The Portsmouth Academy, located in Fratton, received a highly complimentary report by the Inspector and has maintained its Good rating. The school is part of the high-performing Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which leads 17 successful primary and secondary schools in Medway, Kent, Plymouth and Portsmouth.
Highlights from the report included praising staff for “being knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects, which engages and motivates pupils.” The inspector commented that the school’s leaders are determined that every pupil makes a strong and confident start to their education, both in terms of academic success and their wider development. Impressively, the inspector said, “Leaders are knowledgeable and well informed. They engage fully with staff. They work hard to take account of staff’s pressures and workloads. Governors and trustees are committed and experienced.”
Ofsted also commended the curriculum and attitude to learning at the school, stating “The curriculum is closely aligned to the national curriculum. It is suitably augmented to address the gaps caused by the pandemic” and “relationships between teachers and pupils are particularly strong.” Learning in lessons was said to be calm and purposeful and complemented by interesting trips and visits.
The inspector went on to applaud the school for its portfolio of extra-curricular activities, saying: “Extra-curricular activities are extensive and well attended by pupils, including disadvantaged pupils. The school offers a successful Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. Pupils are actively involved in voluntary service in the community. Pupil’s support each other very well in school.”
The Portsmouth Academy was praised for its provision for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), stating that they particularly benefit from the school’s broad and balanced curriculum. The inspector commented, “Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities are well supported and achieve well because of their personalised programmes. Disadvantaged pupils are well known. Teachers give them priority when marking and providing feedback.”
The school’s safeguarding was deemed effective, and Ofsted were pleased with the regular and robust training that staff receive. The report states: “The school works hard to provide a safe environment in which pupils can learn. Pupils are aware of safeguarding risks to themselves.”
Rachel Grey, Principal at The Portsmouth Academy, said:
“I’m delighted The Portsmouth Academy continues to be a Good school. I am proud of the hard work from both the school’s staff and students, who have particularly strong relationships to ensure everyone has a positive learning experience. It’s welcomed news that Ofsted have recognised our pupils support each other very well in school too. We are one community, learning together.
“We have been working tirelessly to ensure our students feel safe and well cared for, and Ofsted’s latest report recognises that. At this school, we’re focused on supporting students in identifying their aspirations, and play a key part in helping them achieve them through an engaging and respectful learning setting.”
Natalie Sheppard, Director of Education at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said:
“The Ofsted rating highlights the high-quality education that Mrs Grey and all the amazing staff have strived for. The school has changed so much since its last inspection in 2017, when it was a small girls’ school. It is now one of the largest co-educational schools in the city and will have 1,250 students on roll in September, 2022.
“Many of these children come from our Trust feeder schools as they want to continue their education using the thinking tools they have learnt in primary. However, I am delighted that all of the new Year 7s joining us, whichever school they are coming from, are joining such a welcoming and happy community where students are challenged to achieve their very best.
“I am incredibly proud to watch The Portsmouth Academy go from strength-to-strength and continue to be a school that the community can be proud of.”