cruelty, find himself at the opening of the book helpless and facing excruciating torment at the hands of powerful and ruthless men?  The tale he recounts is set in thirteenth-century Bologna, against the backdrop of a power-struggle with neighbouring Modena amid the chaos of the Interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire. It leads him through kidnap, flight, political intrigue, seduction, torture and murder to the application of his skills as troubadour, scribe, eavesdropper, spy, willing but inexpert lover, unwilling but expert assassin. It reaches a bloody climax among Bologna’s corrupt potentates in their bizarre, rarefied world high in that city’s legendary medieval towers.

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 27 at Wolverhampton Grammar School, 18 of them as Head. 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.