Managing pupil rolls and SEND provision

Hackney Education continues to review the sufficiency of our local school provision. You can read our plan to review our falling pupil numbers and increase SEND places in our Education Sufficiency and Estate Strategy. 

This strategy was agreed at Hackney Cabinet in February 2022. We will update this page with information about developments to the strategy.

About the Education Sufficiency and Estate Strategy

The Education Sufficiency and Estates Strategy summarises Hackney's four priority issues in relation to pupil population:

  • 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

The strategy commits us to finding solutions to these key issues.

The Education Sufficiency and Estate Strategy details the issues that Hackney needs to address to best serve our pupil population. The strategy proposes to work with existing primary schools and secondary schools. It will seek viable long-term solutions to the fall in demand for school places and review the current school estate alongside other Hackney owned land options, with a view to creating more special provision places for children and young people with complex SEND in the borough.

Why the strategy has been developed 

Since 2015 demand for reception places across London has decreased each year. There are complex reasons for this which include include:

  • a combination of changes to welfare benefits
  • rising rents
  • Brexit 
  • the effects of the global pandemic

The decrease in pupil numbers and falling reception rolls have led to a significant number of surplus reception places, not only in Hackney, but London and more widely. Falling demand for school places is affecting the efficient running of schools, the quality of education and the financial stability of some schools. London Councils (the collective of local government in London) has produced a report outlining the issues in managing surplus places.

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 children. 

While Hackney is experiencing a fall in demand for mainstream places, there has been a significant increase in the number of children and young people with Education Health Care Plans (EHCP). This means that the percentage of each year’s pupil cohort identified as requiring SEND support and provision may increase.  

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.

Our 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.

Requirement for solutions to surplus 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.

The strategy does not list individual sites or address individual concerns. Detailed solutions and implementation plans will be developed from summer 2022 and throughout 2023 alongside the schools.

Hackney Education is continuing to work on a borough wide approach. Since the publication of the strategy, Hackney Education has been reviewing refreshed data and trends, allowing time to review any of the impacts on Hackney and London following on from the global pandemic. Hackney Education has reviewed trends, changes and data including; surplus places, schools in deficit and schools with large surplus physical capacity.

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. 

Options development based on the data and suggested framework have been developed and the latest proposal (March 2023) can now be viewed.

Requirement for increased SEND provision in Hackney 

We are approaching the need for SEND provision in phases.

  • Phase 1A - this phase addresses the more urgent need for places Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Severe Learning Disability (SLD). To be completed around September 2023.
  • Phase 1B - to be considered for capital approval to Cabinet at a later date (approximately March 2023). Estimated for opening September 2024. 
  • Phase 2 - expansion of special schools. Evaluation of suitable sites is underway. As well as in depth understanding of mainstream school capacity (reviewed through 2023). 

In June 2021 we published the option for schools to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to be involved in the creation of a new Additional Resource Provision. We also asked for views on the expansion of our special schools. Using evaluation criteria to review the EOI submissions, selected schools then progressed to the feasibility stage. Read the latest updates on the SEND programme.

This page was last modified on: 29 Sep 2023