THREE new school autism centres will open in the New Year thanks to more than £2m of investment from Somerset County Council.

Westover Green Community School, in Bridgwater, is set to open its new, 14-place facility in January after a £700,000 investment.

Later in the year a similar base is due to be completed at Holway Park School, in Taunton, along with an extended and refurbished base at Heathfield Community School, also in Taunton.

Together, the developments amount to £2.3m of investment from the county council creating 48 places for primary and secondary school children.

Councillor Francis Nicholson, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Ensuring these children have the best possible access to mainstream education is vital to their ongoing development.

“Providing these new centres is one part of our support for children with special educational needs and is an important example of our ongoing commitment to all Somerset children.”

The centre due to open at Westover Green Community School will be overseen and operated by the Clevedon Learning Trust.

It will feature two large learning spaces, a smaller group room, sensory room, kitchen, office and an accessible bathroom to help students enjoy their education and receive additional support.

Heather Good, executive headteacher at the trust, is pleased to see the development become part of the school. 

She said: “Westover Green Community School has been enhanced with the opening of the new Autism Centre. It is an excellent facility that will accommodate up to 14 children.

“The children are able to access mainstream classes for many lessons and receive specialised support in a calm setting when necessary. The expertise of the centre staff will also enable us to support local schools with outreach work.

“We are a highly inclusive school, so we are delighted to be able to welcome pupils to join our new centre”.