Proposed expansion of Baytree Special School

We’re proposing to expand Baytree Special School from a 72 to a 120-place school.

The school would be located across two sites: the current site in Weston-super-Mare and a new site, potentially on land next to Brookfield Walk in Clevedon. The second site would open from September 2021.

The proposed expansion

The number of children and young people in North Somerset who have Special Educational Needs (SEN) is increasing, and more of these pupils have severe and profound needs.

Baytree Special School is the only school in North Somerset designated to provide education to children with severe and profound learning difficulties. The school needs to be able to offer more places to meet this increasing need. As a result, it needs to expand. You can find statistics outlining why Baytree School needs to expand in our facts and figures document:

Unfortunately the current school buildings can’t meet the increasing complexity of students’ needs. For example, more pupils are needing specialist equipment such as fixed ceiling hoists which the existing buildings can’t accommodate.

We’re proposing to expand the school onto a second site. This second school site would be for children who have the most complex needs. The current school facilities could then provide more places for pupils who have less acute needs.

The proposed site

13 potential sites for the expansion were reviewed and land at Brookfield Walk in Clevedon was identified as the most suitable location.

Review work was initially carried out by officers. The Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Panel then requested that all sites were reviewed again.

This was done by Cllr Mark Canniford, the council’s Executive Member for Business, Economy and Employment, and it was carried out independently of council officers. Cllr Canniford also concluded that land at Brookfield Walk is the most suitable site for the expansion of Baytree School, of the locations that are available to us.

In August 2019 we published the executive member decision allocating the land at Brookfield Walk as the potential expansion site. It includes an appraisal of the 13 different sites:

We’ve carried out some initial surveys at the site, which have looked at ecology, drainage and air quality. No issues have been identified which couldn’t be addressed by appropriate designs.

Public consultation

A consultation about the school needing to expand and its location onto a second site has now closed. Of the 428 responses received 96% were in favour of creating the extra places, and 90% said they supported proposals to do this by expanding into a purpose-built school at a second site.

For more information about the consultation and its results, including responses in full, see:

Next steps

The expansion is subject to planning permission being granted. The executive member’s decision to release the site as a potential location for the expansion doesn’t preempt the outcomes of any planning application. The preferred site is in the greenbelt so officers will therefore take the advice of experienced planning consultants and engage in early pre-application discussions.

You’ll be able to comment on the planning application and share your views about using land at Brookfield Walk after the application has been submitted. We’ll update this page when the planning application has been submitted.

A planning decision is expected in 2020.

Useful links

The proposed expansion is part of our strategy to provide more places for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Our commissioning strategy outlines our approach to making sure there is the right number of pre-school and school places in North Somerset:

A report outlining the need to expand Baytree Special School was presented to the Children and Young People’s Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel at their meeting in June 2019:

We issued a news release about the allocation of land next to Brookfield Walk as the possible expansion site: