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(UK) Chard: Council to vote on new special school

May 18, 2023, Somerset County Gazette: Laurels Day Centre in Chard could become new special needs school

SW England

A former day centre near a Somerset hospital will be transformed into a special needs school if new plans are approved.

The Laurels day centre on Wilkins Close in Chard was run by Discovery until its closure in March 2020 at the beginning of the first national coronavirus lockdown….

But the site could soon get a new lease of life as a school for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

SEND provider 3 Dimensions Ltd., which runs the existing school at Chardleigh House north-west of Chard, has applied to Somerset Council to turn the day centre into a satellite site for up to 30 pupils between the ages of 7 and 19.

A spokesman for Alder King Planning (representing the school) said: “The school supports children with social, emotional and mental health needs including autism. The school was rated ‘good’ with outstanding features by Ofsted in 2022.

“It is proposed that the two sites will sit under a single school registration and leadership team. It is anticipated that up to 30 children will be educated at the Laurel Centre.….

The new school is expected to create 12 full-time jobs for local people, with 17 car parking spaces being provided within the site.

Chard Town Council has already backed the plans, with its planning and highways committee stating that it was “really good to have a local employer get this great building back to use in the educational arena.”

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the plans by the summer – meaning that, if permission is granted, the school site could open some time in 2024.


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