Polden Bower School taking shape as investment in SEND education continues

A new £23m special school which will cater for 160 students with complex needs in Somerset is taking shape.

Spectacular aerial footage taken in November by Bristol architects AWW shows the size and scale of the new Polden Bower school site in Bridgwater.

The project is part of a wider Somerset County Council 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 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. The school is set to be completed in Summer 2021.

Children, parents and teachers influenced 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.

Somerset County Council has secured in excess of £60m of capital investment in order to improve and expand its specialist provision and ensure more children with SEND can have their needs met close to home in high quality facilities.

Alongside Polden Bower, contractors are currently on site developing Fiveways Special School and Fairmead Special School, both in Yeovil, and Holway Pupil Referral Unit in Taunton.

There is also a further £5m invested in two other SEND schemes which are close to a start on site.

Helen Farnell, Executive Headteacher of Polden Bower School, said: “We are all very excited about our new school nearing completion and the wonderful facilities it will provide for our young people will be amazing. The students are very excited about the rebound room, the soft play and the exciting outdoor play spaces!

“The facilities such as the café and the pool will enable our older students to learn about the world of work.”

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council Lead Member for Children’s Services said: “It is very good to see the progress being made at the Polden Bower site. The new building will provide a valuable facility to support Somerset’s children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their families.

“We are pushing ahead with several key projects which will secure strong local educational provision for children and young people with complex needs for many years to come.”

Once the new school at Polden Bower opens, the current Elmwood School and Jean Rees Centre buildings will be used by Robert Blake Science College and Chilton Trinity to offer more mainstream school places.


Notes to Editors

To view the aerial footage taken by AWW click the following link: Polden Bower School Drone Footage – November 2020 – YouTube

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