Having a safe environment to live, learn and play in, eating a healthy diet and being active in an area of clean air, is a key part of giving children the best start in life.

Portsmouth’s first Superzone pilot surrounding Arundel Court Primary Academy is in place until July 2024, to give children and families a safe environment to thrive in.


A map showing the superzone area. The zone encompasses Fratton Road, Greetham Street, Arundel Street, and Church Street leading to Lake Road

Childhood obesity rates in Portsmouth are high, with 27.3% of Year 6 children being obese in 2021/22. This means the rates in Portsmouth are much higher than the England and Southeast average.

The Superzone pilot takes a place-based approach to coordinate public policy and community action. It aims to reduce childhood obesity in one specific area. The Superzone pilot focuses on a 400m radius (roughly a 10-minute walk) around Arundel Court Primary Academy. This is to give children, young people, their families and local community, healthier safe surroundings.

Arundel Court Primary Academy was chosen based on its location in Portsmouth. The school is within the Clean Air Zone and the area is closely populated, with high levels of childhood obesity.

Alongside all the great efforts being made to reduce childhood obesity by Portsmouth City Council, the NHS and community groups, the Superzone aims to protect children’s health and encourage healthy behaviours both at school and in the surrounding area.

Key areas of the Superzone

The key areas of focus for the programme came to light when working with the children of Arundel Court Primary Academy to learn what being healthy meant to them and how we could support them to be even healthier. The four areas are:

  • Healthy food environment – to increase the uptake of school meals, improve nutrition of lunchboxes, and to encourage healthy eating at home.
  • Active places – to increase active play and active travel at school and the surrounding area (such as Arundel Park, the Athletic Skills Garden).
  • Cleaner air – to improve outdoor air quality, with less cars, reduced idling and a smoke free zone outside the school gates.
  • Community and safety – to reduce anti-social behaviour, littering, dog fouling and develop a safe environment for activities.


After Covid-19 caused delays to the launch, the council had the opportunity to hear from both the children and parents of Arundel Court.

In this time, school drop-off/pick-up points (Northam and Fyning Street) were observed on three occasions. There were also three hands-up surveys with the children about driving to school and access to bikes and scooters. In November 2022, a parental survey took place around the school’s road safety.

The findings led to a one-week road closure trial between 27-31 March 2023. This tied in with the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel campaign. This national campaign encourages active travel to school by challenging all schools that sign up to compete with prizes to win.

But that’s not all – organisations have been working with the residents and parents to make improvements to Arundel Park. The park has been repainted with playground markings, and all bushes and shrubs have been cut back to ensure safe entrances and paths.

The pupils have been completing the daily mile (walk, jog or run a mile everyday), with benefits observed by the teachers and the pupils themselves. There will also be free practical lunchbox sessions for parents throughout the year and other activities supporting each of the four strands of Portsmouth’s Superzone.

The team aim to report on the Big Walk and Wheel Road closure trials by the end of April. This report will be based on the feedback received from pupils, parents, staff, and residents. The report, alongside additional road observations, will inform decisions on next steps to support active travel.

Further information

The Superzone pilot is currently being evaluated and will continue into academic year 2023-4.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the Superzone pilot, you can contact the team by emailing superzone@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.