A SCHOOL which has educated generations of children has been officially handed over to a housing developer.

The heads of King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage presented the keys to the school’s East Site to Bovis Homes on Friday.

The developer is planning to demolish the entire complex and build a 150 ‘attractive new homes, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom family homes’.

Simon Spiers, chief executive of the Vale Academy Trust which runs the school, said: “This is an historic and important moment for King Alfred’s Academy.

“We don’t underestimate the impact of this, which is why the ‘farewell event’ last year was so important to the local community and really well supported.

“Whilst many have wonderful memories of this site, they also acknowledge that the buildings themselves have ‘had their day’ and are no longer fit for the purpose of accommodating a 21st century vibrant and successful school.

“As we hand over the keys to Bovis Homes, we can be confident in the knowledge that we have secured a good deal for the young people in our area and a bright future for King Alfred’s with the latest modern facilities and learning environment.”

From this term, the academy trust has moved the 652 pupils in Years 7 and 8 who were at East Site to West Site on Challow Road.

The 1,200 teenagers in Years 9, 10 and 11 and the sixth form are now based at Centre Site on Portway.

The trust, which sold East Site for £11m, is investing that cash in a massive building programme, mostly at Centre Site, with new buildings including a science block.

Bovis will also now be spending millions more demolishing East Site and building a housing estate, starting construction in May

The housebuilder says its new estate, including 60 affordable homes, will be a ‘thriving new part of the Wantage community’.

Bovis has also agreed to contribute more than £1.6m ‘to the community’, with cash going towards the planned Wantage Eastern Link Road around the new Crab Hill estate, improvements to bus services, health facilities and sports facilities.

More than £800,000 has been ring-fenced by Oxfordshire County Council for ‘local education’.

The first new residents at ‘East Site’ are set to move in towards the end of this year.

Bovis land director Mark Slater said: “We have consulted with individual neighbours, liaised closely with the local authority and followed strict planning guidelines in finalising the detailed plans for this exciting development.

“The reserved matters application is submitted with the local council and we hope to receive a favourable decision in March.”

The Wantage and Grove Campaign Group has urged anyone who is unhappy with the final plans to comment on the reserve matters application.

Members of public can see the application at whitehorsedc.gov.uk using reference number P17/V2479/RM.