Portsmouth Academy welcomes boys for the first time

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WHEN Portsmouth Academy opened its doors for the new school year today, it also welcomed in about a hundred boys for the first time.

The former Portsmouth Academy for Girls, in Fratton, made the decision to admit both sexes two years ago.

The change has seen 200 new Year 7 pupils start this week, split evenly between boys and girls.

Principal Natalie Sheppard said the feeling at the school was one ‘of real excitement’.

She said: ‘Schools do evolve and grow, and what we will do is take the best of the school forward.

‘At the heart of the Portsmouth Academy for Girls was a feeling of family and community, and that won’t change.’

Principal Natalie Sheppard standing outside the school last year, with the academy's former name.

Principal Natalie Sheppard standing outside the school last year, with the academy's former name.

Only the new Year 7 pupils will have mixed-sex lessons, though the school is planning to expand its uptake of boys next year.

Ms Sheppard added: ‘We have hugely enjoyed getting to know all of our Year 7 students over the summer and look forward to seeing co-educational learning in our classrooms for the very first time.

‘There’s a new uniform for the boys as well as for the girls in Year 7. As a year group they’re really bonding together very well.’

The school is a member of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which sponsors four primary schools in Portsmouth.

These include Isambard Brunel Junior School, Newbridge Junior School, Meon Junior School and Moorings Way Infant School.