Skip to main content

What says..

<style type="text/css">p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} </style>

‘I don’t believe in private school’, said one devoted PGS parent, who feels that the advantages of PGS weigh decidedly in its favour against even outstanding state primary schools in the area, commenting on the combination of welcome, friendliness, mixed demographic and outstanding resources which make PGS unique. The sporting year starts with a talk by head of sport about the school's philosophy of sport: inclusivity, and being happy putting your trainers on. Ask if they enjoyed the match, not who won, exhorts the school (the newsletter no longer includes results). ‘One or two of the parents are…

<style type="text/css">p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} </style>

Read review »

Do you know this school?

The schools we choose, and what we say about them, are founded on parents’ views. If you know this school, please share your views with us.

Please login to post a comment.

Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

Choir school - substantial scholarships and bursaries usually available for choristers.

Sports

Sailing

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since 2010, Peter Hopkinson, married to Michaela, a TA here, with two children. Read communication studies at Sheffield, and was previously head of the junior department at Abbey Gate College, Chester, and Arnold Junior School, Blackpool (now AKS Lytham).

Parents say he’s very visible, and they wouldn’t hesitate to go to him with a problem: ’Very approachable and friendly’; ‘an able leader’. He does circle time with all the children over the year - ‘a really good way to get to know all the kids,' he says, discussing themes such as awareness of world with the little ones (a teddy also attends), and developing philosophical thinking skills with older pupils.

Entrance

Most join the nursery, others in reception, year 3 and increasingly year 5. Entry to nursery through observed play; to reception by informal assessment; to year 1 upwards by tests in maths, English, non-verbal reasoning, and spending time with peer group to observe sociability.

Exit

No 11+ to progress to senior school for pupils already in-house. Very few in each year don’t make it on to the senior school, usually those with severe SEN.

Our view

‘I don’t believe in private school’, said one devoted PGS parent, who feels that the advantages of PGS weigh decidedly in its favour against even outstanding state primary schools in the area, commenting on the combination of welcome, friendliness, mixed demographic and outstanding resources which make PGS unique: ‘I stopped looking for houses back home up north…’ Summed up succinctly by another: ‘What you get for your dollar is incredible…’

Community is strongly encouraged here, both at school and outside the school gates. ‘What we picked up on when we visited was its feeling of happiness, [a] feeling of cohesion and working together…’, said a parent. Democracy gets things done here, pupil council members seeking suggestions to write in their special notebooks: successes include a new junior school playground (including a hobbit house); refurbishment of the boys’ and girls’ loos; and packed lunchers shedding their isolation and being able to sit with those having school dinners. Outside school there’s a termly beach clean, and the brass band and strings orchestra perform frequently. ‘Not for someone not keen to be involved’, said a parent.

Parents too, have their say: the parent forum deals with whole school issues - ‘parents really feel like stakeholders’, said one, describing how they were instrumental in changing the layout of canteen for juniors, so they have to queue past little pots of crudités and fruit. The kids like their smallness; take and eat: parents are happier.

Small classes (from 12 in reception, triple entry, to 15-20 from year 2 onwards). ‘You don’t need to be academically gifted, but average plus, and need to work hard, or you’ll struggle with the pace’, though the deputy head was quick to point out that those who can’t cope with this can get help from learning support.

Nursery to year 4 are situated on the main school site. Years 5 and 6 are housed over the road in the original Victorian school, where classrooms conditions are a bit tighter, but pupils benefit from their own set of specialist classrooms, including DT, drama studios and cookery. The walls are full of neat displays of work, and photos of school trips: happy memories described in some affectionate detail by our guides. School trips range from year 3’s recent trip to Ufton Court to experience life as Anglo Saxons, complete with Saxon banquet and stories from Beowulf, to the ski trip - fabulous skiing, bumboarding in the evening and ‘a hotel with a bar and everything,’ said a year 6 guide enthusiastically, to the nervous laughter of a teacher - ‘they had great hot chocolate,’ he added, slightly bewildered. Residential school trips get going in year 2, and a worried parent told us how much she appreciated the teachers tweeting photos - ‘I couldn’t speak to [my daughter], but I could see she was happy!’

There was a lively buzz in most lessons we saw, hands springing up to answer questions - ‘What’s the opposite of a synonym?’ ‘A cinnamon bun?’ suggested one bright spark, to the chuckles of her classmates.

Education is based on the PGS Connected Curriculum, the head’s brainchild: a model of thematic topic-based learning, which interconnects disciplines to encourage transferable and flexible skills. It’s similar to Primary Years IB, but ‘avoids its wooliness’, said the head: not every subject fits every topic, but connections will be made where they are relevant, and enhance learning. Year 4’s current connected curriculum topic is Mighty Mountains, launched with learning survival skills in the wooded area behind the playing fields.

Pupils are set for maths from year 4, but are otherwise in mixed ability groups. iPads are in frequent use for all years, and regular lessons in the computer room, with its coloured keyboards, ensure everyone can type by the time they get to year 6.

Pupils are continually appraised, and may have an SEN assessment if necessary. Around 34 of the junior school receive learning support, mostly in small groups out of class, but also through in class support by TAs.

The creative curriculum covers food tech, DT, drama, music and textiles, the textiles room piled high with coloured cloths and wool, one of our guides pointing out the beauty of the colours in the sunlight pouring in from the window. This room is the base for the sewing machine club, which makes clothes to send to PGS’s connected school in Uganda.

Music is important here, and most pupils learn an instrument, with a flying start from the school: in year 3, each pupil gets a term’s free tuition on a string instrument, then on a brass instrument. Junior school music week saw the school alive with the beat of Indian dancing and drumming workshops. PGS is the cathedral choir school, and pupils can audition for the boys' or girls’ choirs: boys from year 3, girls from year 5. Drama is popular too, with LAMDA available from year 1, and an annual production each year from year 2. The year 6 production is a lavish affair, costumes and backdrops designed and made by teachers, the score composed in-house for the instruments played by year 6.

A big nursery, in spacious purpose built classrooms, with between 40-60 children and lots of staff: 15 working at a time means they are always well staffed. Trips to the beach (PGS has beach school status), yoga and dance, and a role play room which transforms into pet shop, café or realm of snow and ice, depending on the theme. A darkened room with a tower of glowing lights for sleeping or calming down. Joint ventures with reception make the transition to school easy. It has an excellent reputation locally, and is oversubscribed, one parent putting her son down for a place when he was 6 weeks old.

The sporting year starts with a talk by head of sport about the school's philosophy of sport: inclusivity, and being happy putting your trainers on. Ask if they enjoyed the match, not who won, exhorts the school (the newsletter no longer includes results). ‘One or two of the parents are…enthusiastic…’ on the touchlines, said a parent - teachers will have a quiet word.

‘It’s really splendid,’ said parent, ‘because everyone is in teams from the beginning, everyone is good enough to play, no one inadequate’. In this school, membership of teams depends on sportsmanship, not just performance on the pitch. The usual gender divide in sports: rugby and football for boys, netball for girls, but girls here also play football and cricket. The PGJS cheerleading squad is southern champion.

One parent commented on the great use of twitter by PGS - if a match is cancelled at the last minute, the school will tweet. ‘Communication is excellent, sometimes too much!’

A thorough pastoral system, with each child’s well-being regularly assessed by teachers. The pastoral team includes two counsellors, who also do circle time with all the children at some point, and run special groups. All counselling services are included in the fees.

‘Great pastoral care’, said a parent, extolling the care given to pupils following a parent death, adding that teachers always email back quickly to queries, and it’s easy to have quiet word at end of the day. One parent described how carefully the school look out for one of her children who is ‘painfully shy’, and was very upset by a mild telling off from a teacher which resulted in panic attacks. The school took this very seriously, and has now included dealing with anxiety as part of PSHE.

Pupils are encouraged to look out for each other, and to spot and report bullying behaviour. Playground pals (special friends in lower years), mean that those who have no-one to play with can go to the friendship bus stop, where special friends will scoop them up. Bullying is dealt with ‘very carefully’, said a parent, whose daughter was on the receiving end of some of the subtler forms of emotional bullying often particular to girls. The teacher started with general conversations with the whole form about friendship and kindness, moving on to specific conversations with the girls concerned, which resolved matters. ‘[My daughter] wasn’t belittled or made to feel it wasn’t important. She really trusts her teachers’.

Special Education Needs

The Portsmouth Grammar Junior School is a selective independent day school for children of average to high ability. It believes that all children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress. Any child who is assessed as needing more or different support to that normally provided in school is said to have learning support needs. Every effort is made to ensure that each child receives the full curriculum entitlement. They are supported either in small groups, working with the learning support co-ordinator/teacher, or individually in class with teaching assistants, whichever is deemed to be the most appropriate to their needs. Specialist small group support is offered to children in Years 1-6. In-class 1:1 support is offered to children Year R- 6.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health Y
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability Y
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment Y

  Zoopla sale properties   Zoopla rent properties   Hide Zoopla markers

Powered by Zoopla

Leavers' destinations


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
 Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
 Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

GSG Blog >    In the news >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

University is not the only route

 

 
 

National School Offer Day 1st March 2019. Didn't get the school you wanted? 'Don't panic': download our helpful pdf. Click here