‘what a misfortune the Town is in generall under for want of a Grammar Schoole’
Portsmouth Quarter Sessions, 23 October 1717
In 1732 the dying wish of Dr William Smith, Mayor of Portsmouth and Physician to its Garrison, was that the Dean and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford would use his gift of land to establish a grammar school in Portsmouth. Smith’s own education had taken him from Newport on the Isle of Wight to Leiden University, one of Europe’s leading centres for medical training. 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 and, uniquely, a non-denominational Cathedral School, we continue to honour the legacy of our Founder, whilst adapting our values for the twenty first century.
Our vision is for The Portsmouth Grammar School to have an outstanding reputation as a school in which young people are inspired to learn and develop with confidence to believe in their ability to make a positive difference to the world. We wish our pupils and our staff to be happy and successful, and in that order.
The Main Archway is symbolic of our inclusivity as a school community and our our desire to expand horizons:
All experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world
In the spirit of our founder, Dr William Smith, we seek to provide excellence in all areas of school life and encourage our girls and boys 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.
We have been giving careful consideration to what makes PGS such a happy and successful school and how we believe the school could become even stronger in the future. We have been helped in this by extensive feedback from current parents, pupils and staff; by considering the insights given by ISI Inspection teams; by researching best practice in other leading schools; and by considering the expectations of universities and employers.
Our Strategic Plan acknowledges that The Portsmouth Grammar School caters for many different stages in each child’s development – from 2½ to 18, and even to 25 and beyond – but importantly it considers PGS as one school.