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'Family lunches' and Christianity on the menu at free school
Buy this photo » Richard Colbrook and Claire Wong of Tyndale Community School, which plans to offer family-style lunches as part of its Christian ethos. Picture: OX56973 Andrew Walmsley
FAMILY-style lunches and Christian teachings are on the menu for a proposed free school in Oxford. Tyndale Community School hopes to open in the former Lord Nuffield Club, in Barracks Lane, Cowley, in September this year.
The free school aims to start with 60 reception pupils, in two classes, and expand by 60 a year until it reaches 420 pupils in 2020.
Staff are currently searching for two teachers – planned to rise to 14 by 2020 – along with support staff including caterers.
Links have already been created with Oxford High School and pre-schools in the area to help with pupils’ education transition.
The school has also teamed up with Oxford United and community groups in the area to provide after school activities.
Chapel Street Community Schools Trust along with Oxfordshire Community Churches are behind the bid.
Since the Government approved the bid in October, principal designate Liz Russo and parent liaison Richard Colbrook have been holding consultation meetings with parents and community groups and plan more in the future.
Miss Russo said: “The consultation with the public has been the best part of the job so far.
“It is a community school and so being able to get people’s input and understand what parents’ concerns are has been very exciting.”
Asked about Christian teaching at the school, Miss Russo said: “We will not dictate what someone is supposed to believe, but we will be clear about what Christianity teaches.”
The headteacher-in-waiting also confirmed there would be a uniform, currently being designed, and the school would have on-site catering.
She added: “The vision is to have family-style lunches, sitting at tables and actually eat together.
“The idea is to have food on big plates and pass it around, and teach children to serve others before yourself.”
Free schools are directly funded by the Government, rather than the county council, and are Ofsted inspected and subject to performance targets.
Parents have until Thursday to register pupils.