KEYS to the new expansion building of Clevedon's Baytree School have been officially handed over to headteacher Ed Bowen-Roberts.

The exchange of keys, which took place last week, marks the completion of the £18 million construction project.

Baytree has been transformed from a single site that caters to 72 children with profound and complex learning difficulties, to two-sites offering around 120 school places.

It is hoped that the additional school places provided will help meet rising demand for SEND schooling.

The building has been adapted to cater to different needs, including integral hoists for children with limited mobility, a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms and provision across a single storey for those unable to use stairs.

Councillor Catherine Gibbons, deputy leader of North Somerset and Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Together with Baytree pupils and staff, we’ve watched this new school building take shape, so it’s fantastic to see it finally finished. 

“These facilities are purpose built and state of the art, with a restful atmosphere that will be hugely beneficial for children with SEND. Seeing the smiles of the first learners through the doors today demonstrates what a difference this project will make and what an important investment this is for inclusion in our local area.

“Inclusion has played a key role in construction and the children have come along with us on the journey, helping decorate steel beams that are now in the roof and lay bricks that form the outside walls.

"Now the building is ready, learners can enjoy a smooth transition into their new classrooms as they start to make the space their own.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this project a reality, along with Baytree staff and our contractors at Willmott Dixon."

Ed Bowen-Roberts, headteacher at Baytree School, added: “We are delighted to finally take occupancy of our new incredible provision.

"It has been quite a journey to get here, but now we can begin to transition learners who will all greatly benefit from the state-of-the-art facilities, especially the wonderful new hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms and learning spaces."

Richard Jones, director at Willmott Dixon, concluded: “As a team we are very proud of what we have achieved at Baytree School. Working closely throughout construction with North Somerset and Baytree School we have been committed to ensuring that we deliver the highest quality facilities for children with the most complex needs."