Harlands Primary School

School History

Harlands County Primary School opened in 1964.

It is situated on the north-western edge of Haywards Heath.

The main school entrance is signposted and is in the centre of the building.  Following a request from WSCC to accept an additional class from September 2023, we now have 450 children in 15 classes (three in Reception, two classes in all other year groups).

Our classrooms are spacious and most overlook the school grounds. Each is equipped for ICT and linked to our computer network. In addition we have a large multi-purpose hall, a studio and a completely refurbished library.

There are now fifteen classes of around thirty children together with their teacher and teaching assistants. All classes are housed in the main building, with the school hall and office suite centrally located.

The school grounds are very beautiful and are bordered by mature woodland!

The school grounds are very beautiful and are bordered by mature woodland. There are three playgrounds; children in the Early Years Department have their own outside play area complete with a lawn and shady trees. We also have a large playing field suitable for a range of sporting activities, and benefit from the adjacent spacious playing field of Sussex Central College.

The whole site is secluded and away from traffic, surrounded by trees and private gardens. The school’s attractive natural environment is home to many species of wildlife (particularly birds, rabbits and squirrels) and the Friends of Harlands have provided the children with a safely fenced pond and garden area.

Sue Towns, a former teacher at Harlands, has written an excellent history of Harlands School to celebrate the fortieth anniversary in 2004, which may be obtained from the School Office.

 A Brief Timeline

1964 Harlands Primary School opened its doors to its first pupils on 8th September.
1965 Harlands officially opened - 10th February. Parent-Teacher Association and annual school fair established in June.
1968 Awarded 'Best Junior School Garden' in East Sussex. First residential visit - five days in Battle. Swimming pool built.
1971 Harlands selected as the foremost school in the Country for out-of-school activities.
1974 School’s 10th Birthday celebrations. Mr Peter Eastland retired as headmaster and was replaced by Mr Bill Rimington. 
1977 Queen's Silver Jubilee, May – Harlands held a Pageant with displays of gymnastics, country and Maypole dancing.
1979  First video recorder bought. 
1984  Mr Bill Rimington retired and was succeeded by Mr John Hilton. The Log Book recorded that there were three computers in the School.. 
1987  Hurricane damaged the school with the roof suffering 70% damage. 15th October.
1988 PTA renamed to 'Friends of Harlands'.
1990  Harlands' Silver Jubilee celebrations.
1996   An orchestra was founded in the School and the Grounds Project was launched.
1997  Mr John Hilton retired and was replaced by Mrs Helen Thorne.
1999 County Council closed all school kitchens.
2000 The School Council was established.
2001  Millennium Garden officially opened. The school won an 'Eco-Schools Award' and was presented with the European Eco-School Green Flag.
2002 Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrated with a Garden Party. Mrs Diana Ross, who had taught in Harlands for 25 years, retired.
2004  Harlands celebrated its 40th birthday.
2006  Mr Glyn Turner retired after more year's at Harlands than anyone can remember - but soon returned to take PE for year 5 on Wednesday afternoons!
2007 At last, all classes were finally in one building, and  the "temporary" huts  were demolished.  The "new building" was officially opened by Mrs Margaret Johnson, Chair of WSCC, on Tuesday 20th November 2007.
2008 Spring, and the area where the huts used to be was gradually turning green.  The school regained its ECO Schools Award.  Mrs Helen Thorne retired at the end of the year and was replaced by Mrs Jane Goodlace.
2009 For the first time in Harland's history, the school had to close unexpectedly on the last day of the Autumn term because of snow!  The school had to close again in early January for three days because of more bad weather.
2010 Mrs Jennie Adams joined the school as its new Deputy Head in April.  The Infant children had a big surprise when they returned in September as a massive climbing frame had been installed in their playground.   And everyone got caught out in early December when the school has to close for another three days because of snow.
2011  The school became very ECO friendly as letters to parents started to be sent home electronically.  Later in the year, donations for school events also started to be made electronically.
2012 In April a massive tree came down in the junior playground, fortunately when the school was closed.  The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was celebrated with a tea party. Olympic fever overtook the school in the summer term, even though Sports Day had to be postponed until September because of the appalling wet weather.
2014 Harlands converted to a stand-alone academy on Tuesday, 1st  April 2014.  It remains a state funded school, but not under local authority control.
2015  Throughout the year, the school celebrated its 50th Anniversary, culminating in a special garden party for staff and pupils past and present.  Everyone enjoyed music from "Mary Poppins" which was also celebrating its 50th birthday!
2017 In June children from the Nature Club attended the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show with Harlands' very special scarecrow "Hooty".  In the same week, the school choir staged a performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" at St Wilfrid's Church in the evening, the school having been notified in the morning that Ofsted would be visiting the next day.
2018 The "Beast from the East" in March gave all children ample opportunity to enjoy some fantastic building of snowmen on the school field.  The field proved useful in other respects later in the year when the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance made an unexpected landing to provide emergency assistance.  Harlands is always pleased to support the Air Ambulance in this way.
2019 Mrs Jane Goodlace retired on 31st December, and was replaced by Mr David McKeown-Webster as (Acting) Headteacher
2020 Friday, 20th March - the last "normal" school day before all schools in the UK were closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Children of key workers (health care, police, shopworkers, education etc) were still able to send children to school, but not for normal lessons.  Everyone else was working from home, and the school very rapidly initiated the use of a Virtual Learning Environment to support its families
June 2020 - Children in years R, 1 and 6 only were able to return to school in small bubbles of 15 children.

September 2020 - All children were able to return to school, but with many restrictions in place.  Arrival/departure and break times had to be staggered;  the children had to sit at their own desks;  lots of hand-washing needed to take place;  it was very unlike "normal" school but the children quickly settled into their new routines.


Mr David McKeown-Webster was appointed as substantive Headteacher on 30th September 2020


The children returned for one day on Monday, 4th January before the country went into a further complete lockdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Once again school was only open for the children of key workers, with everyone else working from home.  This time, however, Zoom and Google Meet were used for remote lessons, so children had a bit more contact with school and their friends, albeit using technology rather than face to face.


School then re-opened for everyone in March, and although it was not possible to have many external visitors , during the summer term at least the children were able to go on a few trips to outdoor venues, and our Year 6 children were able to enjoy a visit to the Isle of Wight.



The 2021/22 Academic Year saw a return of something much closer to normality, although at times there were lot of children (and staff) away with Covid, and classes were working in a restricted environment.  We were not able to invite parents into school for events such as the Christmas Nativities, but technology came to the rescue again, and the children were pleased to be able to share their performances via video.


As we moved into the Spring/Summer, it gradually became possible to open up more and school trips, PTA events and even Sports Day were able to take place as normal, with parents once again able to come and help in school.


2022/23 was a "normal" year, with our full quota of school trips, PTA events etc.  Of particular note was a very different Christmas Fair, held outside in the format of a Christmas Market, on a Friday night after school.  


One of the more interesting developments in the year was that WSCC asked the school if it would be able to take an additional Reception class, starting in September 2023.  This entailed lots of preparation around the school over the August 2023 break, to convert our IT suite to a classroom, plus lots of other exciting enhancements

September 2023

School has re-opened with a record 450 children on roll, with three classes in Reception, and two classes in all other year groups.  We have a lovely refurbished Infant playground, complete with a new play fort (thank you to the PTA), and the school library has also undergone a massive facelift, again thanks to the PTA.