On the crest of a wave

EXG FEB 15 Meet the Head

EXG FEB 15 Meet the Head - Credit: Archant

Tracy Handford resisted the call of the sea in favour of a career in the classroom and is now head of Dame Bradbury’s School in Saffron Walden

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what career would you have chosen instead?

Originally I was going to study Marine Biology after A Levels, but I decided to take a year out. I worked at an independent boarding school in Cheltenham and I loved the opportunities I had to teach. I was delighted to be able to find a course where I could combine teacher training and continue with my love of science and the sea.

Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?

I would have Brian Cox as a pupil. His enthusiasm, energy and passion encapsulates the characteristics we strive for in all of our pupils.

Was there any type of school dinner that you couldn’t stand?

Semolina — the memory of the texture and smell lingers on.

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What was your least favourite lesson?

My least favourite lesson was French. I was a very quiet pupil and I really needed some help to get going in lessons that relied on oral participation. Once I left school and started using the language on my travels, the sympathetic and patient help I received gave me the confidence I had lacked in the classroom. This is my pertinent reminder that the best teachers notice every child and recognise that often a little time spent individually reaps great rewards.

What would you want to make disappear from this world?


What is your favourite film of all time and why?

The original version of The King and I with Yule Brynner and Deborah Kerr. Apart from the beautiful costumes, choreography and music, the tale of the importance of understanding one another is as poignant today as it was in 1956.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Prioritise the development and promotion of clean energy technologies and encourage innovators in this area.

Which record would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?

Rather sheepishly my most played album, especially in the car, is The Very Best of Dolly Parton.

Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?

Strictly Come Dancing, it has to be Strictly!

How do you relax away from work?

Time away from school is prioritised as family time and we love returning to the North of England and walking the hills and dales of North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

What is special about your school?

Tradition and community are important and these go hand in hand with fostering a love of learning, creativity, resilience and confidence.

Did you know?

There has been a school on this site since at least 1312.

Get in touch

Dame Bradbury’s School

Ashdon Road

Saffron Walden


CB10 2AL

01799 522348


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