BOTH parents and residents had the chance to meet the headteacher of Oxford’s first free school.

Liz Russo has been appointed principal designate of Tyndale Community School due to open next September in the former Lord Nuffield Club building in Cowley.

She met people interested in the project at Oxford Spires Academy in Glanville Road.

Botley resident Mike Carter, who turned up to quiz Ms Russo, said: “I was a teacher for 35 years so education is fairly high on my agenda.

“I was pretty excited to hear her enthusiasm. Every child is important and every child should have the opportunity to realise their potential.”

In October it was revealed that the home of the former Lord Nuffield Club, which closed down with debts of £3m, had been purchased by a developer.

The building qwill then be sold to become a free school while the rest of the site would be developed for housing and all-weather play pitches.

The Tyndale Community School is being set up by Chapel St Community Schools Trust along with Oxford Community Church.

When it opens it will have 60 reception stage children but by 2019 it will have more than 400 pupils.

Miss Russo, 39, is originally from America and taught in Chicago before moving to England in 2001.

Speaking after the event last week she said: “It was a fantastic event and I really enjoyed it.

“As far as things like recruitment are concerned we will be starting it in the new year and the admissions process has opened and the deadline is Thursday, January 31 so there is still time for people to sign up.

“We are determined to provide the best education of all faiths and none.

“We want its diversity to be one of the school’s strengths.”

Miss Russo, who is currently an educational consultant, said more events would be held in 2013 where she could meet members of the community.

A planning application has been submitted to change the former clubhouse into a school but a date for a decision by Oxford City Council has not yet been set.

Tyndale Community School will become the first new school in Oxford to open, excluding academy conversions, since Windale Primary School in Blackbird Leys in 1995.