100 years of proud history

January 26 2021

School invites former pupils to share centenary memories

EXCITING plans are being made to celebrate 100 years of education at King's Oak Academy.

An exhibition, reunion and other events are planned for 2021 if Covid restrictions allow.

Founded as Kingswood Secondary School in 1921, the school became Kingswood Grammar School in 1927 then Kingsfield School in 1968. Since 2011 it has been known as King’s Oak Academy.

The old school in 1973

The original, wooden school building famously burned down in a suspected arson attack in 1976, with 80 firefighters tackling a blaze that could be seen for miles. The replacement building in Brook Road, was completed in 1977 and in recent years a primary section, known as the King's Oak Acorn building, has been added.

Current academy principal Katherine Ogden said: “Now part of the Cabot Learning Foundation, we are delighted that in September 2021 we will become a full all-through four to sixteen academy serving the heart of the Kingswood and South Gloucestershire community.

“To mark this occasion, we are currently planning a number of events and ask for your help. Do you have any photographs or memorabilia from your or from members of your family’s time at the school?”

Kingswood Heritage Museum will run an exhibition from April to November, including more than 200 historic photos, and also hopes to organise a school reunion.

Kingswood Grammar Form 2B 1956 with - we think! - Colin Pillinger back row second from left

Publicity officer Richard Hartill said: “The exhibition will tell the story of all four schools that have occupied the Brook Road site. It will feature key individuals associated with the schools, including the first headmaster, Major Elton, and distinguished ex pupils.”

Former pupil Mike Bendrey, who edits a biannual Kingswood Old Scholars Association newsletter, is helping the museum put together a list of alumni who have gone on to great things.

They include physicist Sir Bernard Lovell, who tracked Soviet satellite Sputnik for the British military; planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, best known for the Beagle 2 Mars lander; and Richard Scudamore, former CEO of the FA Premier League. 

Writing in Times Higher Education, Prof Pillinger revealed that the wooden school was nicknamed “the cow sheds” when he attended and that seeing Sir Lovell’s name on the school honours board helped inspire him.

He said: “I wish other kids could have the same inspirational old boys to encourage them to consider science careers.”

The 2020 generation: reception pupils at King's Oak Academy

Mr Bendrey said: “We’d like people to get in touch to let us know about the names of old pupils and their achievements. 

"We wish to highlight the men and women who have made a memorable contribution to the life of our nation.”

Memorabilia and photos can be sent to Miss Ogden at koa.principal@clf.uk or posted to the school at Brook Road, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 4JT. 

Details of former pupils can be sent to kosanews@tiscali.co.uk