The Story of Tyndale Community School
Tyndale Community School was formed as a result of two stories coming together, Oxford Community Church and Chapel Street Community Schools Trust.
Oxford Community Church, led by Dr Steve Jones, had a burning desire to start a new school in Oxford. For a number of years, Dr Steve explored a number of avenues for starting a school with an inclusive, broad and generous christian ethos. Most of these options were not viable. When the government's Free School option opened up, Dr Steve knew that there was a way forward.
The Salvation Army were asked if they would get involved in starting schools due to their work in areas of deprivation for the last 150 years. Unfortunately, the Salvation Army were unable to support this venture. However, Russ Rook, leader of their youth work, decided to set up an organisation called Chapel Street, with the vision of providing public services, including schools.
Keith Elmitt, one of the leaders from Oxford Community Church, met Russ Rook at an education conference in Oxford during 2011. Chapel Street became the chosen vehicle of expertise for a new school to get started. A dynamic partnership between Oxford Community Church and Chapel Street Community Schools Trust started. A building was found to host the new school and Oxford Community Church with the founding principal, Liz Russo, put forward a bid in 2012. The school eventually opened its doors for the first time in September 2013. In 2016, Liz Russo relocated to the South West to become Teach First's schools partnership manager and Matthew Watt became the new Headteacher. Since September 2019, the school hosts all primary year groups, from Reception to Year 6.
Liz Russo, founding new principal, showing prospective parents around the building in 2013 before the school started.
The new building and site was the William Morris Social Club, before becoming the site of the Tyndale Community School.
In May 2020, Tyndale Community School transferred over to a local and larger trust for both stability and security as we look to the next phase of our school's growth, influence and impact. As our ethos remains central to who we are, we chose Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust to be our Trust with the DfE's approval.
Why the name William Tyndale?
William Tyndale (c.1494–1536) attended school and university in Oxford before continuing his studies on the continent. Oxford school children today can be inspired not only by his academic success but also by other aspects of his remarkable life.
His name was chosen for our school for the following reasons:
- He had a passion to educate all sorts of people, famously telling a learned clergyman that he would cause the “boy that driveth the plow to know more.”
- He worked hard to overcome language barriers, learning eight languages and giving much of his time to translation work.
- He made innovative, entrepreneurial use of the new technology of his day, realising the power of the printing press to make important information accessible to everyone.
- He stuck to his principles under great pressure, even to the point of being executed for his conviction that the Bible should be made available for everyone to read.
Recommended Reading for those who want to find out more about the life, works and death of William Tyndale.
'William Tyndale is the only writer in the English language more influential than William Shakespeare. Melvyn Bragg, with his unique view of the broad sweep of social and cultural history, understands this in all its many dimensions. He succinctly lays out the details of Tyndale's life, achievements and legacy, and vividly shows us the man's genius, his passion and his "heroic innocence" in the face of Henry VIII's tyranny . . . In short, it is one of the greatest stories of individual sacrifice for the greater good in the history of the world.'
Ian Mortimer FSA, FRHistS, historian and writer