Specialist independent school for children with dyslexia opens in Somerset

Staff from recently closed Shapwick School will run the new independent school for pupils aged eight to 16

A specialist school for pupils with dyslexia will open in Somerset in 2021 nearly a year after a similar institution closed in the region.

The Levels School in Ashcott, near Glastonbury, received approval from the Department for Education (DfE). Shapwick School, in nearby Bridgwater, closed in March: it had recently received an “inadequate” Ofsted rating and had financial difficulties.

Staff from Shapwick School will run the new independent school for pupils aged eight to 16 with dyslexia and learning differences associated with the condition.

Parents will pay privately to send their children to the school or apply for education, health and care plan (EHCP) funding from their local authority.

After the devastating news about Shapwick’s closure and the brutal rupture in my daughter’s education, the proposed development of the Levels School is a beacon of hope at a particularly difficult time – Parent

After Shapwick closed, the teachers were unable to get new jobs because of the lockdown. “So we decided to put our time to good use and set up our own school,” said headteacher Caroline Cook.

The Levels School was the brainchild of long-serving Shapwick teacher Brad Middleton. He wanted to create a school that “celebrated neurological diversity and every child could feel confident enough to take risks in their education without the fear of failing or of reproach from others”.

Cook takes on leadership of the school, having joined Shapwick School in 2017.

A parent of a Year 10 pupil said: “After the devastating news about Shapwick’s closure and the brutal rupture in my daughter’s education, the proposed development of the Levels School is a beacon of hope at a particularly difficult time.

“We are especially thrilled at the strength and depth of the therapy provision and of course look forward to seeing familiar faces from September. Fervently hoping that all goes to plan, we can’t thank Brad and the whole team enough for the vision, care and passion. Can’t wait for the autumn!”

Image credits: The Levels School 


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