Near 50 per cent increase in need for SEND places in Hackney

File photo dated 12/09/18 of students in a lesson at school, as a new report suggests the national c

Hackney Council have approved a strategy to help expand SEND school places in the borough while reducing the impact of falling school rolls - Credit: PA

More than 80 special needs school places have been created in Hackney, to serve a growing number of students who need specialist teaching and support. 

In addition to the new school places, new facilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have opened across the borough.

The 84 new SEND places will also reduce pupils' need for travel to specialist schools in other areas. 

However, the need for SEND places in Hackney is growing, with the council reporting a 49 per cent increase over the past five years.

The council still needs to find another 300 places for children with additional needs. 

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, portfolio holder for education, young people and children’s social care, said: “We remain focused on the changing and evolving community we serve.

"We know we need to do more to accommodate the year-on-year increase in numbers of children and young people who need to access specialist SEND provision while at the same time helping schools tackle the falling numbers of mainstream school-age children and young people in Hackney."

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The local authority reports that government funding for SEND provision has not risen in line with need.

To tackle the issue, the council is looking to work with schools with falling pupil numbers to expand the number of SEND places available in the borough. 

It will work with local schools as part of its Education Sufficiency and Estates Strategy, approved on February 28, by the Council's Cabinet.

The cabinet has been looking into the issue of SEND need and the local impact of the trend, seen London-wide, of falling school rolls. 

Cllr Caroline Woodley, Hackney Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for SEND, added: “The creation of these additional places and buildings mark the start of a dedicated period of local investment in SEND provision."

The councillor also calls for more government funding of SEND services, the lack of which, she says has resulted in a £13million shortfall as local need continues to increase.