Bird’s eye view of new special school

Work on a new £21m special school in Somerset is progressing well with the aim of completion in January 2021.

And spectacular aerial footage of the Polden Bower school site in Bridgwater shows the shape and scale of the Somerset County Council project that is part of a wider programme to boost provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in the county.

The, purpose-built school at Bower Lane will cater for 160 students aged four to 16 with the most complex needs, including those with significant mobility difficulties. A further 40 places for young people aged 16-19 will be provided at the existing Penrose School site.

Children, parents and teachers have been able to influence the design and the three-wing school will have a warm water pool for physiotherapy, a sports hall and fully accessible classrooms with latest teaching technology. It will also have a café to help post-16 students to develop vocational skills and encourage engagement with parents and the wider community.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “It’s good to see the progress on the new Polden Bower school. Once open it will have a positive impact on many families, allowing more children to be educated closer to home.

“Like all children, children and young people with complex educational and mobility needs will thrive best when they have the right environment in which to learn, and their teachers the right environment in which to teach.

“The new school is a core part of our strategy to make sure pupils with SEND can go to schools that really meets their needs closer to their homes. As well as being better for the children, it makes it easier for families to engage with the school and the school to develop its sense of community.”

Somerset County Council’s new £8.5m Hazelbrook Campus at Selworthy School in Taunton opened its doors in September 2019. It offers 80-100 places for secondary age pupils with a wide range of Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities.