The first free school in Oxfordshire has finally opened its doors after a busy year of preparations.
Heyford Park Free School is based on the former RAF base at Upper Heyford and welcomed its first 60 pupils at an opening ceremony last Wednesday.
David Castles, prinicpal, said: “We are delighted to have opened our doors and to see so many excited and eager faces.
“We have placed great importance on welcoming children and parents to the school over the past few months and it was evident today that they already feel part of a school community.”
Mr Castles welcomed the new pupils in an inaugural assembly where they received their new ties and met their house leaders.
The free school’s launch follows a busy year which has involved refining the curriculum, appointing the principal and teaching staff and designing a new school uniform .
It caters for students aged four to 19 and teaches core subjects including maths, English, science and PE at both primary and secondary level.
Pupils are also taught a modern foreign language, history and a variety of specialist subjects such as art, design, music and business.
Year groups are limited to 60 students in total and the school will grow in phases to reach 840 pupils by 2019. This year it will just cater for Year Seven and reception pupils.
Mr Castles said: “We’re excited to be up and running and look forward to our first academic year. We’re proud of the excellent calibre of our staff and the very positive feedback from our Ofsted pre-opening inspection and from parents and the community alike.
“We know students will have a bright future with excellent opportunities here with us.”
Free schools are non-selective, state-funded schools set up by parent, teacher, community or charity groups in response to what the local community says it needs.
The Department of Education authorised the school’s status on July 13 of last year after a proposal was put forward by the Heyfordian School Trust, a group made up of parents, members of the community, educational experts and local business leaders including The Dorchester Group.