Portsmouth "prison" school ambushed by “intruders” and locked down as pupil attacked

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A Portsmouth school was suddenly ambushed by “intruders” in a “concerning” incident that led to it being locked down on Monday after a pupil was attacked.

The Portsmouth Academy The Portsmouth Academy
The Portsmouth Academy | Google street view

Staff and security at The Portsmouth Academy sprang into action when three teenage boys, not from the school, sprinted onto the grounds and assaulted a boy after a chase. The assailants left the St Mary’s Road, Fratton, school before police attended - with an investigation now underway to catch those behind the brazen invasion. It comes as the school was dubbed a "prison" by a worried parent following new security measures introduced in the autumn amid spiralling trouble.

A police spokesperson said: “We were called to a report of a common assault on a teenage boy at The Portsmouth Academy shortly after 3pm yesterday (Monday 5 February). The three suspects, also believed to be teenage boys, were not pupils at the academy. The victim was thankfully uninjured. Officers continue to investigate the incident and enquiries remain ongoing at this time.”

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The incident caused alarm among staff and pupils at the school - with the academy moving to restore confidence. Stuart Gardner, chief executive officer of The Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which runs the city school, said in a letter to parents: “There was an incident after school (On Monday) that I want to inform you of. As students left school this afternoon, a small number of individuals ran through the school entrance on St Mary’s Road and into the school buildings.

“The security team took immediate action, and the trespassers then left the school site. To keep our students and staff safe, we also locked down the school for a short period of time and called the police who attended to take statements and collect the CCTV footage of the incident. 

“We are pleased to share that all staff and pupils are safe, and no damage was done to school property. This is thanks to the quick actions of our team as well as the robust security measures we have in place which worked as they should. We would also like to thank our pupils for their mature behaviour and conduct during this time. 

“We understand that this incident may cause students and parents to be concerned. I want to reassure you that we have a significant staff presence at the entrances to the school in the morning and afternoon. Staff were able to intervene quickly to ensure the intruders left the building. 

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“We are working closely with the police to identify the intruders and support them in taking appropriate action. As this is now a live police investigation, we do not have any further information that we can share with you at this time but please be assured that the safety of our school is of the utmost importance to us.”

A worried parent said: “There has also been a horrendous amount of assaults and fights. Horrific videos are circulating on social media. There will be a fatality if this carries on.”

The school was recently branded a "prison" by a parent after new security measures were introduced including higher school fences, CCTV and security from external firm Vespasian to “monitor the perimeter, corridors and CCTV to ensure all pupils, families and staff can safely enjoy a calm and respectful school environment”. The academy’s principal Natalie Sheppard, speaking in November, said the new security measures were to combat disruptive behaviour from some students. An emergency Ofsted inspection was carried out following concerns.

The incident at the academy comes following a number of worrying incidents at schools across the area. Last week the Priory School in Southsea was forced to deal with a gang climbing a fence and assaulting a man. At Bay House School in Gosport a girl was rushed to hospital with a serious head injury following an assault in November which saw a girl arrested for grievous bodily harm.