The World’s a Stage

Katharine Mansfield

Katharine Mansfield - Credit: Archant

When Katharine Mansfield makes her debut as headteacher of Woodlands School in Great Warley in September, she will bring with her an understanding of the workings of the human mind — as well as inside knowledge of Strictly Come Dancing!

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

I had a great interest in the sciences at school and for some time thought I would become a doctor. I was first introduced to the world of psychology at A Level and found this subject extremely interesting. Learning about the human mind and its functions was fascinating and understanding why people behaved in certain ways opened up many lively topics of debate. I then became interested in educational psychology and how psychological theory and research could support children and young people in their ability to learn. It was at that point that education and the world of teaching captured my heart. I have now been teaching for more than 20 years and I feel this was one of the best decisions of my life.

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

Any child who has been told that they will not succeed at school.

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

No! I loved school dinners (probably due to my mum being one of our dinner ladies!). I have always enjoyed my food and still do.

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What was your least favourite lesson?

French and German. Learning a different language was a great challenge to me. I wish now that I had persevered in mastering a foreign language, as I love to travel and the inability to communicate is sometimes frustrating.

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

I would promote scientific and medical development and ring-fence a significant proportion of government spending in the search for new medicines and treatments.

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

Bucks Fizz’s Greatest Hits! I have been a true fan since 1981 when they won the Eurovision Song Contest and if ever I am feeling a bit down, on goes the CD and I am soon singing and dancing!

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

Strictly Come Dancing. I love to dance and have been appearing on stage since the age of three. Watching those lucky celebrities fall in love with the different styles of dance, the costumes and the magic of ballroom and Latin is my highlight on a Saturday night. I was even lucky enough to watch last year’s Christmas special being televised!

What is your favourite film of all time and why?

It would have to be Serendipity (2001). It’s a great film about believing in fate and finding your true destiny.

How do you relax away from work?

Trying out new experiences and visiting new places. Having four very active children and a very competitive husband, we are always trying to introduce each other to new and exciting adventures. Some of my favourites have been driving a husky pack in search of Father Christmas, indoor sky diving, scuba diving and trying out white water rafting. On a calmer note, I like nothing better than a game of Scrabble with the family — although I seem to be getting beaten more and more often now by my own children.

What is special about your school?

The school aims to combine all that is traditionally best, together with progressive and forward-thinking ideas, to enable pupils to become socially responsible citizens and life-long learners. The school seeks to foster curiosity, independence and a love of learning in a happy and safe environment. This allows the pupils to achieve their full potential in personal, social, spiritual and academic development. Woodlands provides a stimulating environment in which happy children grow and move forward as confident, well-rounded individuals. We embrace the arts, teach a variety of sports and encourage forest school skills during outdoor learning sessions.


Woodlands School

Warley Street


CM13 3LA

01277 233288

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