Celebrating a year of progress at Baytree School


Construction of the second site of Baytree School in Clevedon reached a major milestone on Friday, as pupils joined North Somerset Council and project contractors, Willmott Dixon, for a ceremony to mark completion of the building’s steel frame.

The £18m school expansion will take Baytree from a single site that caters to 72 children with profound and complex learning difficulties, to two-sites offering around 120 school places.

Before Christmas, pupils had the opportunity to make their mark on the steel frame by colourfully decorating its beams with their handprints. The decorative handprints will be commemorated in the reception area of the new school building when it opens.

Councillor Catherine Gibbons, Executive Member for Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning said: “It’s fantastic to welcome in a new year with a celebration of all of the progress made at Baytree so far.  

“This project is expected have a hugely positive impact on local pupils, meeting rising demand for school places and providing increased numbers of young people with access to education, independence and inclusion.

“Inclusion is a vital part of a project like this one, so it’s great that we’ve been able to innovate and involve the children in the construction progress.

“Not only have they been able to join us today, but they have had exciting opportunities to experience construction from the safety of the classroom, feeling sensory boards filled with concrete, pipes and soil, whilst enjoying a 360-degree film projected to their classrooms walls, each bringing the sights and sounds of the building site to life.”

Ed Bowen-Roberts, Headteacher at Baytree School, said: “As a school community, we are so thrilled to see the progress to date.

“All of our learners have really enjoyed being a part of the process, especially the interactive workshops, which really helped to bring the build to life. As a school community we are all looking forward to being involved in the interior design and ensuring the new school campus meets our learners needs, now and in the future.  

“Over the course of this year, we will be busy preparing for the January 2024 site transfer date and ensuring that Baytree School will be very much an active part of the Clevedon community.”

Richard Jones, Director at Willmott Dixon said, “We have a long standing, collaborative relationship with North Somerset Council, and we are delighted to have reached this milestone on the build of Baytree School.

“Working with the council and the school, we are committed to delivering the highest quality facilities for children with the most complex needs and this new school will enable them to receive support in their development within their local community.  We have significant experience in delivering SEN projects across the region, and the construction of the new Baytree school will provide the pupils with a safe, robust and sustainable environment where they can thrive.”

The new Baytree School building is tailored to a range of different needs, with adaptations such as integral hoists for children with limited mobility, sensory rooms, provision across a single storey for those unable to use stairs and outdoor space.

The project is expected to open in the 2023/24 school year. You can read more at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/baytreeexpansion