A PRIMARY school is getting ready to welcome its first new headteacher in 18 years.

Matthew Ingall, the current head of Bloxham Church of England Primary School, is leaving at the end of this school year.

The role will be taken over by Lisa Horton, who previously was headteacher at Launton school near Bicester.

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Mr Ingall was due to retire last year, but when recruitment was delayed by Covid-19 restrictions, he offered to stay an additional year to help the school through the crisis.

He said: "I remember saying when I announced my retirement that I had worked through some biblical experiences at the school including a fire in 2005 and a flood in 2007. Who would have thought that a plague-like experience, in the form of Covid, would actually be next.

"In fact Covid has brought out once again the best qualities of our school, and I’d like to take this opportunity to praise and thank the staff and students for their remarkable resilience and hard work through this difficult time.

"It highlights just what a special place Bloxham is, and I know that with Miss Horton joining I am handing over to someone who will be able to continue bringing out the best in everyone."

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In response to her new appointment Miss Horton said: "I am so thrilled to be joining Bloxham Primary School. It’s a real gem in the county and I want to do my utmost to preserve those qualities and see it continue to sparkle.

"There are so many things at Bloxham that are important to me personally, such as being able to learn and play outside, to play and enjoy music, and of course a nurturing and enriching environment where the children feel happy and safe in their learning. I can’t wait to get started."

Miss Horton began her teaching career at Glory Farm School in Bicester. She has experience in many aspects of education including working as lead advisor for vulnerable children for Oxfordshire County Council and as an executive head and consultant head for the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust.

Bloxham Primary School is one of the largest village primary schools in Oxfordshire with 420 pupils, including a foundation stage for children from the age of four.