Bernard's Biography

Dr Bernard Trafford is a prolific writer, 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 was for several years a regular contributor to both the Tes and SecED. For seven years he was a regular columnist for Newcastle's local paper, The Journal. 2018 saw publication of his debut novel, Song for a Spy, a historical adventure set in medieval Bologna: see the Writing page.

Bernard started his career as a musician and still loves to write, direct, sing and play the trumpet: orchestral/Classical, Baroque and  jazz. His setting of the medieval text Sir Christëmas won BBC Radio 3's 2017 Christmas Carol Competition, and is now published by Banks Music Publications. See Music.

Bernard read music at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he was Organ Scholar. He started teaching music at High Wycombe's Royal Grammar School, and moved to become head of department at Wolverhampton Grammar School in 1981, having just married his wife, Katherine. In 1987 he became head of sixth form at WGS and, in 1990, became the school's Head.

From Wolverhampton Grammar School , where he was head from 1990 to 2008, he moved on to lead the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School from 2008 to 2017. For eight months in 2018 he served as Interim Head of the Purcell School, the specialist music school in Bushey, Herts. He finally retired in August 2018 after some 28 years of school leadership.

A hugely experienced independent school head, Bernard was 2007-9 Chairman of HMC, the organisation of some 300 UK and international British-style independent schools that includes most of the best in the world. He was an elected independent schools representative on the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) 1995-2006, chairing variously its Equal Opportunities and Publications committees. He has published books and articles on school democracy and Student Voice and has advised both the UK government and the Council of Europe on education for democratic citizenshipHis PhD thesis on that theme won Birmingham University's 1996 George Cadbury Prize.

Over the years he has served as a trustee (and, in some cases, as Chair) of various educational and/or musical charities including SCHOOLS NorthEast, School Councils UK*, SingUK* (previously YoungChoirs/the British Federation of Young Choirs) and the National Schools' Symphony Orchestra (NSSO). He remains a Leading Thinker for the National Education Trust. (*charities no longer operating)  Bernard was part of a professional team of volunteers who successfully opened a Free School in the deprived west end of Newcastle in 2015: the West Newcastle Academy is now thriving in splendid purpose-built accommodation in Benwell. 

For exercise he likes to walk, especially in the hills of Northumberland where he and his wife, Katherine, have a cottage. Their two daughters are both teachers.

Bernard and (where present) his wife, Katherine

(His Dad's in one: oh, and there's an elephant, too, called Nao)