New school opens on old college site

November 22 2021

Head teacher Craig Abbs at Soundwell Academy

Head teacher Craig Abbs at Soundwell Academy

STAFF and pupils have moved in to a new school created at the site of the former Soundwell College.
Soundwell Academy is a free school operated by the Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust, for children aged from five to 18 with a combination of social, emotional, mental health or speech, language and communication needs.
Work began on the £9.3 million school campus last year, while the first lessons took place on a temporary site.
Now all 88 students and 48 staff have moved in and are using the new facilities at Soundwell Academy, starting after the half-term break following a two-week induction period.
Some of the old college buildings were refurbished and others have been demolished to create the new school, which will eventually offer 136 places and employ up to 80 staff across teaching, administration, technical support, catering and maintenance by the time it is fully open in 2023.
As well as classrooms, sensory rooms and sporting facilities, the school has a vocational area with facilities for catering, hair and beauty and hospitality as well as vehicle, building and woodwork workshops, a forestry school and horticultural area with a kitchen garden.
The school also provides weekday overnight support and accommodation in a respite unit for up to 12 pupils, as well as a 20-place sixth form.
Head teacher Craig Abbs said: "It’s wonderful to finally be in our new school where we’ve been able to specify exactly the sort of spaces we need for our students to help them thrive.  
"There is still much to do and I’m looking forward to planning events for later in the school year where we can invite the local community."
The school serves children from across South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset, with places funded by the councils and students referred through their education, health and care plans.
Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust also runs the Knowle DGE Academy in Knowle West and has been working with the three councils and the Department for Education to create the new school.