£1.8m revamp plan for Portsmouth school

Mayfield School, North End.
Mayfield School, North End.

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INCORPORATING a primary school into one of the city’s main secondary schools will only drive up standards, a headteacher has said.

David Jeapes, head at Mayfield School in North End for the past 18 months, spoke of his plan which would see a £1.8m refurbishment and children able to attend the school for up to 12 years.

Mr Jeapes addressed a meeting of about 30 local residents about the plans, which are out for consultation.

He said teaching from the age of four to 16 was standard in independent schools and the concept could be transferred over to the state sector.

He said the school was going to grow to around 1,400 pupils over the next few years, regardless of the cash investment, which the city council has already approved.

‘The issue that Portsmouth faces is there’s a significant shortfall for school places for reception,’ he said.

‘It will mean rather than having 1,400 11 to 16 year olds, we have 1,400 four to 16 year olds.

‘That would create a much more focussed, less challenging, friendlier and more welcoming school.’

‘We don’t want our children travelling across the city going to school particularly in Year R.

‘We want our infant schools to be local so we can build a relationship with our parents and our children.’

He said building a new primary school could cost the council up to £15m.

He added: ‘From a council tax perspective, this is a good value for money scheme for the residents of Portsmouth.

‘An injection of £1.8m in the school will not just benefit the infant school but all the children in the school and ultimately the residents.

‘If we grow bigger as a secondary school it will be challenging to maintain the high standards we have set for ourselves.’

The plans, if approved, would mean an intake of 60 reception pupils in September 2014.

This would grow to a 420-place primary school over a seven-year period.

Residents spoke at the meeting of their concerns about lack of parking spaces in nearby roads as the school currently has no on-site parking.

Mr Jeapes said he was planning to open a 20-space car park at the back of the school for teachers.

The school day would be staggered – with children starting at different times – to avoid congestion problems.

Minibuses are planned to allow pick-up points for children to get to school.

Shower facilities will be provided as many staff said they would be willing to cycle to school rather than drive to free up parking spaces.

He added: ‘This money is not about digging foundations. We are talking about the current classrooms and refurbishing them so they are fit for purpose for a group of primary age children.’

Resident Janice Andrews, 57, of Mayfield Road, said: ‘From a resident’s point of view, there could be a parking issue, but it’s a marvellous idea. It should be incorporated more.’

Leslie Palmer, 77, also of Mayfield Road, said: ‘It seems to be a very good idea.

‘I have had parking issues since I came here in 1970 – it’s not changing.’

The consultation ends on July 13. To see the plans visit mayfield.portsmouth.sch.