Nearly 100 more school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities set to be approved
Hackney Council is looking to increase its current investment in new school places and state-of-the-art facilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to £5m, as part of the Council’s ongoing ambition to rapidly expand specialist provision in the borough.
This new provision will help Hackney children who need specialist teaching and support to find it locally, reducing the demands of travelling to suitable schools in other areas.
The latest plans, which already increase the number agreed in the budget earlier this month, are due to be reviewed by the Council’s Cabinet this evening (Monday 27 March), and will seek approval for the creation of up to 93 places:
- 24 places at Sebright Primary School
- 30 places at Stoke Newington Secondary School and Sixth Form
- 15 places at The Bridge Academy
- 24 places at the Comet Children’s Centre and Nursery School.
This builds upon the Cabinet decision in 2022 to create 74 places, with new provision due to open later this year:
- 50 places at Side by Side Special School
- 12 places at Nightingale Primary School
- 12 places at Simon Marks Jewish Primary School.
The Council pledged in 2022 to provide an extra 300 places for children with additional needs by 2026, following a 49% increase over the last five years in the number of children 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. Where capital funding has been provided, the Council has shown it can deliver - working closely with schools to expand SEND places on site in additional resource provision (ARPs), and joining them in developing brand-new, cutting edge schools and facilities.
We are determined that our borough, schools and settings work for every child. This means fewer children should have to leave the borough to access the specialist teaching they need.
We have already created a host of inspiring spaces and facilities, funded through the Council, for children who would otherwise travel out of the borough to attend school.
By increasing our current commitment to £5 million and extending provision across early years, primary and secondary settings, we will be well on the way towards creating 300 additional places by 2026. If all goes to plan, this latest round of investment will take us over halfway to meeting our ambition, with doors opening to new provision from this September 2023.
In the past few years the council has also created:
- 50 new post-16 places at an extensively renovated Pavilion School, which opened last summer
- 14 new places at the expanded Ickburgh School in 2021
- 10 new places for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs at Gainsborough Primary School in 2021.
- 10 new places for students with Autistic Spectrum Condition at Queensbridge Primary School in 2020.
We have shown we can create world-class, award winning SEND provision in Hackney: inclusive places and settings that provide high-quality teaching and learning environments where children feel that they belong.
We’ve been responding to the challenges we face in the borough head-on - and in a child and family-focused way - to stay true to our ambitions by creating these new places in incredible schools and settings. These new proposals demonstrate our absolute commitment to the provision of the 300 additional places we promised in 2022 to create by 2026. But to achieve this, the Government must step up too, and give the long-term funding certainty and support that children and young people in Hackney need.