Academy schools on the up in Portsmouth as 20 per cent convert

Portsmouth City Council interim head of education Julien Kramer. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141278-582)
Portsmouth City Council interim head of education Julien Kramer. Picture: Allan Hutchings (141278-582)

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ONE in five schools in Portsmouth will be an academy by the end of the year.

Portsmouth City Council statistics show that 15 of the 67 schools in the city will have converted by December – if they haven’t already. Five are secondary schools.

Academies are state-funded schools which are directly funded by central government, and are independent of direct control of the local authority.

Some academy schools have a sponsor and receive additional funding from them.

Julien Kramer is interim head of education at the council and has put his support behind academies insisting they add extra capacity to education in the city.

He said: ‘Academies are a good thing and part of what we do.

‘An academy is still a strong school.

‘Whatever you call a school, it’s educating our children.’

Mr Kramer said the council doesn’t stop working with schools if they choose to convert.

‘I work to keep the partnership going.

‘I meet with the different groups and we plan together,’ he said.

‘It’s a different way of working but it should strengthen the provision we have in our city.

‘By the end of this year, more than half of our secondary schools will be academies.

‘What they do is they add extra capacity.

‘It doesn’t mean that they are phased away. We are working together to drive up standards.’

Mr Kramer said he views academies simply as a different way of teaching and learning.

‘We’re still educating Portsmouth children but we get more impact, more capacity and faster progress,’ he said.

‘If they are educating our children, we will find out what they need. We will ask them to be open in the way they work with us.

‘We want academies to develop good local roots.

‘We don’t want someone just taking some money and leaving.

‘We want them to invest in Portsmouth beyond the academy school.

‘We want to work with people who have got a track record of success.’

Councillor Neill Young, cabinet member for children and education at the council, added: ‘It’s important to get a mixed economy.

‘Every child learns in a different way.

‘It’s important that in Portsmouth we have schools which reflect those different learning styles and reflect the needs of the children.

‘They are a good idea where they are required. If they help drive up standards that can only be a good thing.’

But parent Jon Woods said: ‘I’m extremely concerned about them. Academies come out of the local authority control.

‘I believe that schools are part of an education service.

‘I have always thought that an education service should be managed on a city wide basis under the local authority.’

The 15 schools set to convert or which have already converted are:

Admiral Lord Nelson School, Copnor

Beacon View Primary School, Paulsgrove

Charles Dickens Primary School, Landport

Charter Academy, Southsea

City of Portsmouth Girls School, Fratton

Cliffdale Primary School, North End

Flying Bull Primary School, Buckland

Isambard Brunel Junior School, North End

Lyndhurst Junior School, North End

Mary Rose School, Milton

Miltoncross School, Milton

Newbridge Junior School

Priory School, Southsea

Somers Park Primary School, Somers Town

The Victory School, Paulsgrove