A SENIOR leader at one of the country's best state schools is set to become the first ever headteacher at Oxford's new Swan School.

Despite not having yet secured planning permission for the 1,260 secondary school in Marston, bosses are persevering with preparation for the 2019 opening date and have ticked off a key task on their to-do list.

Kay Wood, who is currently vice principal of teaching and learning at The City Academy in Hackney, has been appointed headteacher and unveiled an ambitious vision for its future.

The 32-year-old, who first learnt about the free school via an Oxford Mail article, has pledged to mould it into an ‘outstanding’-rated centre of education.

In an exclusive first press interview she said: "The vision and ethos for the school are everything I believe education should be.

"It is important to drive academic success, but in a way that develops the whole child and qualities such as resilience, respect, kindness and integrity.

"I have worked in outstanding schools in really disadvantaged areas and have had the opportunity to learn a huge amount.

"High expectations driving the students is a real characteristic [of success].

"Prior attainment and social background should be no barrier to success, and education is one of the most important ways of helping to address that."

Her current school is rated 'outstanding', Ofsted's best possible standard, and recognised as one of the best in England for pupils' progress.

Oxford City Council is currently deciding on building plans for Ms Wood's new workplace, which would replace the Harlow Centre off Marston Ferry Road.

Oxford Mail: Initial designs detailing what the new Swan School could look like. Pic: Infinite 3D Ltd/ Galliford Try

Though Ms Wood is not from Oxfordshire, she has several ties to the county and read geography at Oxford University's Christ Church.

Her fiancé Henry Ovens, who she met at university, grew up in Beckley near Oxford and works in Thame.

He is a keen Oxford United fan and regularly reads the Oxford Mail for sports news, where he spotted an article about the Swan School.

The pair are due to get married at Christ Church Cathedral and she described Oxford as 'a very special place' for the both of them.

The River Learning Trust will run the school and already oversees several others in Oxfordshire, including The Cherwell School, which is also rated 'outstanding'.

Ms Wood said: "It was a perfect coming-together of wanting to move, start a new school and, most importantly, working with people on exactly the same page as me."

She said the key to excellent education was having the highest expectation of all students and 'believing every single child can achieve'.

The teacher said she was pleased to join the school from the very start, adding: "It's a blank canvas to build an outstanding school."

Ms Wood has worked in inner city London schools for 10 years but admitted she had less experience in terms of length of career than some headteachers.

But she said she felt confident in the 'breadth and depth' of her work and that she would bring a 'fresh approach'.

She said she was inspired to get into teaching to help disadvantaged pupils secure a better future.

Ms Wood added: "Prior attainment and social background should be no barrier to success, and education is one of the most important ways of helping to address that."

Last night residents refreshed concerns that the school will fuels about traffic, parking and pollution issues and put cyclists' safety at risk due to the access road.

Ms Wood said: "I'm aware of concerns in the local community but I am confident the [River Learning] Trust and planners will come up with specific plans to minimise any impacts.

"We want to work with the community and be a good neighbour at the heart of the community.

"Having an outstanding school in the area and giving more children their first choice of secondary school will have significant benefits, which outweigh the potential impact of traffic."