VERITY LUSH: The Portsmouth schools which have put pride back in the classroom

St Edmund's School pupils celebrating their Ofsted report
St Edmund's School pupils celebrating their Ofsted report
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A new school term. Freshly sharpened pencils, creaky new school shoes and a clean page on which to start afresh.

In this city plenty of teachers will be heading back to some great schools, a fact that sometimes goes unrecognised.

If you compare the education on offer in Portsmouth now to that of the early 1980s you can see just how far we have come.

These days, it is harder and harder to achieve in the UK.

The government, by way of Ofsted criteria, exam content, Sats and lack of funding, throws every obstacle it can find at our education system.

But despite this continual moving of the goalposts, local schools are continuing to improve and excel.

Just take Mayfield, Portsmouth Academy and St Edmund’s as examples. Read their Ofsted reports.

Look at Manor Infant School, Buckland, where a new headteacher was brought in after the school fell into special measures. It has now received a Good grading from Ofsted and a report that is a pleasure to read.

And this is not just down to the teachers. A great school needs a great team.

At Manor Infants you find rigorous leaders who are backed up by a fantastic group of individuals ranging from admin staff, to site staff, support staff to nursery and teaching staff, and – most critically – a community that really cares.

The children who attend the school, and their families, take a real pride in the school.

There is a sense of true community and support and without all of this no real progress can ever be made.

In order to take a school from the Special Measures Ofsted report of 2013, to the report that is clearly at the top end of Good, you need not only a headteacher with a vision, and staff who share this, but you also need the support of your children and their families.

At the end of the day, our education system is about all of us and our futures, and the futures of those we love, and those who are not yet even born.


My eldest daughter has started secondary school.

She has settled well, has had the obligatory school uniform photos taken and put on social media, and seems extremely happy. Long may that continue.

Given that we spend more time at school as children than we do with our families, it is a massive concern as a parent that our children will be happy.

Having known their whereabouts every second since conception, it can be very daunting to send them off into the education system, ready to get spat back out 14, or even 18 years, later.

This is hard to deal with, so good luck to all the mums and dads out there who are depositing their little ones into Year R.


The news at the moment is nothing short of terrifying.

Images of North Korea and of Kim Jong-un laughing gaily while hovering over a nuclear warhead, is the stuff of nightmares.

There he stands with his aides, all merrily stroking the missiles, beaming with patriotic pride at the destruction and devastation that rests below his pudgy little hand.

The maniacal look and glee, beamed around the world for all to see, is reminiscent of a despot character from a kids’ cartoon.

But this is no cartoon, this is life. Real life.

As civilians, we place our faith in our leaders to protect us.

But truth be told they’ll all be tucked up in bunkers while we fight at the fore.