DAVID Cameron has praised Portsmouth after visiting a school in the city.
He was there to learn of its achievements and how it has become one of the most improved schools in the country.
It was during his visit that he made his commitment to live up to his promise of protecting the city’s shipyard and retaining its use as a hub for manufacturing.
Mr Cameron was greeted at the school gates by year 10 student George Carnell and head girl Brittanni Carvell and met with cheers in the playground by pupils.
The Conservative leader also took the time to sign autographs and wave to children as he passed by.
He then spoke to pupils in a classroom afterwards and heard of their experiences of life at the school.
Mr Cameron’s visit came on the same day the government announced an initiative to help drive up failing schools, and Charter Academy is being set as an example for others.
A new rescue package is being put in place giving the country’s eight regional school commissioners new powers to intervene early to ensure all pupils are getting the education they need to reach their full potential.
The local education experts, who include former headteachers, will be able to instruct schools to implement new policies on standards, discipline and leadership.
The policies will be developed after consultation with the sector and based on proven interventions that have already helped other schools to improve.
Talking about what is needed to help improve failing schools, Mr Cameron said: ‘It’s about having good leadership and teaching, and that’s what we have here at Charter Academy. We are sitting in a school that had zero pupils getting A to C grades at GCSEs, now it is going on to achieve 80 per cent and that is an extraordinary achievement.’
Julien Kramer, interim head of education at Portsmouth City Council, said it was good that work was being done to continue improving standards.
‘The council supports the latest government initiative to improve education through creating a powerful standards drive under a regional commissioner; and by using leading teachers to drive change,’ he said. ‘We are already doing some good work through leading practitioners here, and are keen to do more.’
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: ‘We have witnessed a revolution in school standards over the past four years, with more young people being taught in good or outstanding schools today than ever before.
‘But there is more to do, and the next phase of the plan must go further and faster in targeting the schools where failure has become ingrained.’
Principal reveals her pride in Charter after PM’s praise
THE principal of Charter Academy has spoken of her pride in her school after it was held up as a shining example to others by the Prime Minister.
Dame Sharon Hollows said it was an honour to be recognised by David Cameron for the tireless work the school has done to drive up standards.
She said: ‘I am really pleased for the children and the staff and the parents that all of their hard work and achievements have been recognised at such a high level.
‘The Prime Minister was really interested in knowing about our children and our staff.
‘We are really proud of our achievements, it’s what we expected and what we worked towards.
‘We have just opened our sixth form and we will be continuing to work with the students within key stages three and four and we are now looking to make sure we are seeing that through to university level and helping sixth formers with their careers.’
Charter Academy’s head girl Brittanni Carvell, 15, and year 10 student George Carnell, 15, said they were really appreciative of the Prime Minister’s comments and were proud to greet him.
Brittanni said: ‘It set a really good example for the school.
‘It’s not every day that sort of thing happens.
‘Lots of pupils got the chance to meet Mr Cameron.
‘He came in and met us all and said about how well we have done and how proud he was of the school.
‘He was genuinely quite proud of what we have achieved and that means a lot to us.’
George said: ‘It means a lot to me.
‘It wasn’t just a normal person coming into the school - it was the Prime Minister.
‘It’s quite a big person to come and visit you and it shows how well the school has done.
‘If he has noticed, then you know you have done quite well.’
Mr Cameron went on to visit the Beneficial Foundation in Fratton after.