In April 2017 the Department for Education announced that The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) had been successful in its application to open a special free school in Bexley. TKAT will manage the school as part of its family of 44 Academies across London and the South of England.
Cleeve Meadow School was completed in August 2020 and is set up to provide highly specialised education for 120 pupils between 11 and 19 years of age, who have moderate learning difficulties and may have associated additional needs. These may include; speech and communication difficulties, autism and sensory impairments.
This school project is particularly exciting due to its co-location with an existing secondary school – Cleeve Park School. Being located on the same site as a successful secondary school means that Cleeve Meadow will be distinctive from existing local provision and unusual from a national perspective as it will work in partnership with Cleeve Park, wherever possible, to maximise inclusion of SEN pupils in mainstream education by providing access to mainstream teaching and shared facilities. In return, pupils at Cleeve Park School benefit from cutting-edge performing arts facilities, refurbished learning spaces and a multi-use games area.
Jenni Tyler-Maher, Headteacher of Cleeve Park School said:
“I am so pleased to extend Cleeve Park’s inclusive ethos to welcome pupils to the new school on our site. We are entering into an exciting partnership that will bring a variety of opportunities to both students and staff. We look forward to seeing the progress of the free school, and growing and nurturing our new community"
Cleeve Meadow staff will draw on the expertise of Mrs Lori Mackey, Executive Headteacher at Shenstone School. We are working closely with Mrs Mackey to ensure that pupils are receiving the best education experience possible.
On hearing the news that the application had been successful, Karen Roberts, CEO of The Kemnal Academies Trust said:
"This is fantastic news for the young people and families of South East London. The Kemnal Academies Trust is delighted to have this unique opportunity to set up a Special Free School, co-located with a mainstream Secondary School in Bexley. This will be the second Special School to be a part of our Trust, enabling us to share and spread expertise for the benefit of all the young people in all of our schools."