Aims & Values

Our Vision 

In 1732 the dying wish of Dr William Smith, Mayor of Portsmouth and Physician to its Garrison, was that the Dean and Canons of Christ Church, Oxford would use his gift of land to establish a grammar school in Portsmouth.

After travelling for his own education, Smith returned to a successful career in Portsmouth, having experienced for himself the transformative power of learning.  In his legacy, he wished to make it possible for the city’s children to experience the same excellence in education and to develop a hunger for broader horizons.

As the oldest school in the city, we honour the legacy of our Founder, while offering our pupils a forward-looking preparation for the modern world.

We wish the members of our community to be both happy and successful, and our purpose as a school is to offer an outstanding education that prepares each individual to lead a fulfilled and purposeful life. The Main Archway is symbolic of our inclusivity as a school community and our desire to expand horizons:

All experience is an arch therethrough, Gleams that untraveled world


In the spirit of our founder, Dr William Smith, we encourage our pupils to think not only about where they will be at 18 but where they aspire to be at 25.  Portsmouth is, after all, a city concerned with destinations.

Our aims for our pupils

We wish the members of our community to:

  • Be happy and thrive
  • Enjoy learning and pursue success to the best of their ability
  • Be prepared for the changing world beyond school
  • Make an active contribution and live purposeful lives
  • Develop a sense of identity and to be their own person

The PGS Core

At the heart of everything we do is the PGS Core. By being part of this community, each one of us aspires to the attributes of curiosity and creativity, courage and commitment, compassion and collaboration.

We believe that curiosity enriches every aspect of our lives. We are inspired by ideas both inside and outside the classroom, and we pursue our passions, as we nurture a life-long intellectual, social and moral love of learning.

We believe that creativity is the foundation of learning. We cultivate vision and imagination, we embrace critical thinking, and we engage with diverse perspectives.

We believe that courage comes in many forms. We aim to be courageous through conscious risk-taking, through making an active difference, and by viewing setbacks as opportunities to learn.

We believe that success comes in many forms. We strive to be the best we can be, and we are determined to make the most of the opportunities available to us. We care about things that matter, and we are committed to making an active contribution.

We celebrate uniqueness and difference. We want individuals to be happy being themselves, and we believe that positive personal connections are powerful. By keeping kindness at the forefront of our interactions, we foster a culture of care, and we are forces for a positive environment.

We believe that we achieve more when we work together. We are generous with our knowledge, energy and time, and we seek to make a positive contribution to the communities within PGS and beyond.