History of the School
‘For an institution to survive four hundred years of active life is an achievement worthy of note; and not only to survive, but to arrive at the four hundredth milestone in a form bigger, stronger and even more amply fulfilling the founders’ intentions is a matter or sincere congratulations.’
So wrote E J Dorrell (Director of Education) on the four hundredth anniversary of the school in 1971.
The school has now moved on by almost fifty years, acquired spacious new premises, become a Comprehensive and now an Academy, wound up the farm and established ‘The Acre’, grown in numbers and achievements and still retains its core values of serving the needs of the children of the area and the community at large.
The School was founded as an Elizabethan Grammar School for boys in 1571 by a group of local merchants of whom Simon Wysdom, one time Alderman of the town, was the driving force. Boarders were welcomed, though initially they were housed with families throughout the town. The Charter of the school is still in existence and its founding is celebrated each year in the autumn when a Charter Day Service is held, attended by the whole school.
In 1896 the arrival of a new Head led to the addition of agricultural studies to the traditional curriculum and a revitalised boarding house was established to house them during the week. This brought in the sons of local farmers and led to the establishment of a very successful fifty-six acre farm unit with a Danish Jersey Herd, breeding ewes, sows and poultry.
The school became a County School in 1924 and girls were invited to attend, although the sexes were taught separately until 1952 when, due to its comparatively isolated position and the need for viability, comprehensive co-education was pioneered.
The school moved to its new premises in 36 acres of rolling land at the top of Burford in 1957 and the original Grammar School became part of the Boarding House in the heart of the town. In 1980 it became a Community College, with many evening classes and events taking place, and in 2012 it became the Academy that it is today.