Benefits of a sea change ahoy!

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Running a secondary school has never been plain sailing - but in Portsmouth they are getting more hands on deck to get things ship-shape.

The Hampshire city is home to the Royal Navy, which is forging links with secondary schools in the area.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the city council, wants to get a senior naval officer on to the board of governors of each of the city's 10 secondary schools.

City boys' school has already appointed Rear Admiral John Borley to its governing body.

Another school, St Luke's, a Church of England comprehensive, has negotiated a special deal in which youngsters will be allowed access to the Navy's sports fields for just pound;40 a year.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said it was important to strengthen links between the city and the navy.

"The navy is based here and we are all very proud of that, but we want to make sure that it's not just them on one side of the dockyard wall and us on the other.

"Senior officers in the Navy have a lot of management, financial and personnel experience, and that's just the sort of thing you need running secondary schools.

"They also have facilities. And now pupils at St Luke's, which is without playing fields, can go to do athletics and play rugby."

Rear Admiral Borley works in training and recruitment for the Royal Navy, and it is hoped that strengthening links between the navy and local schools will have the added benefit of boosting recruitment in years to come.

He has been a governor at the independent Portsmouth grammar school for a year. The pound;8,805-a-year school has had a naval governor for the past century.

Margaret Bunn, chair of governors at City boys' school, said: "His experience is going to be of huge benefit to us in terms of best practice and new ideas."

Mike Smith, headteacher, said: "The rear admiral has a can-do attitude that can only be good for the school."

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