FORMER students of Shapwick School near Bridgwater have spoken of the transformational impact attending the school had on their lives after its shock closure this week.

The school taught childen aged between the ages of eight and 18 who had dyslexia or other related learning difficulties.

However after 45 years, it was revealed the school announced is permanently closing.

Former pupil Victoria Panayotopoulos, who started at the school in 2001, said: “I will miss this wonderful and beautiful school, and I hope the students there will be given good support at another special school.
“Never forget those with hidden difficulties.”

Bridgwater Mercury:

Natalie Harrow attended Shapwick between 2004 and 2009.
“I couldn’t read or spell well, and thought maths was the devil until I came to Shapwick,” Ms Harrow said.
“But this wasn’t just a normal school, they did so much other stuff to help you as well.”
Natalie says if it was not for her time at Shapwick, she would not have gone on to get a foundation degree in agriculture management and set up her own business in locomotion scoring for dairy cows.
Natalie continued: “I owe Shapwick a lot for helping me getting where I am today. 
“The school changed my life and made me the person I am today. For that I am so grateful for the school and the memories it has given me, and friendship that will last forever. It will be sadly missed.”

Jeremy Pidgeon said Shapwick helped him get his GCSE’s when other schools had written him off, and he went on to become a police officer.

Another former pupil Emma Cooper, came from the island of Sark in the Channel Islands to attend Shapwick between 2004 and 2009.
“My first school taught me to read, write and spell, but Shapwick taught me how to be confident in myself and wear my dyslexia like a badge of honour,” Ms Cooper said.
“I would still consider my school friends my extended family. 
“One of those friends was my maid of honour and another did the reading at my wedding as well.”