Portsmouth’s first free school will encourage kids to be philosophical

Staff and pupils at Fareham College celebrate

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PLANS are being put in place to open Portsmouth’s first free school.

The John Pounds Free School aims to be the first in the city to be set up under the government’s free school initiative.

The new primary would take on a different approach to teaching through Philosophy for Children, which offers a way to open up learning through dialogue, enquiry and the exploration of ideas.

Founder David Parkin, a teacher at Barncroft Primary School in Leigh Park, said: ‘The small, close-knit learning communities within the school will provide the best possible chance of achieving the high aspirations that we have for all children.

‘Our approach will be to mix traditional values with contemporary creativity to ensure a consistently high standard of inspirational teaching and learning.

‘It’s a brilliant chance for schools to be able to be run by people who are passionate about the local areas.

‘We want to get local businesses involved and get parents aware and want to get a buzz going so that we can provide that parental demand – that’s the key for the Department for Education to approve it.’

No location has been decided yet, although the area around the Tipner development has been mentioned as a possibility.

The school will offer 280 places.

It comes after The News reported last week about plans to expand Mayfield School to become an ‘all-through’ school, providing an extra 420 places for children aged between 4 and 11.

Mr Parkin added: ‘What this is about is providing the people of Portsmouth with a different choice which doesn’t exist in the city yet.

‘We want this to be open to everybody.

‘If there are parents who want to send their children to our school we want to provide a minibus service to take them to and from school, so it’s as open as possible.’

Businesses are being urged to get in touch to discuss how they might be able to help and support the school.

Parents are also being encouraged to share their views on the plans. A series of consultation events for prospective parents is being planned.

To find out more about the School and Philosophy for Children, please visit johnpoundsschool.org or call (023) 9299 0142.

John Pounds was born in Portsmouth on June, 17, 1766.

He was a teacher and was responsible for the creation of ‘ragged schools’ – charitable schools which gave free education to poor children.

Pounds became severely crippled in his mid-teens after he fell into a dry dock at Portsmouth dockyard, where he was a shipwright apprentice. He died on January 1, 1839.