KINGHAM Hill School has celebrated a milestone in its history with the laying of the cornerstone for its new multi-million-pound mathematics and science building.

As previously reported in The Journal, the independent school near Chipping Norton is taking on an ambitious expansion project to build a new maths and science block and a new library.

Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sydney, and former Kingham Hill School pupil, was guest of honour and laid the cornerstone of the £4 million building.

Pupils, parents, governors and guests came together for a day of festivities including an academic discussion between two scholars.

Professor Bland-Hawthorn was joined on the lecture platform by the eminent Chair of Electrical Engineering from the University of Oxford, Professor Lionel Tarassenko for a morning of talks before a chapel service and laying of the cornerstone was held to dedicate the new building.

Headmaster Nick Seward said the cornerstone ceremony marked a special moment in the school’s history.

"This is the first significant structure to be built on the Hill for many years and marks an exciting new chapter in the life of Kingham Hill School," he said. "It was wonderful for our pupils to have the opportunity to hear first-hand from two of the world’s leading scholars.

"It is my hope that this new building will inspire a new generation of mathematicians and scientists, some of whom may also follow in the footsteps of our speakers as experts in their academic fields, but above all, leave school with a thirst for knowledge of the world around them.”

The new maths and science building, which will be finished later this year, is part of a wider development plan to upgrade facilities across the site over the coming years.

This will include trebling the size of the current library with a new split level facility while phases two and three of the project would include a new sports centre and an updated dining hall.

The school was founded in 1886 by Victorian philanthropist Charles Edward Baring Young for boys who had come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

They lived in houses around the site until 1940 when it became a more traditional boarding school.