Upper School Choice - chess

KAS Celebrates 125 Years In Style

28th June 23

Echoes of the past rippled through Manor Wood as the KAS community came together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the day pioneering Suffragist Millicent Fawcett opened the School.

125 years to the day since the School was opened by Mrs Fawcett, a leading campaigner for equal rights for women, her great great great niece Fenella Dernies and The Fawcett Society joined past and present students, staff, and parents at KAS to celebrate the milestone birthday with a party on the field.

Fenella Dernies, great great great niece of Millicent Fawcett (who opened The King Alfred School), with Kara Conti President of The King Alfred School Society
Fenella Dernies, great great great niece of Millicent Fawcett (who opened The King Alfred School), with Kara Conti President of The King Alfred School Society

Head, Robert said: “Our 125th year is a historic moment for our community and a point in time that has given us many opportunities to reflect on the School’s journey so far. But it is not just about honouring our past, it is also about inspiring our future. We know the positive impact that a KAS education has on our students, empowering them to make a difference in the world, and we look forward to continuing that tradition over the next 125 years.”

“Having Fenella and The Fawcett Society with us for our anniversary event was a perfect nod to the School’s beginnings. Millicent was independent, determined, and courageous. These are the qualities that King Alfred has always sought to nurture, and it is a fitting thought that she set the process in motion.”

Old Alfredian staff and students from as far back as the 1930s joined the current community to share stories of their time at KAS and about life at the School today. In a special moment, the School’s community gathered on the field and posed for a drone photo to record the historic gathering.

Paul Davis, a 90-year-old Old Alfredian who started at the School in 1937, said: “KAS will always hold a special place in my heart. The education I had here has had a lasting impact on me and the same is no doubt true for the many thousands of children who have come here over the decades.”

The anniversary event saw the Sixth Form building transformed into an exhibition space for the KAS archives, with images and artefacts documenting the School’s fascinating history. Offering an alternative exhibition experience, the Archive photos were uploaded into a unique VR Gallery for visitors to enjoy. Mugs, bags and t-shirts emblazoned with gorgeous prints from the archive were for sale alongside the KAS 125 book.

Students in the Lower School contributed to the day by creating 125 clay models of King Alfred inspired by past parent Antony Gormley’s ‘Field’ installation, which they hid around the site and challenged people to find.

There was entertainment throughout the afternoon, including musical performances from students and Old Alfredians who took to the Treehouse, which became a performance space for the event. Visitors were also entertained by KAS’s very own cheerleaders, the KAS Jets.

The School even brought the old Fives Court back to life for one day only. Similar to squash, the game involves two or four players hitting a ball around a walled court – but using only their hands.

The sense that the current KAS community is a continuation of those founding families was all around and the smiles were evidence of the continued success of the KAS model.

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