Published on Monday, 20th November 2017

 

One of Portsmouth’s biggest schools is to be rebuilt. Mayfield dates back to 1932, but it will now be replaced, with the £23m bill covered by Whitehall. The City Council has been pushing for some time for this particular school to be included in the government’s Priority School Building Programme in recognition of its poor state of repair. 

 

Mayfield is the city’s only all-through school, spanning the entire 4 to 16 age range; it is also one of its biggest with a capacity of 1520. 

 

The redevelopment works will be managed by the Department for Education as part of a standardised contract to build new schools at the lowest possible cost. This involves a single contractor and a modular design, allowing for the addition of new wings at a later date if required.

 

There is no denying that the existing building is attractive and in some ways it is a shame to lose it. However the opportunity to secure a brand new building, with the levels of energy efficiency and of IT readiness that implies was too good to turn down.

 

For most of its life Mayfield was a secondary-only school, but five years ago, at a time when the city still had lots of surplus secondary places but a shortage of primary ones a decision was taken to convert some of the space for primary pupils. The works to make that happen cost several million pounds, which was clearly a waste now that the building is going to be redeveloped. While that occurred before the Conservatives took the council, I think it was a sensible decision given the information available at the time; the building is apparently in a worse condition that was appreciated.

 

All-in-all though, this is good for the city, as it the fact that work is expected soon to expand the Portsmouth Academy to raise its capacity to 250 per year. This will involve an extension and is being managed by the City Council, with the money being set aside this February. It is a curious fact that even though councils do not run academies, they retain responsibility for any extra spaces that may be required.

 

Tags : Education