For anyone involved in The Swan School project, this is an extremely exciting time. It feels as if plans for the school have been being discussed for an eternity but the vision for a new world-class comprehensive school in the heart of Oxford is now becoming a reality. For parents, this means finding out if your child has been offered a place at The Swan in just over a month’s time. For our builders, this means finalising plans for our state-of-the-art new permanent site. For me, it has meant officially starting in my new role as ‘principal designate’ just over two weeks ago. As preparations for The Swan gather pace, my aim for this blog is to ensure that all stakeholders in school have access to clear and up to date information about how the project is progressing.
Since moving to Oxford, my work over the last few weeks has been varied to say the least – from making decisions about the furniture, fixtures and fittings in our fantastic new building to evaluating school uniform options to make sure we have the right balance of smart presentation, affordability, and practicality. My design expertise is certainly being tested!
One of the most exciting developments has been starting to recruit my founding cohort of Swan School staff. It is crucial that we get these appointments right as this team will form the backbone of our school for years to come. It is interesting to take the time to reflect on what will make an outstanding member of staff in this context – initiative, leadership, team-work, and resilience are all crucial qualities, but most important is a passion for learning and a fundamental belief that every single child, no matter what their background, can achieve great things.
The first advert, for a deputy headteacher, was posted last week. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to be part of the establishment of a world-class comprehensive school so I am delighted (but not entirely surprised) that the role has already attracted huge interest. It has been my honour to speak about the opportunity with skilled colleagues from across the city and beyond and it is reassuring to know that there are so many talented people working in education in the area. I am confident that we will be able to appoint a fantastic leader who will work closely with me to plan strategically and help to design a world-class curriculum and learning experience that will enhance the lives of our Swan students for years to come. Please do get in touch if you think you, a friend or colleague would be perfect for the role!