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Mrs Leanne Harris



Dear Parents and Carers,

I would like to introduce myself to those of you I have not had the opportunity to meet over the last twelve months, and also to tell you all a little bit more about myself.

I am originally from Halifax, West Yorkshire. I moved south twelve months ago as I wanted to spread my wings and fly from the green hills of Yorkshire, and I chose Surrey as my new destination.

Since my primary school days, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I loved my years at primary school and admired all my teachers for their hard work and love for the children in their care.

I worked hard at senior school and went on to study at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, for four years, achieving a BA in Primary Education with a specialism in Science. I enjoyed every aspect of the degree course, as I was working for a purpose, which was to achieve my end goal of becoming a primary teacher.

I was fortunate to be offered a job at the school where I did my final teaching placement, which was St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Halifax. I then spent the first year of my new career rapidly learning to swim, as I had been thrown in at the deep end!

In my first year I taught Year 4, and I also took on SENCO responsibility for an interim period in order to get child in my class a Statement of Special Educational Needs for Dyslexia.  Through this daunting experience, I developed a passion to discover new ways to break down the barriers to children's learning.

Next, my talent for ICT was discovered, and I was asked to build a tracking system that would monitor the achievement and progress of every child in the school, so no child could inadvertently be left behind; something again I am very passionate about. Once up and running, many other schools, consultants and professionals, came to look and see what this system was able to show. Through this, the school was awarded the accolade ‘Lead Assessment School’ and we would present the system at conferences and workshops. Following this, I was given responsibility for Assessment and ICT across the school.

In November 2005, the school was given a pilot, no-notice inspection by Ofsted. As we said, 'they saw us exactly as we were' and thankfully the school was awarded 'Outstanding'. A huge honour and one we were all very proud of.

After four years of teaching Year 4, I was asked if I would make the move to Year 6. I was told it would be ‘good for my career’, so I agreed. At first I found it a hard move, because I thought the focus would be on preparing the children for their SATs, and not on the creative way I loved to teach. However I found many opportunities to give them creative experiences, and in the end I loved teaching Year 6, and I constantly aimed to make their last year their best!

During my time in Year 6, my Headteacher was asked to support other schools in the area. Eventually she became the Executive Head of another Catholic school and consequently we needed to increase leadership responsibilities within our school. I was appointed as Assistant Head, and was given responsibility for Gifted and Talented pupils, ICT, Assessment and Key Stage Two.

Later on, our deputy head acquired a new job as a Headteacher, so I was then asked by the governors to become Acting Deputy Head. During the autumn term they advertised the position, but I didn’t apply as I had an urge to spread my wings.

During the same term, my Headteacher broke her wrist and I was asked to act up as Headteacher. Through all of this, I still had full responsibility of Year 6 and was teaching as much as I possibly could. The children were my priority. Eventually, we appointed a new Deputy Head and my Headteacher's wrist recovered, so I reverted back to being Assistant Head and class teacher of Year 6.

When I started my teaching career, I never saw myself as management material; I just wanted to teach. But through my leadership experiences, I realised the children were always still at the forefront.  I now feel able to help them fully, as working with staff, parents and the wider community is equally as important. That is why now, I not only love teaching, but also the responsibility that leadership brings.

Last year, I made the decision to move south, and I genuinely believe someone was looking out for me!  I arrived at St Anne's to a community filled with such special people. The children are so conscientious in every way possible; the staff are unbelievable, and work so hard to deliver the best education to your children. Also, the parents and wider community couldn't have been more welcoming.

It has been a whirlwind of a twelve months; I have learnt so much more about my job and myself, and I have enjoyed every single minute.

When Miss Coleman announced her retirement in January, my heart just sank. In the short time I have known her I have seen what an inspirational lady she is, and the thought of not working and learning anymore from her was so upsetting. However, with the opportunity that has arisen, I again believe someone must be looking out for us somewhere/ somehow, because this unbelievable opportunity is one the whole staff, Mrs Murphy and I are so looking forward to.

We are all so very grateful for the on-going support Miss Coleman is willing to offer, and we have every intention of carrying on all her amazing legacy of helping the school, the children, the staff and yourselves grow and develop on their own journeys!

Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I hope to meet more and more of you over the next few months. My door will always be open, and I will do my very best with Mrs Murphy and the amazing team, for you all and your children.

All the very best and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Kind regards

Leanne Harris