Have your say on special school expansion

A girl with Downs Syndrome with her thumbs upHave your say on proposals to expand a North Somerset special school when a consultation opens next week.

From next Thursday (19 September) you can have your say on proposals to expand Baytree Special School in Weston-super-Mare from 72 to 120 places, and onto a second site.

The plans have been put forward as part of the council’s wider strategy to provide more school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Baytree is currently the only North Somerset school designated to provide education to children with severe and profound learning difficulties.

With an increasing number of children in North Somerset who have severe and profound needs, more places are needed – both now and in the future.

However, due to the limitations on the school’s current site – which it shares with Herons’ Moor Academy, The Campus and Locking Castle Children’s Centre – the expansion cannot be accommodated where they are.

Instead, a second site has been sought where the school could expand onto and so increase the number of places available.

Thirteen possible sites were reviewed and land at Brookfield Walk in Clevedon was identified as the most suitable for the proposed expansion.

This consultation is part of what is known as the school’s organisation process and considers issues relating to the school needing to expand and its location onto a second site.

A planning application is due to be submitted later this year. Once submitted, people will be able to comment on the planning application and share their views about using land at Brookfield Walk.

As part of this school organisation consultation, two public drop-in sessions will take place:

Monday 7 October – 2.30-8pm at Castlewood, Clevedon

Thursday 10 October – 2.30-8pm at the Town Hall, Weston-super-Mare

The proposal to expand the school onto a second site has been welcomed by Baytree staff and governors.

Huw Davies, chair of governors at Baytree School, said: “We support the much-needed expansion of our current school with the creation of a second site.

“A second site would create a positive impact on the lives of the children and young people with the most complex special educational needs by ensuring access to the most appropriate learning environment.”

The consultation launches on Thursday 19 September and runs until 4pm on Friday 25 October. Take part at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/baytreeconsultation