This month, parents of special-needs children in Oldham, Greater Manchester will have to get used to a new name as the Kingfisher School opens its gates for the first time. It is a merger between three existing schools and means that another name - which has become familiar to many of those pursuing service excellence in both public and private sectors - will disappear for good.
Over the past 28 years, Foxdenton School & Integrated Nursery has been a pioneer in introducing quality management principles and a service ethos into education, winning many accolades over that period. It became an evangelical mission for head teacher Mel Farrar.
Over that time Foxdenton introduced such novel concepts as surveying parents, forming a school council that involved children, and even rewarding taxi-drivers who brought the children to school each morning. The overriding philosophy has been 'to make champions of our children'.
The special-needs children who attend Foxdenton often have to cope with severe disabilities, but it is a tribute to its teachers, support staff and helpers that they positively wanted to go to Foxdenton. As one parent puts it: 'N is the only one of our children who cries when she is not at school.'
Says Farrar: 'We have got to make every second count. Some of our children don't make it beyond 10 years old.'
The children at Foxdenton benefited from a commitment to constant improvement and to seeking out and acting on new ideas. And there have been notable successes. A special-needs pupil who left the school aged five to enter the mainstream gained a degree and now teaches in the local sixth-form college. The new school will face a new set of challenges, but it will also have a good deal to build on.