PLANS to end all-boys education in Portsmouth have been approved.
The City of Portsmouth Boys’ School will start taking girls from September next year after being a single-sex establishment for nearly four decades.
It was the only premises in the city offering an education solely for male students.
The decision was taken by Councillor Neill Young, Conservative cabinet member for children and education, at a meeting yesterday.
Yet no-one outside the council – aside from The News – heard the decision, even though the results of a consultation into the plans revealed 44 people were against, compared to 38 being in favour.
The majority in opposition were parents whose children go to the school.
Cllr Young said he had taken everyone’s views into consideration and would have listened to parents further if they had turned up and spoken.
‘We should always be listening to the views of parents but it’s interesting that they didn’t feel the need to make deputations,’ he said.
Only boys taken on next year will be taught with girls and the rest will continue in single-sex classrooms until they leave.
‘There was always concern that parents were concerned, but what we have done is ensure most of the children in the school will continue to have single-sex provisions for the rest of their schooling at City Boys,’ Cllr Young said.
The council says the move will improve educational standards and ensure more school places are filled.
Cllr Young said: ‘The school is under-performing and we need to ensure we drive up standards across the city.’
Councillors agreed the estimated £625,000 cost of creating changing rooms and toilets for girls was too high and the council needed to seek cheaper estimates.
If the council can’t find an organisation to cover the costs it will have to pay up.
Cllr Rob Wood, Lib Dem opposition spokesman for children and education, said: ‘This is the right thing to do.
‘But the price figure seems a heck of a lot.’
The school is set to become an academy next January.
While city leaders hope the school will become a specialist technical college, no decision over that has been made yet, nor has there been one over any new name.