Swan School

The Swan School is Oxford’s newest secondary school and is situated in the parish of Old Marston. Below is some information, links and reports relataed to the Swan School. You can also visit their website: Homepage – The Swan School.

Old Marston Parish Council

Minutes of Meeting with Parish Council and Transport Team of Swan School.

Notes of the meeting with Naomi Winnifrith & Moira Dorey of The Swan School held at OXSRAD on the 26th August 2020 at 6:00pm.

Present:

Parish Council:

Duncan Hatfield           Pat Hall               Louise Milford

Peter Williams             Mary James         Charlotte Vinnicombe

Alistair Morris

Governors of The Swan School:

Naomi Winnifrith                                     Moira Dorey

Tim Cann (Clerk) took notes

Duncan Hatfield welcomed everyone and each introduced themselves.

Naomi thanked the Councillors for agreeing to the meeting and said that most were aware of the initial issues over the building of the school however things need to move on, hence why they had reached out to the Parish Council. All at the Swan School were looking to have open communications to better manage the traffic and parking.

Moira stated that a good travel plan can have a positive impact on the school and the community. On-site parking was limited but that was the decision of the City Council.

Work has already started with the students to install the ‘No Cars’ mindset and give them the skill set to be confident about cycling to and from school.

94% of year 7 students live within 2.5 miles of the school making cycling possible.

45% of year 7 students live within .75 miles of the school.

The School has to provide some parking.

To be allowed to drop off on site a permit is needed.

242 students registered for September term and to date not one has asked for a permit.

The Swan Travel Group are active and have produced leaflets showing routes for cycling to school from different part of Oxford.

Cherwell School is one of the top cycling schools in the country and this is looked to be the benchmark for the Swan School.

Many staff cannot afford to live in Oxford so have to travel in however has been made clear from the start there is not the capacity for all the drive and park on-site so they are expected to bus or car share if possible.

Naomi pointed out that what is currently unknown is whether parents will be worried about their children going to school by bus with COVID-19 still an issue.

They had a virtual meeting with City Councilor Mary Clarkson and County Councillor Mark Lygo to air issues and concerns.

Moira informed the meeting that the temporary school entrance was marshalled and the same will happen with the main entrance although the site will still be shared with GalifordTry until about December.

The students are expected to be onsite by 09:10 and school ends at 16:35 which is different from St Nicholas Primary School.

There is a map showing where the students are coming from across Oxford, the catchment area is virtually the same as Cherwell.

Marston Ferry Road is already No Stopping so hopefully there will not be issues with parents just parking up.

There are already issues with parents dropping off in the Oxford Road, in and around the Mortimer Hall, so it needs reinforcing that part of the Oxford Road is Access Only.

When formulating future travel plans it needs reminding that the village needs some protection and road around St Nicholas School (Raymund Road, Arlington Drive etc.) already have issues on a daily basis with parents dropping children off.

Concern about Meadowbrook College, with other sites closing and all being relocated to Meadowbrook this will be an issue. Moira stated that Meadowbrook was a completely different organization from the Swan School.

Naomi suggested a further visit, perhaps from the Head Teacher, and when open days are permitted the Parish Councillors could be invited.

Naomi stated that they are keen for students to do volunteer work within the Community.

Duncan suggested another meeting possibly in two months.

The Clerk to contact Meadowbrook College to see if anyone from there would like to visit the Parish Council or talk.

Meeting closed: 19:06

Article from Kay Wood, Head Teacher, 23rd January 2021

As I write this, it is almost exactly two years to the day that I moved back to Oxford and started work on The Swan School – Oxford’s first brand-new secondary school for over 50 years.  At that time, sitting on my own in the offices of the River Learning Trust with just a piece of paper to start planning, it was hard to imagine what the school would be like when it finally opened. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that I would have had to have supernatural powers in order to predict quite how everything has unfolded for the school over the intervening months and years!  Yet, despite the challenges, The Swan has made such a strong start and I am so grateful for the hard work that all of our staff, students, and families have put into making our school a success that all of our community can be proud of.

 

There has been so much to celebrate since September 2019 when our first group of ‘cygnets’ first walked through the gates of our temporary site. Right from the start, student attitudes to learning were exemplary and they demonstrated their determination to achieve ‘more than they ever believed possible’.  Everyone in our school community got involved in choosing the names of our four houses – Yousefzai, Berners-Lee, Bannister, and Hawking – named in honour of individuals with a connection to our city who have embodied our school values. We enjoyed getting to know each other more informally through our ‘elective’ programme of enrichment activities and educational visits, celebrating student success as part of inter-house (and inter-school) competitions and our first Christmas Carol Concert (held at Trinity College chapel).

 

Then, just as we were getting into the swing of things, the first national lockdown was announced and, having been open for only just over half an academic year, The Swan was forced to close its doors to the majority of our students.  Since then it has been a year like no other as we have successfully got to grips with teaching remotely, welcoming children back safely during a global pandemic, and setting up a Covid mass-testing system.  Amidst all of this, we have also moved into our new home in Marston and kept calm while operating a school on a building site due to inevitable virus-related delays!  We have even managed to launch our fantastic new sixth form, despite not being allowed to have any visitors onto site!

 

Despite all of these difficulties, however, we remain resolutely optimistic.  Now, as we look forward to lockdown restrictions starting to ease over the coming months, we are excited about the opportunity to embed our school at the heart of our community.  As soon as we can, we will invite our neighbours into our new buildings to showcase both the new facilities our young people are already enjoying and the parts of the site that are available for community use, ranging from the excellent sports facilities to the drama studio and beyond. We are also looking forward to our students getting out into the community to help make it better in whatever way they can. We hope this will include working with Marston Community Gardening group, joining litter picks, forging links with the elderly in our community and working with local businesses. If you have other suggestions for community action we would love to hear from you. We are immensely proud of what we have managed to achieve so far, and hope to become a school that the whole community can be proud of.

 

Kay Wood

Headteacher