The 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
Detailed analysis and forecasting has confirmed that the number of pupils requiring primary schools places is within the current capacity for the next four years. This is based on a range of demographic indicators. Further pressure on capacity could be driven by potential housing developments and the schemes will be closely monitored to assess progress. Taking account of the reduction in demand as indicated by demographic indicators and the slower progress with housing developments, no action is required in 2020/21 in relation to the sufficiency of primary school places. The Primary School Place Strategy will be reviewed again next year.
Secondary School Places
Detailed analysis and forecasting has confirmed that the number of pupils requiring secondary school places will continue to rise until 2024/25, placing pressure on school place capacity. In line with the forecast reduction in primary numbers, secondary numbers are forecast to fall from 2025/26, providing surplus capacity, but this position could alter if there was significant housing development in the intervening period. Capacity has already increased for 2020/21 at Trafalgar School, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Charter Academy, The Portsmouth Academy, and St Edmund’s School. However, action is required to address a modest pressure on places in 2023/24 and 2024/25. Expansion plans will need to ensure that space can be used flexibly to account for future potential uses if secondary numbers fall and surplus capacity is available in future years.
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. A Strategic SEND Review of Accommodation is currently underway in response to increasing numbers of pupils with special education needs and disabilities, and a growing pressure on capacity coupled with limited potential to expand existing sites to accommodate demand. A range of potential solutions to deliver the additional capacity are being developed.