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Academy lands grant for a major expansion
KING Alfred’s Academy is to build new science and music rooms after landing more than £650,000 in Government cash.
The Wantage secondary school won the £661,525 grant last week for facilities at the school’s east site, in Springfield Road.
The development will include two new music rooms, an art room, two learning support classrooms, a science laboratory and a fitness suite.
Headteacher Simon Spiers said it would mark the first stage in the school’s long-term redevelopment.
He said: “We will be knocking down old classrooms that are well past their sell-by-date.
“This will significantly enhance the facilities at east site for our students and staff.”
The school will also be putting £100,000 of its own cash into replacing doors and windows at its centre site in Portway.
Mr Spiers said the school could not have secured the cash without converting to an academy last August.
He said: “This money has become available because we converted to the new style of academy.
“This represents significant capital funding on the site, something we haven’t seen for 20 years.
“For 20 years we have been asking for capital spending (from Oxfordshire County Council) and we haven’t received it.
“This is our first year as an academy and we have been delighted to receive funding from the Government.”
Mr Spiers also said the school would be applying for up to £2m of Department for Education cash next year for other work.
He said the academy wanted to see a new sixth form centre and an additional science building on the Portway site.
He added: “We are now working on our long-term strategy as an academy for significant replacement of buildings over years to come.”
The school was rated outstanding by independent education inspectors Ofsted last February.
And Dennis Burson, director of creative arts and design at the school, said: “This grant will bring a huge improvement in the working environment.
“The planned enhanced facilities will contribute to even greater achievement and success for students in creative arts and design subjects and also in other subject areas.”
Academies, unlike local authority controlled schools, have control over their budget, staffing, and curriculum.
The school hopes to secure planning permission from Vale of White Horse District Council this month for the east site scheme and work would take place over the summer holidays.