New education partnership in Portsmouth aims to boost job prospects for adults

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Headteacher  Colin Rainford and pupils celebrate a good Ofsted report at Hayling College     Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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THE spark to inspire scores of adults in Portsmouth to come back to education has been ignited in the city.

That’s the view of the head of an archaeology group, which has joined an innovative scheme aimed at boosting education for disadvantaged adults.

Chris Brayne, chief executive of Wessex Archaeology, is hoping to give people a better future by looking into the past.

His group has joined the Workers’ Educational Association in a bid to improve English and maths skills by giving people the chance to study archaeology.

‘This is about starting that first spark and getting people involved in education,’ said Chris during the partnership launch at the Omega Centre, in Omega Street, Southsea.

He added: ‘It’s been tremendous seeing so many people here today, coming out on a Monday morning.

‘With the storm brewing in their back garden we could have been looking at an empty hall.’

Visitors had the chance to inspect a range of archeological finds from across the area.

There was everything from a Second World War German Luftwaffe machine gun, to 2,000-year-old Roman coins, a 40,000-year-old axe and even a mammoth bone that could date back as far as 500,000 years.

Among the guests to welcome the partnership were Portsmouth South MP, Flick Drummond and the city’s Lord Mayor Frank Jonas.

Addressing the crowd, Cllr Jonas said he was fascinated by the concept and that the city already had a rich heritage of archaeological finds, including Henry VIII’s Mary Rose.

Mrs Drummond added: ‘I think this is an incredibly exciting idea.

‘It’s exactly what we need to be doing – helping people into education.

‘I was incredibly impressed by what’s on offer.’

It’s hoped the course will not only boost confidence in maths and English, but also help to improve people’s job prospects.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of WEA, said Portsmouth was the ideal place to test the initiative.

‘It’s a city of extremes with some educationally disadvantaged adults in it,’ she said.

‘But there are plenty of places nearby of historical value like Salisbury and Stonehenge.

‘So I think it’s a fantastic test bed.’

For more information about the course, contact the Omega Centre by calling (023) 9229 1346 or visiting