New specialist school in Somerset to open in January 2021

A brand new specialist school in Somerset has been given the green light from the Department of Education to open in January 2021.

The Levels School is a specialist day school for individuals with dyslexia and co-occurring differences housed on the site of former Shapwick School.

Shapwick School was a specialist school open for 45 years based in Ashcott, near Bridgwater. It taught boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 19 whose education had been adversely affected by dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia.

It suffered a shock collapse in March and was forced to close, having faced financial difficulties and an “inadequate” Ofsted rating.

Less than a month after the closure of the site, former staff member, Bradley Middleton came up with the idea to create his own special educational needs school.

Within 22 days, staff and shareholders were on board and an application to the Department of Education had been completed.

Mr Middleton said: “We all got made redundant in March from Shapwick School. I decided to come up with the idea of creating our own specialist school as there are still a lot of children who still need that special education.

“I got in touch with a few members of staff, told them my idea. Move forward seven or eight months and we’ve finally got there, it’s been tough, but it’s been a massive team effort.

“Nobody has been paid since March but we’ve all had the same vision to set up this specialist school.”

Photo shows a birds eye view of The Levels School which is due to open in January 2021
Photo shows a birds eye view of The Levels School which is due to open in January 2021

A total of 16 staff members who used to work at Shapwick School are involved in the project.

The school is being run by headteacher Caroline Cook was has more than 20 years experience in education, including three years at Shapwick School after joining in 2017.

When it opens in January 2021, there will be capacity for 65 students, with the potential to increase numbers in the future years if the school is secured and established successfully.

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