THE last girls-only school in Portsmouth not under private ownership has drawn up plans to start admitting boys.
Portsmouth Academy for Girls in St Mary’s Road, Fratton, is consulting staff, parents and pupils about the possibility of becoming co-educational.
I would like to remain an all-female school but from a council perspective, I can’t see how that would be practical.Ukip councillor Julie Swan
It would change its name to The Portsmouth Academy to reflect the mixed intake.
School bosses say the move would provide parents with ‘enhanced choices’ when choosing the right place of education for their child.
It comes after the decision was made to end all-boys education in Portsmouth.
The City of Portsmouth Boys’ School will start taking girls from September after being a single-sex establishment for nearly four decades.
Natalie Sheppard, principal of Portsmouth Academy for Girls, said: ‘We’re working with the local authority to ensure our offer meets the needs of the city.
‘This is an exciting opportunity for parents who like the idea of sending their child to a school which places thinking at the heart of the curriculum.
‘A large proportion of staff have experience of teaching in mixed settings and it would be wonderful to be able to open our doors to all the children in the local area.’
Fratton’s Ukip ward councillor Julie Swan said she was sad to see the proposal put forward – but that there is a shortage in school places for both boys and girls.
‘It’s a shame as the girls’ school performs extremely well, gets great results and the students are happy,’ she said.
‘I would like it to remain an all-female school but from a council perspective, I can’t see how that would be practical.’
The consultation is open until Friday, May 1.
Consultation documents are available on the school website at pafg.org.uk or can be requested from the school office.
There is a public meeting over the plans at the academy from 5.30pm on Monday, March 23, and more informal drop-ins will take place until April.
Newbridge Juniors, which is linked to the academy, is also consulting over plans to have year six pupils on site.
The development will make it easier for the schools – also connected with Isambard Brunel Junior – to share resources.