New Additional Resource Provisions for children with special needs to be created in Hackney
Hackney Council is consulting on proposals to create three new Additional Resource Provisions (ARPs) at three schools in the borough, which would see 78 additional places made available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND):
- Proposal to create an ARP for Early Years at Comet Nursery School & Children’s Centre (24 places);
- Proposal to create an ARP for Speech, Language and Communication Needs at Sebright Primary School (24 places);
- Proposal to create an ARP for Social, Emotional & Mental Health Needs at Stoke Newington School & Sixth Form (30 places)
This is in response to the significant rise in the demand for places for children and young people with SEND observed in recent years in Hackney and across London.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase of children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) in Hackney. This upward trend is predicted to continue and is also being seen across London. Just in the last two years, the number of Hackney children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) increased by 18.5 percent (from 2,645 in 2021 to 3,243 in 2023). In February 2023, the percentage of resident 0-24 year olds in Hackney with an EHCP was the second highest among statistical neighbours (4%), and the 9th highest across England.
ARPs offer additional focused and specialist support for children with SEND within a mainstream school environment. They are designed to meet the needs of children with a higher level of need, and will often have dedicated classrooms and other facilities within the school, as well as qualified SEND professionals. Children typically spend part of their time in the ARP and the remaining time with their mainstream peers in class. Children are allocated based on need and by the Council’s Education, Health and Care Panel.
Hackney has one of the highest percentages of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities across the country - and many of our local families are also struggling with the everyday challenges of the cost of living crisis.
We want to make sure that in these times of exceptional need we do everything in our power as a local authority to provide high quality, timely and sustainable support to those who need it most, despite the challenges we face due to insufficient central government funding.
The current proposals demonstrate our commitment to create 300 additional places for children with SEND by 2026. They are an important step towards ensuring that all children in Hackney have access to the educational provision they need in order to live a happy, fulfilled life.
The proposals are part of Hackney’s longer term strategy that seeks to create additional high quality places to meet the increasing demand for SEND provision within mainstream, specialist and early years settings.
In September 2023, 74 new places opened at three other settings in Hackney (50 places at Side by Side Special School, 12 places at Nightingale Primary School and 12 places at Simon Marks Jewish Primary School).
As part of the same programme of work, the Council asked education providers in Hackney whether they were interested in setting up and managing ARPs for children with SEND to meet the borough’s future special educational needs. The three settings included in the current proposals all expressed an interest in helping to plan for the borough’s future SEND needs.
We are incredibly proud of the exceptional work of the Hackney family of schools, and we want to thank them once again for their relentless dedication to supporting the needs of children and young people, their parents and carers.
We will continue to focus on finding the right solutions to best meet the needs of our changing and evolving community. We will continue to invest in providing the right provisions to respond to the year-on-year increase in numbers of children and young people with SEND, while at the same time supporting schools tackle the falling numbers of mainstream school-age children and young people in Hackney.
Those interested are invited to share their views on the proposals until 7 February, by visiting the Council’s consultation website. Comments will be considered by Hackney Education and a decision on the next steps will be made later this spring.