King Alfred's Academy

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King Alfred's
King Alfred's School - geograph-2577522-by-Bill-Nicholls.jpg
King Alfred's Centre Site
Motto Achieving Excellence Together
Type Academy
Headteacher Joanna Halliday
Executive Head Simon Spiers
Location Wantage
OX12 9BY
51°35′12″N 1°25′46″W / 51.5866°N 1.4294°W / 51.5866; -1.4294Coordinates: 51°35′12″N 1°25′46″W / 51.5866°N 1.4294°W / 51.5866; -1.4294
Local authority Oxfordshire
DfE URN 137140 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1805
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Ridgeway, Vale, White Horse
Colours Sky blue, navy blue and black (Ridgeway=Red, Vale=Blue, White Horse=Yellow)
Website King Alfred’s Academy

King Alfred's Academy is a Secondary school in Wantage, Oxfordshire, recognised as an Academy.[1] It is named after King Alfred The Great, who ruled Wessex from 871 to 899 and was born in Wantage in 849 AD. The school has approximately 140 teachers and 1800 students spread across three sites.


The general history of King Alfred's is vague and often debated over by local historians. The school amalgamated with Icknield (now East Site) and Segsbury (now West Site) during the 1980s.

The three schools (Segsbury Secondary Modern, Icknield Comprehensive and King Alfred's Grammar School) were broadly independent from each other, with some links from 1972. They merged to become Wantage School (Segsbury, Icknield, and King Alfred's Halls) for the 1984/5 academic term. For the 1987/8 term and beyond, the whole entity was renamed King Alfred's School to retain the former's history.[clarification needed]

The Sixth Form was built in the late 1970s next door to Centre Site.

The School became a Specialist Sports College in the late 1990s.

In September 2011 King Alfred's was given Academy status.

On 25 April 2014 King Alfred's was visited by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex to open the new hall block at Centre Site.[2]

Alumni include: computer scientist Professor Dave Cliff; spy novelist John Gardner; actor/author Stephen North; jockey Lester Piggot; and neuroscientist Professor Anil Seth.


The school is distributed over three sites, corresponding to the age groups catered for.

East Site[edit]

East Site, formerly Icknield School, caters for year 7 and year 8 students. In 2012, £661,000 was spent on improvements to the facilities including new classrooms, a new science lab, new music rooms and a new fitness suite. In all, East Site has more than 25 classrooms, including 4 science labs, 4 ICT rooms, a drama studio, a tennis court, a netball court, a library and 5 rooms devoted to design and technology.

On 13 April 2016, the academy was granted planning permission by the local district council to demolish East Site and to build 150 new homes on the site whereby the academy plans on selling the site to a housing developer. Doing this enables the academy to move to two site operation whereby the money raised from selling East Site will enable to academy to expand and refurbish West Site, Centre Site and the Sixth Form.[3]

West Site[edit]

West Site, formerly Segsbury School, is the site attended by year 9 and Year 10 students. It has more than 20 classrooms including 6 science labs, 6 ICT rooms, a dance/drama studio and a sports dome. It does not have a library.

Centre Site and Sixth Form[edit]

Centre Site, formerly King Alfred's School, is the site attended by year 11 students, those in the last year of Compulsory education in Great Britain. It has more than 30 classrooms, 16 of which are situated in a four storey block, which includes science labs and ICT rooms. There is also a Macbook suite. It has no onsite sports facilities, but is able to make use of the local leisure centre, which was built on the site of the former school playing fields.

The Sixth Form, used by students aged between 16 and 18, and located across the road from Centre Site, was opened in the 1970s. It also makes use both of the Centre Site facilities and those of the local leisure centre, the latter offering students access to sports activities and a dance studio.

Centre Site has had several recent developments with the opening of an upgraded hall and a rebuilt canteen and classroom block. On 25 April 2014, the Earl and Countess of Wessex visited the school to open the new hall block.[4] On 4 December 2015, Wantage MP, Ed Vaizey officially opened the new canteen and teaching block which includes a new 250 seat restaurant, a drama studio and several teaching classrooms.[5]

A new science block at Centre Site is also planned in the coming years. The new science building will help with the move from three to two sites and will also modernise the current science facilities. The current science block at Centre Site has only six laboratories. The new building that is planned will contain ten laboratories and nine additional classrooms.[6]

Academy status[edit]

In February 2011 an OFSTED inspection identified King Alfred's as 'outstanding'; subsequently the school was granted academy status. (The application for this status is said[by whom?] to have been made in the hope that it would bring in additional funding: both to counteract the impact of anticipated cuts, and to enable new building works to be undertaken.)


  1. ^ Ofsted profile, as of September 2012.
  2. ^ "The Earl and Countess of Wessex Visit King Alfred’s Academy". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "King Alfred's Academy, Wantage, wins permission to build 150 homes on East Site". Oxford Mail. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Earl and Countess of Wessex Visit King Alfred’s Academy". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "MP’s visit on menu at new school restaurant". Oxford Mail. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Wantage secondary school to become first academy in the country to take out a loan". Bicester Advertiser. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 

External links[edit]