A soon-to-be-built school faces a race against time to open next year and provide much-needed school places after making a breakthrough this month.
A planning application for the 1,260-pupil Swan School, the first new secondary school in Oxford for decades, has finally been submitted.
The free school, to be built on the site of the current Harlow Centre in Marston, was given the go ahead in 2015 but has twice deferred its opening date due to location issues.
The secondary school with sixth form is now due to open in temporary buildings at an undecided location somewhere else in the city in September 2019.
Multi-academy trust The River Learning Trust, which also runs nearby Cherwell School, will operate the school for 11- to 18-year-olds.
Chief executive Paul James said: “I think it is fair to describe this as a milestone moment for all of us who have been working hard to deliver the project.
“A great deal of thought and work has gone into preparing the designs and plans and we are delighted that the planning application process is under way.
“Where we are now is exciting, and it is hopefully all about to start moving quickly.”
The Swan School plans to admit 120 pupils a year, rising to 180 from 2021.
It is considered as key to preventing a school place crisis in the city as the Marston area fared worse than almost any others this year for secondary admissions.
As part of the plan, a new state-of-the-art building will be built to house Meadowbrook College, as well as new outdoor sports and play facilities for neighbouring St Nicholas’ Primary School.
The primary school’s headteacher Paula Phillips said: “We are keen to do our very best for all children in the area and we are hopeful about the future possible opportunities for further collaboration and development across the schools.”
Meadowbrook headteacher Nicola Partridge said: “We are excited at the prospect of our young people having a brand new, bespoke building.”
A free school, the Swan School will be a type of academy, government funded but free of local authority control.