Joanne Summerfield,
head teacher
A happy place to be
In 2013 Harehills Primary School was deemed to need
improvement. Joanne Summerfield became head teacher in
September 2014 and just over a year later Ofsted judged the
school’s performance as “good” overall and “outstanding”
for leadership and management. With 735 pupils and a staff
of over 100, Harehills Primary School is one of the largest in
England. It serves a deprived inner-city area of Leeds and is very
diverse with 22 ethnic groups speaking 42 different languages.
Almost 550 children speak English as an additional language.
The success of Harehills Primary School has been driven by
Joanne’s introduction of a motto, “Learn, Laugh, Love”, and the
belief that if children laugh and have fun when they are learning
and love being at school, then they will learn and achieve to the
best of their ability. Here she explains the school’s journey and
how she is sustaining its growth.
Achieving together
Achieving a “good” judgement from Ofsted for overall effectiveness and an
“outstanding” judgment for the “Effectiveness of leadership and management”
and “Personal development, behaviour and welfare” was an incredible validation
for our staff team, children, their families and the Harehills community. The
external recognition of the high-quality educational provision we offer has been
pivotal in maintaining ambition and motivation for all.
»Head teacher:
Joanne Summerfield
»Based in Leeds
»Type of school: Primary school
»No. of pupils: 735
»No. of staff: 108
»Ofsted: “Good”, with
“outstanding” for leadership
and management; and personal
development, behaviour and
welfare, November 2015
»Progress: 2017 – Maths
progress in top 10 per cent;
reading and writing in top 20
per cent of schools in England
»Motto: “Learn, Laugh, Love”
Harehills Primary
Highlighting best practice
Harehills Primary School is on a
continuous journey of development.
The momentum created has
enabled change, resulting in further
achievements, such as the Investors
in People Silver award, Investors in
Pupils and Healthy Schools status
reaccreditation, and MindMate
Friendly status. So what has made the
Creating the right environment
with the right people
This is something that doesn’t just
happen. We have worked hard to
create an environment where everyone
feels safe, cares for each other and is
exceptionally warm and welcoming.
Developing outstanding leadership
at all levels has been fundamental in
ensuring our school continues to go
from strength to strength. Our leaders
are ultimate role models, inspiring the
teams they lead by communicating the
vision and having high expectations.
They are utterly determined that all
children have equal opportunities to
achieve. This is demonstrated by our
excellent outcomes for progress.
The staff team are key to the success
of our school. We have fostered
a fantastic ethos where all staff
are supportive, friendly, happy,
approachable and know our children
and families very well. This ensures
everyone feels safe and valued. We
have worked hard to develop our
staff’s determination, energy and
resilience by prioritising staff wellbeing
during this period of unprecedented
change in education.
Building positive relationships is
essential: staff-staff, staff-pupil, pupil-
pupil and staff-parents-pupils. We
have a relationships policy instead of a
behaviour policy which is founded on
the principles of restorative practice.
Everything is built around a structure
that fosters quality relationships,
enables effective communication and
positively reinforces good behaviour.
We are proud of the fact that our
children behave exceptionally well,
not because they have to, but because
they choose to.
All staff are organised into “circles of
influence” (teams consisting of a range
of staff from across school, including
senior and middle leaders, teachers,
teaching assistants and pastoral and
other support staff) that enable leaders
to share key messages, establish
ownership of school priorities and
encourage a staff voice.
Our Harehills family
The staff team
are key to the
success of our
Seniorandmiddle leaders drive
teams to develop subjects and
aspects. Creative initiatives such as
staff buddies for year 6 children also
contribute to positive relationships.
Pupil voice is integral to the running
of our school and is a real focus for
moving the school forward. There
are a high number of roles and
responsibilities given in every class
to enable our children to value and
understand how they can contribute
to the whole school environment. We
have MindMate Ambassadors, School
Councillors, School Food Ambassadors
and Playground Friends. Our children
are proud to belong to our school
community. Willing teamwork
and joint purpose resonates in the
outstanding behaviour and exemplary
attitude of all our children.
Our children understand that coming
to school every day helps them realise
their dreams. This dedicated focus on
sustaining high levels of attendance
has had a very positive impact on the
achievement of our children. Our staff
team really do go the extra mile to care
and support our children, removing
any potential barriers that may prevent
them coming to school.
We have used our pupil premium
grant to fund a skilled and experienced
Pastoral Hub team who offer support
such as “Rise and Shine” club and
targeted attendance groups. The
Harehills curriculum is ever evolving.
We aim to inspire and engage our
children through an enquiry-led
thematic approach, offering real life
Every half term we focus on key
learning behaviours:
Having these attributes in their toolkit
for life helps everyone to achieve and
A strong emphasis on personal, social
and health education underpins the
curriculum. Emotional wellbeing is
fundamental and a whole-school
approach to behaviour and wellbeing
ensures all our children are supported
to behave well and to develop their
emotional literacy skills.
Celebrating learning is something
that is essential here and you’ll find
abundant impressive examples of
displays which highlight the array
of opportunities available to all
our children. We are focused on
improving outcomes for all children
and “building tomorrow’s community
today”. We are driven to produce
good citizens with real life skills and
“can do” attitudes. If we can stand
back and say confidently that our
children leave Harehills Primary School
ready for the next stage of their
learning journey and for what life
expects of them, then we can quite
rightly say, “Job well done!”
We are
focused on
outcomes for
all children
and “building
Learning from the time
we wake up