Tracey Fantham, Headteacher at Manor House School, reflects on her life-long passion for sport and many happy memories of her own school days
What was your favourite subject at school? My favourite subject was geography as we had an excellent teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed going on geography field trips to Keswick in the Lake District, where I recall climbing Skiddaw to gather data for colourful soil podzols. The return trip down Skiddaw was interesting to say the least!
Can you tell us about one of your happiest school memories? I went to a middle school in Sheffield which was a 1970s experiment in schooling organisation. The whole school was open plan and I loved it there (although I can’t imagine trying to teach in such an environment!). In my final year I had Mr Elliott who I can still see now; he was also the gymnastics coach which I really enjoyed and looked forward to every week.
Why did you choose to go teaching? When I transferred to a large senior school it took a while to adjust and I remember my Mum having to go in to speak with the teachers as I really didn’t like it. Thankfully I did settle and as sport was my passion, I threw myself into clubs and sports teams. I could be found in the PE department every lunch break and it was my PE teacher, Mrs Hilton who inspired me to become a teacher myself. She encouraged me in many ways and introduced me to club hockey, which I loved.
What were you doing before accepting the Headteacher position at Manor House School? I was Head of a large state school which was very different to Manor House. I had joined the school as a Deputy Head 11 years prior and was promoted to Head after six years. I learnt so much about both teaching and learning and leadership and worked with a fantastic team of staff.
What do you think makes Manor House School so unique? The atmosphere at Manor House is really unique and different to where I have worked before. The pupils are welcoming, happy and enthusiastic about their learning, which adds to the friendly and open atmosphere, and supportive, family ethos.
Have your own school days influenced the way you will approach your role as Headteacher? I don’t recall ever seeing my secondary school Headteacher and I certainly wouldn’t want that to be the case for the pupils at Manor House School. I make sure that I visit lessons every day and I spend time with the pupils, across all ages.
What are you looking forward to this coming school year? Whole school assemblies! I have really missed the gathering of the whole school, singing together and recognising and celebrating successes as a community.
If you could teach anyone – either present day or from history – who would you choose? Mary Berry. My own food technology lessons were a disaster so she could teach me more than I could teach her!
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