THE principal of an all-girls’ school has expressed her sadness at plans for it to lose its single-sex status.
The Portsmouth Academy for Girls, in Fratton, has announced plans for boys to be admitted from September 2017.
The appetite for single sex education isn’t there as much as it used to beNatalie Sheppard, principal
It comes following a lack of demand for single-sex education in Portsmouth.
It means there will no longer be any single-sex state schools in the city.
Natalie Sheppard, principal at Portsmouth Academy for Girls, said the school needed to help with the demand for places in the city.
‘It’s a shame. The staff and I have felt sad about it,’ she said. ‘I came here to lead a girls’ school.
‘But despite the improvement in the school, we haven’t seen enough parents coming back. We have to be sustainable. The biggest thing is the pressure for places in Portsmouth. We need to help the council to provide these places.
‘The appetite for single-sex education isn’t there as much as it used to be.’
But Ms Sheppard said it should be seen as a step forward.
‘It’s fantastic for the school and we want to be able to open our doors to all the children who want to come to us,’ she added. Ms Sheppard said all girls currently at the school and girls who start next September will continue to have a single-sex education.
Lessons in maths and science will also be taught separately for boys and girls.
Simon McNab, 49, from Winter Road in Southsea, has a 12-year-old daughter at the school. He said: ‘I feel cheated and disappointed.
‘It’s a very sad day for the city of Portsmouth, especially when the continued success of Portsmouth High School proves that there is demand for girls-only education in Portsmouth.’
Portsmouth Academy for Girls will also be opening an annex to accommodate Year 6 pupils from nearby Newbridge Junior School, which also wants to increase its numbers.
Ms Sheppard added: ‘This gives us the opportunity to start working with children when they are younger and gives them better learning experiences.
‘It’s a chance for us to become a bigger and closer community right in the heart of Portsmouth and that’s really exciting.’
Trafalgar School in Hilsea, formerly known as the City of Portsmouth Boys’ School, became co-educational this week.