Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can now benefit from a wider range of learning spaces thanks to work carried out by Portsmouth City Council and University of Chichester Academy Trust.


Picture of outdoor area with a music wall that has buckets and pipes on the wall
The Flying Bull Academy music wall

The council’s in-house team of architects and designers have worked alongside Flying Bull and Trust academies to update existing facilities and create new spaces for children with social, emotional, and mental health needs. Some pupils will attend for a short time to help them over a difficult period whilst others attend for a more extended part of their education.

The capacity of the academy’s inclusion centre will be increasing from 14 to 32 places with additional classrooms created as well as therapy, sensory one-to-one rooms and shared social spaces. As well as creating much needed additional spaces, the new building will also allow the centre to cater for children with more complex needs. Headteacher of The Flying Bull Academy, Viv Kies commented on the importance of this ‘because some pupils will attend for a short time to help them over a difficult period whilst others attend for a more extended part of their education’.

Photo of inside an empty room showing windows and sun shining on the ground
The Flying Bull Academy classroom

The council’s landscape architects have also installed four safe learning environments in the academy’s grounds, including a sensory garden with a music wall, grow zone, wilderness woodland, and a play area. These will provide a rich and varied outside space to create opportunities for learning and play for all ages and needs.

Cllr Suzy Horton, cabinet member for children, families and education, and deputy leader of the council, said:

“It’s great to see the talent we have within the council to provide these important improvements in partnership with University of Chichester Academy Trust’s The Flying Bull Academy. The Flying Bull’s inclusion centre has helped generations of children with special educational needs and disabilities in the city over the years and is an invaluable resource. These improvements are so impressive and demonstrate our commitment to SEND provision in Portsmouth”

University of Chichester Academy Trust’s CEO, Jennese Alozie, said:

“As a Trust, we remain committed to our Portsmouth community and working in partnership with families and the local authority. Our deep roots in educational research, teacher development and social justice mean that we will always strive to find creative ways to provide the best provision for our learners.”

The council has also recently launched its bi-annual survey. Parents and carers of children 0-25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) can give feedback about the services and support available, to help shape future services.

The survey is available until Sunday 26 March 2023. Parents and carers can complete the survey online (www.portsmouthlocaloffer.org) or paper copies can be requested from your child’s school or college by emailing eandsc@portsmouthcc.gov.uk