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Hackney Education Sufficiency and Estates Strategy (including specialist provision)

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Context to this strategy

This strategy follows on from Hackney's SEND Provision Plan of Intent to review and increase SEND provision within Hackney.

Summary of the 84 new school places created over the last 2 years

  • Queensbridge Primary School - Additional Resourced Provision for up to 10 students with Autism. Completed for admission March 2020. 

  • Gainsborough Primary School -  Additional Resourced Provision for up to 10 students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. Completed for admissions 2021.

  • Ickburgh School - 14 additional places through adapting existing accommodation. Completed for admissions 2021.

  • The Garden School  - Opening a second site to expand by 50 places to include post 16. Completed for admissions February 2022. 

Hackney Education continues to review the sufficiency of our local provision.

You can find our plan for continued increases in SEND places in our Education Sufficiency and Estate Strategy here. 

We will update information about developments to the strategy on this page.

Page last updated 11/04/22

What is the Education Sufficiency and Estate Strategy?

The Education Sufficiency and Estates Strategy (ESE) summarises Hackney's 4 priority issues:

  • falling primary mainstream school rolls
  • the projected fall in secondary mainstream school rolls due to a declining primary roll
  • the significant increase in requirement for SEND education provision
  • a long term sustainable use plan for all education sites in the borough

Please see Hackney's strategy paper here. This commits us to finding solutions to the key issues listed above.

The strategy paper details that Hackney needs to address these issues around our pupil population. The strategy proposes to review the current school estate alongside other Hackney owned land options. This is with a view to creating more special provision places for children and young people with complex SEND in the borough. It proposes to work with existing primary schools and secondary schools to seek viable long-term solutions.

Some schools are experiencing increasingly unmanageable budget pressure due to falling pupil rolls. This paper does not list individual sites or address individual concerns. Detailed solutions and implementation plans will be developed through the 2022 summer term.

We will share updates on this page when available.

Background information - Why has this strategy been developed?

Since 2015 demand for reception places across London has decreased each year. There are complex reasons for this detrimental impact on school rolls include:

  • a combination of changes to welfare benefits, 
  • rising rents
  • Brexit 
  • more recently the global pandemic

Falling reception rolls have led to a significant number of surplus reception places. This is in Hackney, London and more widely; it is affecting the running, efficiency and  financial stability of some schools.

The impact of falling rolls on individual schools creates challenges for school leaders and needs to be managed. An excess number of surplus places in the system can lead to more moves between schools than is helpful for young people. The implementation plans following the strategy will consider guidance for affected schools. 

At the same time there has been a significant increase in the number of children and young  people (CYP) with Education Health Care Plans (EHCP). This is a 49% increase over the last 5 years with an average annual year on year growth of 10.3%. Last year (2021), saw a 17% increase in requests for EHC Needs Assessment.

The demand for high quality provision and specialist places in local settings is outstripping supply. This is in line with national trends. The impact of this is significant.

While the need for specialist places and support services has increased, the mainstream CYP population is projected to fall. This means that the percentage of each year’s pupil cohort identified as requiring SEND support and provision will increase.  

The intention is to increase SEND provision within Hackney so we have to rely less on independent and out of borough settings. This is so children with SEND can attend local schools in their community.

How will the SEND Projects in this strategy be funded?

The projects proposed would be in part funded by the £2.7m we have secured from the High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA). This is a grant paid to local authorities to support the provision of places for pupils with SEND and pupils requiring alternative provision (AP).

This funding will only cover some of the proposed provision. The rest of the capital investment required to meet these needs will form part of the wider strategy invest to save business case. It will be combined with further investment due to be explored in the SEND Business case (to go to cabinet later in the year after feasibility studies).

The requirement for solutions to surplus school places in the school system

The number of children at a lower primary age across the borough has been falling. This means that many schools have been faced with the challenge of running schools with surplus places. This can impact schools and their budgets.

Schools and Hackney Education are working to find long term solutions to this issue. Most schools affected in this way have already planned changes or begun to implement changes. These changes include Pupil Admission Number (PAN) reduction. Other options will need to be considered as outlined in the estate strategy paper.

Hackney Education is continuing to work on a borough wide approach. Firstly reviewing refreshed data and trends including; surplus places, schools in deficit, schools with large surplus physical capacity. 

Options development and review scoped based on the data and an agreed framework.

This will result in public consultation and decision on the options proposed, expected September 2022 to December 2022. 

This will be developed throughout 2022 and we will update here with further details.

The requirement for an increase in SEND provision in Hackney

We are approaching the urgent need for SEND provision in three phases.

  • 1A - this phase addresses the more urgent need for places Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Severe Learning Disability (SLD). To be completed and funded within the current SEND capital budget. 

  • 1B - to be considered for capital approval to Cabinet at a later date (approximately July 2022). Feasibility studies will begin in March 2022. Funding approval will then be requested following Cabinet approval of the invest to save business case. 

  • Phase 2 - expansion of special schools. Evaluation of suitable sites to be completed. As well as in depth understanding of mainstream school capacity (from late 2022 onwards). 

In June 2021 we published the option for schools to submit an expression of  interest (EOI) to be involved in the creation of new Additional Resource Provision. We also asked for views on the expansion of our special schools.

The outcome after strict evaluation of the EOI submissions is that 9 schools will progress to the next stage.  

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