Baroness heaps praise on plans to extend Portsmouth school

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MORE schools should follow in the footsteps of Mayfield, the chairwoman of Ofsted has said on a visit to Portsmouth.

Baroness Sally Morgan paid a visit to Mayfield School to find out more about its plans to become an all-through school from September.

Chair of Ofsted Baroness Sally Morgan is shown around by the head of Mayfield School, Mr David Jeapes. 'Picture: Ruth Scammell

Chair of Ofsted Baroness Sally Morgan is shown around by the head of Mayfield School, Mr David Jeapes. 'Picture: Ruth Scammell

It means that children from the ages of four up to 16 can be educated in one place – and the school also has a nursery on site.

Baroness Morgan said: ‘I’ve come to see Mayfield because it’s a really interesting example of the type of school that we should be trying to encourage where children can have their whole school career in one school.

‘It’s particularly great for children in relatively disadvantaged communities. It seems to make a real difference.’

Baroness Morgan said she hopes all-through schools will prevent students from losing track of their education.

‘There’s a real danger, at the age of 11 in particular, of tailing off. Children can almost lose six months or even a year of their education while they adjust to a change of school,’ she said.

‘If you can have continuity then the results tend to be much better and the children tend to be much more settled and parents feel they have got a real understanding of what’s happening at school.

‘The independent sector has done this for many years but state schools have been slower to realise that this does produce better results and happier children in many cases.

‘I hope that this sets the trend for many other schools.’

Baroness Morgan was given a tour of the school.

The school will now accept children of primary and secondary age. A new two-form reception year for 60 pupils from September will grow to a 420-place primary school over seven years.

Headteacher David Jeapes added: ‘It’s a great honour that Sally has come down to visit Mayfield.

‘It’s great that the chairwoman of Ofsted gives us a thumbs-up for our direction of travel and hopefully more schools will heed Sally’s words and will consider the all-through route. Without the support of Portsmouth City Council, this wouldn’t have been achievable.

‘We’ve got a phased project so different sections will open at different times but we are absolutely ready for September and our first cohort of Year R pupils who will be going into new classrooms.’