Parents make a stand to keep girls out of Portsmouth school

PROPOSED CHANGES City of Portsmouth Boys' School
PROPOSED CHANGES City of Portsmouth Boys' School
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

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ANGRY parents have spoken passionately against plans for a boys-only school to start admitting girls.

As reported, City of Portsmouth Boys’ School, in Hilsea, is considering become coeducational.

The main factor behind the move is the fact only half of the 900 places are taken.

Last night, mums and dads got to have their say at a meeting led by Portsmouth City Council which explained more about the proposal, which has gone out for a consultation.

The mood was tense as many felt their sons were being discriminated against, since girls would still have the option of going to a single-sex school in the city – Portsmouth Academy for Girls in Fratton.

Leigh Bennett, 43, of Copnor, whose son Mason, 13, attends the boys’ school, said: ‘I don’t think it should be mixed.

‘Not because I particularly picked this school because it was an all boys school, but it teaches boys how they should be taught, in their way.

‘If girls were to come in, it would get in the way of their learning.

‘It’s not right for the school.’

Other parents said they chose it because it was a single-sex school, and if they wanted their child to go to a mixed one, they would have picked somewhere closer to home.

Karen Jeffery, 47, whose sons Harrison, 14, goes there, said: ‘I chose a boys school for a reason.

‘I don’t want my son having a distraction and boys learn differently.’

Pupil Reece Ellis-Imber, 12, said: ‘I am not happy about it.

‘Some of us actually want to go to a boys’ school, rather than a mixed one.’

The school says standards would go up if the change was made and that it would meet the need for more secondary school places in future years, especially when new homes are built in Tipner.

Headteacher Mike Smith said this was not the position he wanted to be in, but there was no choice since the majority of parents in Portsmouth weren’t interested in choosing his school.

Addressing the audience, Mr Smith said: ‘I describe this place as the best-kept educational secret in Portsmouth, and you found out and found something really good for your son.’

The consultation ends on April 4. Email comments to chris.williams@portsmouth.cc.gov.uk