Council commits to investment in dozens of additional places for children with high needs
Hackney Council has committed to investing £1 million into creating nearly 100 new classroom places - including a state-of-the-art new building - for young people with high needs at four potential sites in the borough this year.
Side by Side School, an independent setting offering specialist educational and therapeutic intervention for children aged two to 19 within the Charedi communities, is set to move into a new home off Lordship Lane, Stamford Hill - already near completion - which could potentially provide up to 50 additional places.
Elsewhere, proposals will be explored for 48 new additional resource provision (ARP) places at three Hackney mainstream schools with capacity within their existing buildings.
The creation of additional resource provision and the investment of £1 million of high needs capital funding investment, agreed, subject to feasibility, by Cabinet on 14 March, will aim to serve the growing number of students who need specialist teaching and support in Hackney and reduce their need to travel to suitable schools in other areas.
It marks an ongoing period of dedicated local investment in special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision, following a 49% increase over the last five years in the number of children locally identified as needing specialist support.
Government funding for SEND provision has not risen in line with need and the Council has long-called for action to tackle this.
Increasing places for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the borough is a priority for Hackney Council.
“If we can proceed with this much-needed additional provision, it will mean some of the most vulnerable children in our communities have the dedicated teaching and resources they need to thrive locally.
I’m proud to have already created dozens of new SEND places - in truly incredible settings - for our children since 2020. This new wave of investment marks a continuation and an acceleration of our commitment to meet an approximate 300 place shortfall of high needs places in primary and secondary schools. We are committed to supporting our schools to provide a broad and inclusive environment for all our young people.
The number of children in Hackney with education, health and social care plans has increased by 49% in the last five years, leaving a funding gap of £15m by the end of this financial year. The government must help us meet this shortfall. However, these new places are part of our local plan to help meet these challenges - working closely with parents, young people and teachers to provide the much needed places for our children and young people.