Progress Update: Kingfisher Special School

Progress Update: Kingfisher Special School

Kingfisher Special School is the only Primary School in Oldham for children with complex and severe learning needs. Kingfisher creates an environment for ‘Safe, Happy Learners’ whilst offering an exciting and creative curriculum for the children to learn in.

Oldham Council utilised the services of Procure Partnerships Framework to procure a contractor for the Design and Build of two separate extensions to Kingfisher Special School. The first extension is to create space for a new hydrotherapy pool to replace the existing, above -ground pool. The second extension will provide two new classrooms.

The existing building at the school is being reconfigured to create a conference space. Seddon will also optimise available learning space to providing further opportunities for staff to tailor their specialised teaching to the unique requirements of each child.

Michael Unsworth, director of business at Kingfisher School, said: “As the only school for primary aged children in Oldham with the most complex and severe learning needs, this work is absolutely vital for us to continue supporting as many young people and their families as possible.

“The new state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool is a highlight of this work and will be particularly important to help children maintain a range of joint and muscle movement and engage in swimming when they are unable to access a local public pool. We can’t wait to welcome visitors to see this and other new facilities when work is complete”.

Seddon Construction was appointed by Oldham Council and started on site in November 2019. In the months since we last covered this project significant progress has been made by Seddon. What follows is how the contractor has managed challenges, which include ensuring the natural environment around the site continues to be protected as well as delivering the project whilst the school remains operational.

Ecological Management

During the pre-construction period Seddon engaged an ecology partner and undertook a series of ecological surveys. It was identified that bats were present on site. Consequently, prior to commencement of works the contractor was required to obtain a European Protected Species License (EPSL) from Natural England.

It was vital all the requirements and criteria for licence approval were met to prevent delay to the project programme. Once the EPSL was granted, works could commence in compliance Seddon’s submitted method statement for the safe capture, transport, and rehousing of the Bats. Bat boxes were installed prior to any removal works to ensure suitable habitats for the migrated roosts.

Business as Usual

Kingfisher School remains fully operational, this includes out-of-hours clubs and weekend activities. The site is confined within the construction area which is in close proximity to the school entrance. Careful consideration was given to safety and disruption throughout the project and a detailed logistics plan was agreed. Deliveries are not permitted before 9am and after 2.30pm to avoid drop-off and pick-up times, which are particularly busy due to the large number of students arriving via taxis, mini-buses or parent drop-off. The Seddon site manager meets daily with the school caretaker to discuss planned works and any coordination changes.

John Shannon, regional director of property services at Seddon, said: “This is a significant project for the people of Oldham. As the local population has grown, demand for places at the school has increased nearly 50 per cent in just over five years.

“The additional space and facilities that this refurbishment delivers will allow the exceptional team to continue offering the very best education and care to young people with additional needs in the local community, preventing them from having to travel further afield.”

Robbie Blackhurst, Framework Director at Procure Partnerships Framework, added: “The extension works and new Hydrotherapy pool at Kingfisher Special School will have a transformative impact on the communities it serves, from day one the user has been paramount every step of the way. Seddon have expertly dealt with the ecological situation that developed on site and by maintaining clear communication with the client has ensured that any challenges are managed”

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