In 2015, Kingfisher learning Trust applied to the Department for Education (DfE) to open a new Free School called Halcyon Way for children with SLD – MLD. Our application was successful – and we now move the pre-opening phase. This is such good news for children in Oldham as numbers at Kingfisher have been increasing and we have been looking at ways of resolving this.
When Kingfisher first opened in 2001, the population of children included children with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) who were working at lower National Curriculum levels. Over time families have had no choice of placement other than a mainstream school. As numbers of children attending Kingfisher have increased – so has the complexity of need meaning that many children with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) are also being given no alternative choice of placement than a mainstream school. The numbers on role at Kingfisher have increased from 119 in January 2012 to 135 in January 2013 to Kingfisher now being over its increased planned admission number of 160 and we have 181 pupils on role, all with complex and severe learning needs. The building of a new school will enhance the practice of Kingfisher as we will be able to share resources and expertise across the two schools.
Halcyon Way will be a 140 place free school for children aged 4-11 years, with a Nursery provision, for children with Severe to Moderate Learning Difficulties (SLD – MLD). All children will have an EHC Plan (Statement) or be undergoing an EHC needs assessment.
We are calling the new school Halcyon Way because in our last inspection, a standard was identified by Ofsted as ‘the Kingfisher way’:
“The quality of teaching has improved since the previous inspection, even though it was then also judged as outstanding. This is because of the relentless drive to do things the ‘Kingfisher’ way, a standard to which all staff aspire.” – Ofsted 2014