Mayfield School in Portsmouth held an official ceremony yesterday, 7 October, to celebrate the opening of their brand new school building, which includes a dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) centre. As the only local authority ‘all-through’ school in the city, it is set to provide a high-quality education environment for around 1,400 pupils from infants through to secondary school.
Portsmouth City Council successfully bid for investment in the school, to update and improve accessibility and facilities. The re-build was a government project, led by the Department for Education (DfE) funded under the Priority Schools Building Programme, working with construction company KIER. The investment saw a new building developed on the east field of the Mayfield site, while teaching continued in the old building. The new building was handed over to the school in August, to ensure that the pupils could move in at the beginning of this term.
David Jeapes, Head Teacher at Mayfield School said: “I’m delighted to be able to formally mark the opening of our new school building. Mayfield is undergoing a transformation and the move into this purpose built ‘all through’ school building is the next step on our journey. We are delighted that so many families have chosen and supported us and that we are now Portsmouth’s largest and most oversubscribed school. The council, Mayfield Staff and Governors have all worked very hard over recent years to turn our dream into a reality. Of note is our new STEAM centre which will provide children with outstanding opportunities to develop themselves as scientists and engineers as well as our Performing Arts hub – which remains central to everything we do at Mayfield. I could not be prouder of all we have achieved and grateful to the support of the Department for Education and Portsmouth City Council”.
Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, said: “It was a real honour to be at the official opening of the amazing school building, and to see how happy the staff and pupils are in their new surroundings. The improvements to Mayfield School add to the fantastic opportunities we have in education in Portsmouth and demonstrate why it’s so important for children to be in school regularly, to work hard and enjoy all that school has to offer.”
The new school has a STEAM centre with a focus on product design and innovation. STEM represents science, technology, engineering and maths. STEAM investigates the same concepts but does this through inquiry and problem-based learning methods used in the creative process, to help prepare pupils for high end careers in engineering and design. The new building also includes improved provision for disabled access, a spinning studio and dedicated ceramic and digital photo labs.
David added: “We want the school to be the heart of this part of Portsmouth. Parts of the school will be available for use by the community out of school hours, like the studios. What we have got here is a great opportunity. The fact that it has been purpose built for us as an ‘all-through’ school is amazing and we are very privileged to be in this position.”
The opening of the new building at Mayfield School comes shortly after the completion of a new inclusion centre at Penhale Infants School for children who need additional support with their learning, and after other specialist school places were created for children with more complex needs at Mary Rose, Cliffdale Primary and Redwood Park academies. It follows Portsmouth City Council making funds available to help 21 mainstream schools in the city to become even more inclusive for children with special needs.