Kingfisher School ready to make a ‘Big Splash’

Michael Unsworth, Director of Business at the Kingfisher Learning Trust.
Michael Unsworth, Director of Business at the Kingfisher Learning Trust.

BORIS Johnson’s prime ministerial announcement in February that schools would fully re-open after the national coronavirus lockdown was embraced by Oldham’s newest academy.

Kingfisher Special School, on Foxdenton Lane, Chadderton, is the only primary school in Oldham for children with complex and severe learning needs. A respected and well-established place of learning, Kingfisher strives to ensure that all pupils are safe, happy learners while offering an exciting, creative curriculum which allows the children to learn in the best way possible.

And the full re-opening means that Kingfisher is ready to make a Big Splash…

Thanks to the generosity of The Stoller Charitable Trust, Frank and Judith Rothwell, from Greenfield, St James Place, a British multinational wealth management business based in Cirencester with regional headquarters in Manchester and financial support from Oldham Council, the school’s £2 million Big Splash project is complete and ready to welcome pupils.

“We have also created a new specialist provision for two-year-olds with severe and complex learning difficulties, a first for Oldham, and made modifications to some existing classroom areas to create additional learning spaces,” says Michael Unsworth, Director of Business at the Kingfisher Learning Trust.

Michael told Business Edge: “We are delighted that our Big Splash campaign was successful.

“The whole community of Oldham and beyond have been incredibly supportive of the fund-raising campaign, but without our key partners – Oldham Council, The Stoller Charitable Trust, Frank and Judith Rothwell and St James Place -the project would not have been possible.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported the fundraising campaign and made the Big Splash a reality.

“Although we are now an academy, a development that had to happen so that Kingfisher could grow to extend its provision for more pupils with special needs, we do see ourselves as partners of Oldham Council.

“We had massive support from the local authority with the pool project and they continue to support us in everything we do and we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the children of Oldham get the best possible opportunities.”

Kingfisher Learning Trust, which provided £100,000 towards the Big Splash pool costs via its own fundraising activities, prides itself on it’s individual and creative approach to planning each child’s learning pathway. The staff adjust the curriculum and teaching and learning strategies to meet the needs of every child rather than expecting the children to fit a standard curriculum model.

Kingfisher Special School accommodates 200 pupils, and is in the process of building a new school – Halcyon Way which is due to open in January 2022 – on land adjacent to the current site. A further 140 pupils with special educational needs will be welcomed.

Like every school, Covid-19 and the pandemic have impacted on this centre of excellence, of that there is no doubt, but the resilience of the staff, the pupils and the parents is an example to all and the school is hoping to welcome back all its pupils sooner rather than later.

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