School set for £7m boost as part of £170m Portsmouth investment plans

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Portsmouth's schools are set to benefit from more than £7m investment as part of new city council plans.

The proposal is part of an updated capital expenditure programme which outlines plans for over £170m of investment by the council.

Money will be spent on extra places for secondary schools and pupils with special education needs.

Currently the council spends around £1.75m a year on school placements outside the city for children with special needs, while an increase in secondary school places follows on from recent similar investment in primary schools and will be vital for the coming years.

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of the council, said: "With these capital budget proposals we are once again showing that education and the future of children in Portsmouth is the council's number one priority. It is vital that we continue to improve the facilities we have in the city, particularly for those with special needs. Our plans will not only make improvements for those living in the city but also represent investments that will benefit the council financially in the long run."

Spending plans are focused on areas the council has a statutory responsibility for, such as education, and investments likely to reduce the council's costs and drive economic growth in the city.

The council's plans also include contributing an initial £1.25m, potentially rising to £6m, towards the £87m Southsea coastal flood defence scheme; spending £3.5m on the city's traffic infrastructure to improve journey times on key routes; and continuing investment in Portsmouth International Port with £9.7m set to further increase its potential to generate income.

Another income generating proposal is to more than double the council's fund for property investment to £110m, with an extra £60m. This would enable further expansion of a property portfolio which makes money through rental income, this extra money could then be used to avoid future cuts to services.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Deputy Leader of the council, said: "With government grants decreasing every year it is important that we become more self-sufficient and generate our own income. Investing in assets like the port and property makes profits for the council and this money could be what saves services in future years."

The spending plans are for council funds that can only be spent on capital projects like buildings and facilities, rather than the day-to-day running of council services.

The proposed capital programme for 2016-17 will go before the council's cabinet for approval on 8 February and should that be successful will be presented to full council for final signoff the following day.


Value-for-money training courses launched

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takingnotesNew value-for-money training courses are being offered to local small businesses.

The courses, which focus on essential workplace skills, are available for £90 for a half-day session and £180 for a full day. Run by Portsmouth City Council, they're based on its own successful staff training courses. Topics include coaching, conflict handling, mentoring, insurance, project management, leadership, first aid, computer skills and English for speakers of other languages.

A council spokesman said: "These are straightforward one-day or half-day courses to help managers achieve what they want to achieve. They're down-to-earth and practical and help people become more effective. The council is a big organisation with a huge range of job roles and functions, and a lot of experience has gone into these courses. For anyone in the Portsmouth area, they're very convenient, and mean staff can do a course and be back in the office the same day. We can even design a custom-made course for anyone with particular needs."

For more information click here.


Highbury's Digital Academy - Maths & More

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Maths-with-logo web

For anyone who’s ever struggled with maths, Highbury College has launched a Digital Maths Academy in another first for the area.
Open all hours to students and staff, the on-line academy has been specially developed by lecturers at Highbury College, using leading edge technology.

Special taster sessions are now freely available for members of the public to test their abilities and see how a bit of a maths refresher could help them.
“It is widely recognised that improving your maths will widen the employment opportunities available to you,” said Tess Cole, Highbury’s Education and Skills Director. “The Highbury team works closely with employers to provide the skills they need, with maths remaining key to employability.” added Tess.

Cathy Ellis, Director of Research & Development said Highbury is leading the way in e-learning. “We know technology plays a great part in everybody’s daily lives, and the people of Portsmouth and our students want to access information anytime, anywhere – we are digital by default .”
Cathy was among a delegation from Highbury College who were invited to contribute to the BETT Show 2016 which took place at the ExCel Centre in London. BETT is the largest annual education technology event in the UK and attracts educators and policy makers from around the world. Cathy was a guest speaker at the event, advising educators on how to harness technology in their institutions. Florence Gallien, Head of Marketing & Communications, was also invited to advise on the use of social media in education.

The College’s e-learning specialists, Anna Selway and Ross Hounsell, were there to talk about how Highbury has invested in Canvas, the College’s e-learning portal. Canvas is a state-of-the-art technology platform used by Harvard, Stanford and leading US Community Colleges. “There was a lot of interest in how we are using technology for learning at Highbury College, including advising ministerial delegations from South America and Scandinavia,” said Ross.

If you are interested in trying out Highbury College’s Digital Maths Academy, visit their website.


D-Day Museum awarded National Lottery funding

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D-Day Museum HLF funding 26 Jan web

The D-Day Museum in Portsmouth has been awarded £4million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create an international museum to tell the story of D-Day in the 21st Century.  Today's announcement of £4,044,500 comprises the majority of the D-Day Museum's £4.9 million transformation project with just £170,000 of match-funding still needed to make the project a reality.

The museum transformation will create spaces for learning, events and displays.  New galleries will tell the story D-Day - from the planning and build up to the day itself - using objects, interactive material and the perspectives of people who were alive at the time. 

Cllr Linda Symes, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport said: "We're delighted to get the news we've been anticipating.  We're in the final straight of our fundraising journey to make the transformation of the museum and our aspirations for the project a reality. The £4.9 million transformation project will maximise the impact of the collection and ensure that this important chapter in history is retold in a way which inspires and meets the expectations of today's museum audiences.  The D-Day Museum will reopen as the International Museum of D-Day, Portsmouth ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019 and tell the story of D-Day in a way which is pertinent to local residents, families, young people and international visitors alike."

Jane Mee, Project Director, D-Day Museum Transformation project, Portsmouth City Council: "The new International Museum of D-Day will be a fantastic addition to the world-class visitor offer in Portsmouth.  Transforming the D-Day Museum will establish the museum as the national centre that the scale and significance of the D-Day story deserves - with exhibitions that truly engage and excite audiences now and into the future - and to inspire interest in and a greater understanding of what happened and why D-Day is still relevant today.  

"Using the words and perspectives of the people who took part on both sides - military and also the French civilians - and the museum's iconic and evocative collections, the D-Day Museum will bring the story to life for this and future generations.  We will create an inspiring, 'must-see' environment, where everyone feels welcome - from school children to academics, families to military history enthusiasts.  We will work with schools and youth organisations to ensure our learning programmes inspire young people."

The museum will close in October 2016 and reopening in late 2017 in good time for D-Day 75 commemorations in June 2019.  Plans for the museum are spectacular and will retell its stories from a historical and personal perspective.   

The museum's activity and events programme will be transformed by the funding, which includes money for a public programmes manager and additional resources for the re-launch of the museum and events to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “Involving 156 thousand men from the British and Allied forces, the D-Day landings were the largest seaborne invasion the world has ever seen and a momentous event in European history. As we head towards the 75th anniversary, this National Lottery investment will help to refresh and revamp Britain’s only museum dedicated to the landings, helping to bring this story to life for a new generation.”

The D-Day Museum is dedicated to interpreting and commemorating the Normandy landings of June 1944 which marked the start of the allied invasion of North West Europe. It holds a large collection including the only two remaining specially adapted Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle used in the landings and the Dickin Medal awarded to Gustav the pigeon, who brought news of the landings back to the UK.

H.E.G. (Eddie) Wallace, chairman of the Southern (Portsmouth) Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association 1987-2014 said: "As Normandy veterans, we are delighted to hear that the D-Day Museum is receiving this funding. We see the D-Day Museum as a memorial and the national focus for remembering D-Day. It is vital to keep the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy alive, and to remember our comrades who did not come home but are still buried in Normandy."


The Urban Vocal Group - Inspiring young people to achieve through participation in music [Video]

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The Urban Vocal Group (UVG) is a charity that uses music making to help improve the lives of young people aged 11 – 18 in Havant, Portsmouth and Chichester.

The charity have been running for 8 years in which time they have engaged over 350 young people with over 11,000 attendances to our activities. They specialise in group vocals, composition, performing and recording and deliver free workshops, weekly sessions and training opportunities to young people regardless of experience or ability.

The UVG works in some of the most deprived areas in Hampshire with many of their young people experiencing tough social and economic backgrounds. They are also very successful in attracting participants from outside of these areas which encourages integration and social cohesion. Furthermore some of their participants have additional physical, emotional or learning support needs and we are proud to provide an activity that is accessible to all.

Web Design: morph pr and marketing web design  Graphic Design: Mondas Matt tiny


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