Portsmouth schools have improved dramatically and it’s down to caring and passionate staff – Verity Lush

Sir Ben Ainslie giving a talk to pupils at Mayfield School, alongside long-standing teacher Matt Stedman
Sir Ben Ainslie giving a talk to pupils at Mayfield School, alongside long-standing teacher Matt Stedman

This week, it is Teach Portsmouth Week, which is aiming to both boost recruitment of teachers in the city and celebrate some of the fantastic schools that we are lucky enough to have.

On Friday evening, there was an official awards ceremony, and all headteachers in Portsmouth were asked to nominate specific teams or adults in their schools whom they believe are deserving of acknowledgement for the work they do with the children and young adults in their care.

Sadly, I am writing this before Friday (deadlines!) so am unable to share some of the successes of the night, but given that – in education – the importance of praise is embedded, it seems only fitting that the educators get a little praise of their own.

The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child is never truer than in school.

From admin teams to support staff and teachers, from cleaners to caretakers and site managers, and teams who work tirelessly to provide a stimulating and safe environment in which our children can learn.

None of it could take place without all of these folk playing their own crucial part.

Schools in Portsmouth have improved dramatically over the past decade. Look at Mayfield School, look at the nurture groups run by schools such as Manor Infants and Nursery School.

Take the theme of nurture that has also then been taken up by Admiral Lord Nelson School in order to continue that care in secondary school for students who find the transition that bit harder.

Every day, the adults in school face difficulties, often because they are trying to help the youngsters with their own personal difficulties. But every day, up they get again and back in they go, determined to try, and try again. 

Teaching is the most passionate and rewarding profession that I can think of. I may be biased.

But if you are considering teaching or education as a career, then go for it. There can be few adults in the world who weren’t positively affected by an educator; be that person.

Go for it.

There’s a spirit and a beauty about our dear old Pompey

Much as we moan about the city – and there are parts that look truly grim – I do love Portsmouth.

There’s a strange industrial beauty when you drive in over the flyover and see the silhouettes of the cranes in the docks, and the sunset bleeding through the  sky like blotting paper behind them.

To have the sea so close, and the countryside so near, with both villages and other local cities in vast supply, makes us all rather fortunate.

There’s true community spirit that’s reminiscent of the days post-war when Charlotte Street was a hub of activity and everybody knew everybody else.

All cities and all areas have their moans but, generally, we are pretty lucky in Pompey. 

Hard work and practise can make us all better people

It seems more important than ever these days, perhaps because of the images of ‘perfect’ lives on social media, to remind kids that it’s okay to make mistakes.

 Growth-mindset is a current buzz-word, which itself can be off-putting, but when you realise that this simply means recognising that very few of us are born being great at anything, it begins to make sense.

David Beckham has always maintained that he was not a naturally skilled footballer – he had to work hard at it.

Lessons like these are crucial for kids. So next time you or someone else says, ‘I’m no good at maths/spelling, remind them it takes practise. We can all be better.