Wave Trust, which provides high quality education for pupils in Devon and Cornwall, has been chosen by the Department for Education to open a new special free school in Somerset.

Part of the Government’s free schools programme, the new school will provide 120 new school places for children and young people between the ages of 5 and 16 who would benefit from a special school environment because of barriers to learning. These will include both speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH).

Congratulating Wave for being selected to move to the pre-opening stage of the project, Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, said “I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate you and your colleagues, and to thank you for the effort, dedication and commitment shown so far. Creating additional school places for some of our most vulnerable children and young people is vital, and you can now begin the task of converting your vision into reality."

With the highest proportion of “outstanding" Ofsted ratings in the country for the quality of education provided for pupils who are not in school for medical reasons or who have been excluded from school. Wave runs six academies based in Cornwall, three academies based in Devon and the Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) & Torlands based across three centres in Devon and Cornwall.

Last year the Trust was commissioned by Cornwall Council to provide education services for children and young people who attend the NHS Foundation Trust’s child and adolescent mental health unit “Sowenna” which has been opened on the Bodmin Hospital Site. Staff are also making final preparations for the opening of Glendinning House, a new special free school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Devon.

Wave Chief Executive, Rob Gasson said, “We are very pleased to have been chosen by the Department for Education to open a new free school in Somerset.  Every single member of the Wave MAT team works very hard to ensure that we are providing the highest quality education for all our pupils. We are determined to do ‘whatever it takes’ to improve outcomes for our pupils and change their lives for the better. We recognise that each child learns differently and use a range of methods to ensure that we can tailor our approach to their individual strengths.  Our proven approach has been to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which enables all children to succeed. We have worked closely with Devon County Council during the past 12 months to prepare for the formal opening of Glendinning House, our first special school, which is due to welcome its first pupils in September. This has involved liaising with families, partners and multi-professional teams to ensure that the new school will meet pupils’ needs and provide an ethos where they feel secure, are encouraged to talk, are listened to and feel safe. We will now be working with the Department of Education and Somerset County Council to develop exciting plans for this new special school which will be based at Ash in Somerset.”

“This is really good news for families in South Somerset. The new school will have a real, positive impact, allowing more children to be educated closer to home and their communities,” Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services Frances Nicholson said. She added; “All children thrive best when they have the right environment in which to learn, and their teachers the right environment in which to teach. Children and young people with additional needs are no different, so we are looking forward to working closely with our partners at Wave and the Department of Education to enable the new schools’ pupils to achieve their full potential.

 “The new school fits our core strategy of making sure pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) can go to schools that really meets their needs as close as possible to their homes and communities. As well as being better for the children, it makes it easier for families and the school to engage with each other and for the school to find its place in its community.”

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Notes to editors

For further information or to do interviews with Wave CEO Rob Gasson and Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services please contact :

Wave : Trisha Hewitt at trisha@trishahewitt.com or phone 07946 654121

Somerset County Council : Andrew Doyle, Communications Officer at Azdoyle@somerset.gov.uk or phone 07974413530