Devastating floods threatened the future of a Southsea school

Country dancing at Mayville High School, 1973.
Country dancing at Mayville High School, 1973.
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In the concluding part of our history of Mayville High School, Southsea, we reach the year 2000 and an event which might have thrown its future into doubt.

The school marks its 120th anniversary this year and as part of the celebrations holds a garden party in June.

The opening of Mayvilles new hall, 1962.

The opening of Mayvilles new hall, 1962.

It was under the headship of Linda Owens in 2000 that events which could have threatened Mayville’s future, instead saw it being rebuilt.

In the autumn term failure of the storm pumps at Eastney coupled with heavy rain, meant what was first thought to be puddle caused by someone spilling a drink, was the start of a flood that would engulf the school.

The hall was destroyed as water poured in and wooden classrooms, home to pre-prep, were ruined by filthy water.

But thanks to the fortitude of Linda and staff, Mayville flourished with a new junior school and the pre-prep department being built as well as a new school hall with theatre facilities and a new dyslexia unit.

Headteacher Linda Owens in one of the condemned classrooms after the 2000 floods.

Headteacher Linda Owens in one of the condemned classrooms after the 2000 floods.

Linda decided to admit boys in 2002 and adopt a method of teaching Mayville called ‘co-education, separately’ with boys and girls being taught core subjects in separate parallel classes.

During her time at Mayville Linda ensured classes in early years, pre-prep, juniors and seniors were small allowing for individual attention.

She built a nursery where children benefited from specialist teachers in PE, dance, music, languages and IT, while thriving in a ‘home from home environment’.

Like her predecessors she believed strongly that ‘it is the happy child who learns’, and under her leadership pastoral care coupled with academic excellence were priorities.

Mayville girls during a PE lesson in Coronation Hall, 1953.

Mayville girls during a PE lesson in Coronation Hall, 1953.

Martin Castle’s years as headteacher from 2009 saw Mayville secure its own playing fields, more than 20 acres of green space at Eastney.

Linda returned as head for a brief spell in 2013 leading the whole school into a stage performance of Peter Pan at the King’s Theatre. BBC South filmed Mayville children being taught to fly by a specialist flight team.

When Linda finally felt it was time to hand over the reigns, former pupil Rebecca Parkyn took up the challenge in 2014. She fervently believes in Mayville’s ethos – academic excellence through nurture.

n The garden party to mark Mayville’s anniversary will be held at the school’s playing fields at Cockleshell Gardens, Eastney on June 24 from 2pm-4pm.