Portsmouth schools could clinch £6.6m jackpot in boost to city education

Interim head of school at The Portsmouth Academy Rachel Grey with Portsmouth City Council education head Councillor Neill Young 'Picture: Sarah Standing (170142-2204)
Interim head of school at The Portsmouth Academy Rachel Grey with Portsmouth City Council education head Councillor Neill Young 'Picture: Sarah Standing (170142-2204)
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MILLIONS of pounds could be injected into city schools to help transform education and provide hundreds of extra places for students to learn, The News can reveal.

Council education officials want to set aside £6.6m of the 2017/2018 capital budget – money stashed away for building projects – on a major expansion programme.

The promise of significant city council funding to provide more school places at The Portsmouth Academy is extremely exciting.

Rachel Grey, interim head of school at The Portsmouth Academy

Project bosses want The Portsmouth Academy, Springfield School, Admiral Lord Nelson School and Charter Academy to benefit most from the money.

Some of the fund would go towards maintaining other school sites.

And headteachers say they’re excited by the prospect of more money going into education to ensure more students can learn and achieve.

Rachel Grey, interim head of school at The Portsmouth Academy, sponsored by the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said: ‘The promise of significant city council funding to provide more school places at The Portsmouth Academy is extremely exciting.

‘As a school that achieved best-ever GCSE results last year, we’re already very popular, and when we go co-ed from this September, there will be even greater demand.

‘We are proud to be a school of choice for local parents.’

Unveiling the strategy, Tory education boss, Councillor Neill Young, said: ‘Education has been the council’s main priority in recent years, and these proposals show our continued commitment to investing in our schools to make sure Portsmouth’s children have the best chance of getting a good education.

‘This is the bricks-and-mortar part of our improvement and expansion plans, and aims to raise standards in English and maths by improving the learning environment.

‘It goes hand in hand with projects to attract more teachers to the city and raise children’s aspirations and attainment.’

The school improvement schemes are going to be considered as part of the council’s capital budget, which invests in a range of infrastructure schemes throughout the city like buildings and facilities, rather than the day-to-day running of services that have to be financed through a separate revenue budget.

In total, the capital budget will include more than £20m of council spending in the city towards schemes with a total value of more than £150m. As reported, £8m of that could be put into a pot that already holds £4.5m for a new road scheme to spark regeneration in the city centre.

The full fund would then be taken to the government in the hope it will award another £24m needed for the full transport scheme.

It would see roundabouts south of the M275 taken out and a smoother one-way system around Market Way, unlocking land split up by the road for development, which could bring to life a revised version of the collapsed Northern Quarter retail shopping complex plan.

The council’s cabinet will review the budget proposals at a meeting on February 9, before they go to the full council on February 14.