This week three Portsmouth schools will move a step closer to joining a new University of Portsmouth Academy Trust (UPAT).

From Wednesday 19 May, school staff, parents and the wider community will have their say in a consultation on Milton Park, Woodcot, and Cottage Grove primary schools forming a multi-academy trust led by the University.

Multi-academy trusts bring together several academy schools - publicly funded schools who are not part of the Local Authority, and have greater freedoms and flexibilities.

The move would see pupils benefiting from closer connections to the University, including accessing events and trips, and gaining an insight into what university life is like. Young people from some parts of Portsmouth are less likely to engage with higher education compared to their peers elsewhere. It’s hoped that through contact with the University, more young people will have the confidence to consider university in the future.

Teachers within the trust would also be able to better support each other and share different skills across schools for the benefit of pupils. For example, one school may have a French speaking teacher who can offer lessons at another school where French isn’t currently offered. Staff will also be able to access research, teacher training, and specialist department knowledge from the University’s School of Education and Sociology

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Paul Hayes said: “Through the trust we want to improve educational outcomes and life chances for local communities in Portsmouth and the wider region.

“Working closely with primary schools supports our ambitions to be more involved in the civic life of the city, raising educational standards and aspirations in our local community. Together with all three schools we’re committed to inclusivity, lifelong learning and ensuring our young people are equipped to succeed.”

The target dates for the three schools forming UPAT is 1 September 2021, in time for the new academic year. Each school would keep its name, continue to operate the same admissions process, uniform policy, term and holiday dates, and offer a broad and balanced curriculum. 

The month-long consultation launches on the University of Portsmouth’s website on Wednesday 19 May, and parents, school staff and the wider community will all be invited to comment.