The academy was opened in September 2006 by Prime Minister Tony Blair and was called Britain’s greenest school by The Independent newspaper.
The design of the Academy and the ethos of its curriculum is based on the Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy. The design met these aspirations by sinking the sports hall into the ground to reduce its impact on the surrounding Kensington Conservation Area. The sandstone excavated as a result was used on the flat roof of the hall to create an outdoor wildflower garden. Sedum roofs were established on all single storey classrooms and rainwater was collected in underground tanks.
The design enabled the staff and pupils to utilise all parts of the academy to teach pupils about the environment. For example, 11-12 year olds were provided with a garden adjacent to each classroom and students calculated the cost of purchasing materials for their gardens in maths, whilst also studying the soil in geography lessons. Extensive planting included representative vegetation from around the world.
The school topped the 2006-2007 education league tables as the secondary school that did the most to improve its pupil’s education (11-16 year olds), and was included in the top ten listing of the 100 English secondary schools to ‘add the most value’. It was also a Runner-up in the Sustainable Building of the Year Awards 2005.