New Chichester academy looks to the future

Pupils at Portfield Academy were part of a disability awareness day, which helped them understand the importance of being valued members of society.

The academy has recently come out of special measures, and new headteacher Daryl Power has spoken of the importance of taking a holistic approach to learning, something which the disability awareness day helped to encourage.

The day, which took place last Friday, was a huge success, with children taking part in a range of activities and learning games with various volunteers from the area.

Mr Power said: “It was partly inspired by the influence of the Olympics and Paralympics.

“We asked the children, what’s stopping these people from being successful? And the answer was nothing.

“The volunteers loved it. We had different volunteers with different disabilities.”

There were a number of activities for the children, which included wheelchair relays and finding out what it would be like to be blind.

Mr Power added: “The children absolutely loved it.

“At the end we played the Military Wives song, which is a very evocative piece of music, and one little girl burst into tears crying.

“When the teacher asked if she was alright she said ‘I just don’t want them to leave’.”

Mr Power added: “The volunteers were just so charismatic, so positive, and they have never mentioned what they couldn’t do, only what they could do.”

The importance of the day to the school’s mission statement played a key role for Mr Power who, since he joined the school this month – as it opened its doors as an academy – has already worked towards bringing in a new ethos which emphasises self-esteem, independence and a lifelong love of learning.

So far the signs seem to be positive. Mr Power added: “Behaviour is a good marker and we are seeing fewer incidents of bad behaviour.”

He added that there has been a big push to changing the classroom environment so it reflects what children are learning about, such as big and exciting displays.

Prior to his recent appointment at Portfield Academy, Mr Power was acting deputy headteacher at St Mary’s Catholic School in Worthing.