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Pride in fostering and adoption

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This week is national LGBT adoption and fostering week, and Foster Portsmouth are looking to recruit new foster carers of all ages, faiths and sexuality.

The council needs more people to provide a caring home, guidance and direction to children of all ages, especially teenagers, to be the role model and inspiration they need to help them turn their life around.

There are numerous fostering opportunities available, from a stay at home full-time foster carer for a young child, to fostering a young person whilst continuing to work full or part-time.  Another option, if you do not feel fostering is right for you, is providing a room and around 10 hours a week support to one of Portsmouth's vulnerable 16-24 year olds through the new "Lodgings Plus" scheme.

​All the council's fostering options provide carers with excellent support, training, competitive allowances and fees.  You can foster regardless of your sexuality, ethnicity, gender, marital status, whether you are single or part of a couple, whether you own your own home or are living in rented accommodation.

Individuals and couples of any sexuality can offer a loving home and support to a young person.  Rory, a young person fostered by a same sex couple for the last 5 years, said "Being fostered by a same-sex couple never bothered me - it hasn't made any difference.  If the same situation comes up where a young person is going to be fostered by a same-sex couple, I don't think the same-sex part matters - if they meet the needs of the young person then I don't see any reason why anyone should be worried or have a problem with it."

​For more information, please visit foster.portsmouth.gov.uk, call 02392 834 071 for a chat with the team, or attend one of the monthly drop-in sessions at the council's Civic Offices reception area.  Upcoming events include Tuesday, 8 March, 7pm - 8.30pm (civic offices), Tuesday 5 April, 7pm - 8.30pm (civic offices), and Wednesday 25 May, 7pm - 9pm (Emirates Spinnaker Tower, free entry).

​The council is also looking for adopters for children in care of all ages, in particular people who live outside of the city, and can adopt children aged between 3-7 or sibling groups.  The Portsmouth Adoption Service is running a free entry recruitment event at Marwell Zoo on Saturday June 18th that you can register for.  To register your enquiry, please visit adoption.portsmouth.gov.uk or call 02392 875 294, places at the Marwell event are limited and allocated via standard selection procedures.

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Portsmouth school rated as 'outstanding'

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St EdmundsThe city is celebrating as St Edmund's Catholic Secondary School has been classed as 'outstanding' by Ofsted inspectors.

So far, 83.6% of Portmouth schools who have been inspected under the new Ofsted requirements have been rated as 'good' or 'outstanding'. As Portsmouth’s only ‘outstanding’ secondary school, St Edmund’s now hopes to share this practice with other schools.

The school was rated as outstanding in all categories and Ofsted commented on high numbers of pupils gaining the higher A* and A grades because of “high expectations, excellent teaching and strong personal motivation to succeed”.

They also highlighted the exemplary behaviour of all students who are “polite and helpful”, with “a positive attitude to their work and a determination to improve”. Inspectors were impressed by the personal development work to keep pupils safe and extra-curricular and spiritual and moral provision which were all commented on specific as outstanding aspects of everyday life at St Edmund’s.

Simon Graham, Head teacher at St Edmunds Catholic Secondary School, said: "We are thrilled with our 'outstanding' Ofsted report which reflects the hard work and dedication of staff, students and parents. "The children are fantastic and their enthusiasm for learning is a joy to see."

"We remain focused on ensuring that future generations of St Edmund’s students are served with distinction and success. This validation of the standards here at St Edmund’s represents a truly remarkable achievement for our whole family. Our Ofsted judgement reflects a tremendous effort over many years by all staff, students, Governors and parents. Congratulations to all."

The head teacher continued: "The school would also like to thank the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council for their unwavering support in its journey to gaining ‘Outstanding’ status achieved against the new tougher Ofsted framework.

Councillor Neill Young, cabinet member for children and education at Portsmouth City Council, said: "I am delighted that St Edmund's Catholic School has been awarded an 'Outstanding' Ofsted following their inspection.

"Our secondary schools are making real improvements and this is now being recognised, however we know that there's still work to be done across the city so that many more of our secondary schools achieve outstanding Ofsted ratings.

"Well done to St Edmund's School and all those involved. It's a great result for the school, pupils and the city."

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Highbury has WorldSkills wow factor

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Portsmouth’s Highbury College has become the only college in the UK to be shortlisted for the prestigious WorldSkills UK Partner of the Year Award.

There are only four finalists nationwide and the winner will be announced on 16 March. Cathy Ellis, the College’s Director of Research & Development, said: “It’s a great honour for Highbury. We’re immensely proud of our long association with WorldSkills and the amazing successes and opportunities it’s brought for our students.”

Will Marks from Highbury’s Department of Computing, Business and Digital Technologies added: “It’s an amazing experience for the college to work with WorldSkills UK and see first-hand the positive impact competitions have on students”.

Each year thousands of students from across the UK compete in WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions, culminating in a flagship national finale at the NEC Birmingham. The competitions are designed to test competitors’ applied skills in a range of critical elements that demonstrate excellence in their chosen technical or professional skill. They play an important role in raising standards and give the participants a platform in which to test themselves against the best in their chosen sectors from colleges across the UK.

WorldSkills is a perfect fit with Highbury’s vision of preparing our students with the world class professional and technical skills they need to secure the best possible career opportunities.

It’s all about helping to introduce young people to a variety of skilled careers and equipping them with the resources they need to build a better future. Medal winners at the national competitions go forward to train with the UK WorldSkills squad for a place in the world final. The next WorldSkills final will be taking place in Abu Dubai in 2017.

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Portsmouth Music Hub Wins Top Award

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MEC Major Award Photo web

Portsmouth Music Hub has won the Music Education Council's Major Award at a ceremony in London. The Music Teachers Award for Excellence, which took place on Thursday 25th February at London's Carlton Tower Hotel, was hosted by Classic FM's Margherita Taylor, and attended by 280 music industry guests.

The Music Education Council is a national organisation which brings together music professionals, businesses and educational providers. There are over 120 Music Hubs around the country and this year Portsmouth Music Hub was recognised by the Music Education Council for its high-quality music provision and its imaginative approach to engaging with thousands of children and young people from all walks of life and from all parts of the City.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, who received the Award in London said: "This is excellent news for the Hub and it proves that Portsmouth is firmly on the national cultural map. We are very lucky to have so many people in the City who have a passion for delivering the best music education and cultural experience. This Award really is shared with teachers, venues, our Hub Partners and of course the Music Hub team." Portsmouth Music Hub was set up in 2011. Since then it has been working closely with schools, colleges and academies across Portsmouth to make music education available to all young people.

The Hub has more than 40 Partner organisations, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Guildhall and the Royal Marines Band Service, who work together to create opportunities for children and young people to perform with professional musicians and to experience Portsmouth's diverse culture. This year Portsmouth Music Hub shared the Major Award with SoundStorm Music Education Agency based in Bournemouth.

Alison Jeffery, Director of Children Services at Portsmouth City Council said: "Portsmouth Music Hub has brought together individuals, groups and partners who share a common vision; to bring creative and musical opportunity to our City's children and young people. Winning the MEC's Major Award is a fantastic achievement, and testimony to the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of the Hub team, the schools, colleges and academies, and the many Hub partners who collaborate so effectively for the benefit of Portsmouth's wider culture."

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Unloc Fundraiser Sends Team to Rwanda

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akash web

Unloc is working with a Rwandan based charity (Acts of Gratitude) to help them establish a social entrepreneurship academy which will enable young Rwandans to seek solutions to their own community problems with the help of the charity.

Unloc is sending two members of staff free of charge to work with the charity for a week but needs to raise funds for the flights there and back. Unloc held a special curry night at the Akash Restaurant in Southsea which raised over £800.

Managing Director at Unloc, Hayden Taylor, commented: "This is an amazing cause which could change the lives of many young people in Rwanda and improve local communities. The charity is delighted to have our help and we are determined to raise the money necessary to help them out. Thanks to all who came to support the cause at our curry night."

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