School Buildings and School Places

The Portsmouth Academy

Portsmouth City Council has a statutory duty to provide sufficient school places for resident children and is committed to working with schools, academies and multi-academy trusts for the benefit of children and young people in Portsmouth.

Primary school places

The number of children starting school in Portsmouth has declined in recent years and there is a significant surplus of places for infant-aged pupils. Detailed analysis and forecasting have confirmed that by 2027/28 there will over 15% surplus places in all primary school year groups. The surplus capacity is likely to be concentrated in some parts of the city and housing development could give rise to localised pressure on primary school places. Potential housing development schemes will be closely monitored to assess progress.

In line with the Primary School Place Strategy, the Council is working with schools in the areas with the highest proportions of surplus places to manage the supply of places and ensure that schools remain viable.

Secondary school places

Detailed analysis and forecasting have confirmed that the number of pupils requiring secondary school places will continue to rise until 2027/28, placing pressure on school place capacity. In line with the forecast reduction in primary numbers, secondary numbers are forecast to fall from 2028/29, providing surplus capacity, but this position could alter if there were significant housing development in the intervening period.

Capacity has already been permanently increased at Trafalgar School, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Charter Academy, The Portsmouth Academy, Springfield School and St Edmund’s School. Additional temporary increases in places are being facilitated at a number of schools from 2023/24. However, further temporary places will be required to address the anticipated pressure on places in 2026/27 and 2027/28. Expansion plans will need to ensure that space can be used flexibly and put to other uses when secondary numbers fall, and surplus capacity is available in future years.

Special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision

There is a statutory duty to provide suitable education for pupils with an EHCP and for early years’ children entitled to ‘free early education’. The Portsmouth SEND Strategy focuses on an inclusive education, with mainstream schools and early years’ settings being the first option considered for all but those with the most severe, complex and long-term educational needs and the most profoundly disabled children.

Following a strategic SEND review of accommodation, additional Special School places have been created at the new Lantern Unit which is part of Mary Rose Academy and at Cliffdale Academy. Additional Inclusion Centre places for pupils with SEND have also been provided by an expansion of the existing provision at The Flying Bull Academy and the creation of new centres at Penhale Infant School and The Portsmouth Academy. Arundel Court Inclusion Centre opens in September 2023.

The Wymering special school for pupils aged 9 to 16 years of age who have social communication and interaction difficulties, associated speech, language and communication difficulties and high levels of anxiety and/or associated challenging and distressed behaviour opened in April 2023.


  • The new Mayfield School opened in summer 2021 in time to deliver GCSE results and a very successful summer school. The old building has been demolished, and the grounds are currently being transformed into additional playing fields and an outdoor performance centre, the latter retaining the original entrance archway.

    Brand new Mayfield School

  • To enable the school to accept additional pupils, the basement at Trafalgar School was transformed into the Compass Centre towards the end of 2021, a safe place that the students can turn to for support with their emotional wellbeing. The changes include additional teaching, office and meeting spaces, a refurbished art room, a new hair and beauty salon and a kitchenette.
  • The construction of the Wymering School, a new 66-place provision for 9 to 16-year-olds with a neurodiverse profile, continues on the site of the old Wymering Community Centre and is due to be completed in early 2023.

    Artist’s impression of the new Wymering School

  • Further SEND accommodation is being created at The Flying Bull Academy, Penhale Infant School, The Portsmouth Academy and Cliffdale Primary Academy. Pupils will enjoy smaller class sizes, specially designed classrooms with sensory and therapy spaces, and varied external landscapes.


To discuss a potential school reorganisation, for example a change to a community school’s admission number, age range or status, please email [email protected].

The following suite of documents outlines Portsmouth’s plans in relation to school place planning. The documents and relevant appendices can be found on the Portsmouth City Council website:


The Department for Education has published guidance on school organisation issues, including making significant changes to schools (for example, expansion), closing schools and opening new schools.

There is separate guidance for making changes to existing academies.