Oxford’s first new secondary school in more than half a century will definitely open this year after the Government officially approved funding for it.
The Swan School today (April 5th) received confirmation from the Department for Education (DfE) that it will be allowed to open in September, when it will admit its first cohort of 120 Year 7 students.
The school, which will be run by the River Learning Trust (RLT), had received planning permission for its permanent new site at the Harlow Centre in Marston last autumn.
And in February this year it was also given the go-ahead to operate from temporary premises next to The Cherwell School in Summertown for at least a year.
Work even started on the Marston site last month, but the school did not have formal permission to open until the DfE confirmed that it had signed a document known as a Funding Argreement.
RLT was told today that the DfE had done so.
It means that parents of students allocated a place at The Swan can officially accept it and also turn down the back-up place reserved for them at an existing local secondary school.
The Swan School’s founding headteacher, Kay Wood, said she was delighted that a period of uncertainty for parents and students had come to an end.
She said: “It is wonderful news. This is a vote of confidence from the DfE in our ability to deliver an exceptional new school for Oxford.
“We were incredibly confident it was going to open, but it is one thing reassuring people, and quite another being able to tell them it is definitely going to happen.
“I understand why people might have had niggling doubts and I understand how frustrating and unsettling this has been. We can tell people ‘don’t be concerned’, but we are not the ones having to worry about where our child is going to school.
“Parents should be reassured that the planning for the first year is not just starting now – it is well under way. We have key staff appointed and everything is very much on schedule.
“We are on track to hit the ground running in September, in terms of creating a school that everyone in Oxford can be proud of.
“We are particularly pleased for the parents who were offered a place at The Swan but were not offered a back-up place at one of their preferred alternatives – and in some cases were allocated a place at a school outside the city.”