Strong leadership, combined with nurture and academic achievement, are at the heart of Atlantic Academy Portland’s transformation into one of Dorset’s top schools.

As an all-through school, once your child starts in Atlantic Academy’s reception class parents will never have to worry about finding a new school again. Your child’s transition from primary to secondary will be a seamless and well-supported journey.

Under the guidance of joint Principals Melissa Heppell and Lesley Bishop, the goal of raising achievement at Atlantic has been met. The school proudly sits at the top of the NPP fairer schools league table for Secondary Progress 8 in Dorset - while students in primary make above average progress with Key Stage 2 Assessments.

Register your child

Places are available for reception and Year 7 starting September 2021. To apply or to learn more about this fantastic school, a virtual information session is taking place at 6pm, January 6, 2021. Miss Heppell and Mrs Bishop will be available to discuss the academy and take questions from parents.

To register, please email:

Dorset Echo: School’s ethos

Character: We are proud of our school. We care and respect each other. We define ourselves and are not afraid of opportunity.

Confidence: We feel valued. We feel safe to learn and try something new. We believe in ourselves.

Commitment: We work hard and are resilient. We have disruption free learning. We have an engaging curriculum.

The school is well in the top six percent of all schools nationally

An internal inspection and monitoring of the school by Dr Jeffery Quaye, National Director of Standards for Aspirations Academies Trust which runs Atlantic, classes the school as ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding features’. Dr Quaye who is a qualified inspector for primary and secondary schools, visited the Academy in November and reported: ‘’Atlantic Academy is an excellent school with strong links in the local community. Leaders prioritise academic achievement and pupils’ wellbeing through their unwavering commitment to high standards.’’

Dorset Echo:

Successful approach 

The top ranking for Atlantic Academy, which educates children aged four to 16, is a reflection of the ethos that runs through the school: To combine academic prowess with character, commitment and confidence.

Miss Heppell, Principal of Atlantic Primary, is so confident in the quality of the education and enrichment delivered to students that her children attend the school as do the offspring of around 25% of the teaching staff.

Atlantic also prides itself on being a small school, with 420 pupils for primary and 600 pupils for secondary. This allows for a personal touch - Melissa, Lesley and their staff know the pupils well and are able to ensure the care and education provided is tailored for each child.

The outdoor space at Maritime House is just as impressive as that indoors. Surrounded by breathtaking sea views, there are also four purpose-built playground areas and a large play field that is big enough to accommodate two full size football pitches.

Dorset Echo:

The best start

For Miss Heppell, these facilities make it easy to ensure that the emphasis of the primary curriculum is ‘’based around learning through play’’ and she added: "This ensures that the children at the school are encouraged to learn independently and are driven by their own curiosities.

“We also believe that fun and engagement should be built around a strong curriculum to ensure that pupils at Atlantic Academy Primary have the best start to their educational years.’’

Building confidence

Mrs Bishop, Atlantic Academy’s Principal for Secondary, said: “I believe a secondary school should be a place where students are equipped with the knowledge to build their confidence, have access to outstanding teaching which enables students to feel safe to learn and be challenged on a daily basis.

“Atlantic students develop the confidence to become young independent adults when they leave us and are more prepared to engage and commit to whatever opportunities come their way as well as being proud to be part of the Atlantic community.

“As strong respected female headteachers, our goal is to ensure the young people who walk through our corridors receive the very best education that we can offer them.’’

Dorset Echo: Covid care

During lockdown every child at the school who needed a laptop to complete online learning was supplied with one and daily and weekly phone calls made to families of pupils to check on wellbeing.

Coronavirus restrictions didn’t prevent the ongoing enrichment activities at the school, with after-school clubs continuing via video calls and museum visits are also still taking place through virtual tours. All students have the option to select from over 30 enrichment activities through the year to enhance the curriculum provision.

Earlier this year Atlantic Academy Secondary students were chosen to launch Portland’s first Youth Town Council.

Dorset Echo:

Environmental issues

Students are also involved in a pilot ‘Portland 4 the Planet’ project which aims to teach them about the key environmental problems facing the world, including climate change, biodiversity, food, pollution and single-use plastic but with a focus on the solutions and how they can help.  

Last year Atlantic Academy was awarded Healthy School status under a Department for Education initiative. It reinforces how important pupil wellbeing is at Atlantic. Pupils enjoy purpose-built facilities which allow them to learn through play and there are plenty of opportunities to roam outdoors and keep fit, whether through fitness challenges, daily mile walks or team sports.