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Personally speaking - 'My high-wire ordeal made pupils laugh'

Who has been your biggest influence?

My dad - he reminds me to work hard and strive for the best I can achieve.

What has been your career high so far?

Becoming part of the senior management team at St Piers. It's a privilege to work with such a hard-working group and to be led by a very talented deputy head, June Atkins.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

Getting stuck on a high-wire during a trip in my training year. I'm terrified of heights and the Year 4 students were left sniggering while the instructor climbed up to get me.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

I can always hear my mum's words, "Head up and shoulders back." I think she was telling me to show no fear - something key in teaching.

What is the most outrageous thing a colleague has done?

There have been too many to pick from. I've seen staff dressed as sumo wrestlers ballet dancing and the deputy head and principal singing Barbie Girl.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

Dissect the week over wine with friends and boyfriend.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

The Isle of Mull, for a bit of peace and quiet.

What was the last book you read?

The Power of One by Bryce Courtney.

Are you tech savvy or a Luddite?

Definitely tech savvy. My boyfriend, an IT technician, wouldn't let me be anything else.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

All my students fill me with pride. Many suffer from severe epilepsy and other medical conditions. Regardless, they work so hard and are the happiest, most special students I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

What was the worst excuse you have ever heard?

"Dad put it in his briefcase and he's on a business trip."

What would you be if you hadn't become a teacher?

I didn't have a Plan B. I wanted to be a paramedic, but as I pass out at the sight of blood, not the best career idea.

Anna Barratt is a teacher and member of the senior management team at St Piers School in Surrey, a specialist school run by the National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy.

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