Construction finally begins for special educational needs school

Plans to expand Baytree School onto a second site in Brookfield Walk.

Work is underway to build Baytree School's second site in Clevedon. - Credit: Archant

Construction work to expand Baytree School by creating a 'modern and improved' special educational needs site is underway.

The proposed development has suffered numerous delays after the school's plan to expand on its Weston site was rejected and a neighbour of the Clevedon site lodged a judicial review.

Both the judicial review and subsequent appeal were overruled by a judge, paving the way for the site to finally be built upon.

Children and adults protested against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfie

Protests were held against the proposed development of the second site. - Credit: Archant

Baytree headteacher, Ed Bowen-Roberts believes the Clevedon campus affords future generations with complex needs the facilities needed to flourish.

Mr Bowen-Roberts said: "We are delighted that construction of the Baytree expansion has commenced for this much-needed provision.

"We are looking forward to working closely with North Somerset and Willmott Dixon on delivery of a purpose-built site, which will enable current and future generations of children and young people with profound and complex needs to flourish." 

Contractor Willmott Dixon is expected to source materials locally and provide work experience placements to Clevedon School students - a move which could boost Clevedon's economy.

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The second site will teach between 65 - 80 pupils which, when added to the Weston campus' 72 students, means Baytree School will offer around school places.

North Somerset councillor Catherine Gibbons.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons says she looks forward to working with the local community as the site is developed. - Credit: NSC

"Baytree is the only school in North Somerset designated to provide education to children with profound and complex learning difficulties, so I am delighted that these plans have finally overcome delays and hurdles and are on their way to becoming a reality." Said Cllr Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council's executive for Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning.

"The additional school-places created by this expansion will help to meet increasing local demand, providing more families with the opportunity to access schooling within the district.

“I am pleased to add that the new site in Clevedon has been designed to be sustainable and energy-efficient whilst also making use of renewable technologies, helping reduce carbon emissions and running costs as we work towards the Council’s ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

“We now look forward to working together with the contractors, the school and our local community as the project progresses.”

After holding a consultation, North Somerset's Special Educational Needs (SEN) community informed the authority it needed to revamp the current facilities in the area.

This £18million expansion will equip Baytree with facilities tailored to a range of different needs, with adaptations such as integral hoists for children with limited mobility, sensory rooms, and provision across a single storey for those unable to use stairs, outdoor space and more.  

It is hoped that the new school building will be ready to open in the 2023/24 school year.