The need for more school places
Like most London boroughs, Hackney faces an unprecedented demand for additional school places. This is partly due to the borough's rising population and partly due to the success of our schools - applications have risen considerably since 2000.
We've been working over the last decade to:
- provide six brand new academies
- rebuild or refurbish six secondary schools
- rebuild three special schools
- invest over £40m in new, refurbished and expanded primary schools
One new secondary and 3 more primary free schools have also opened in the borough, along with one primary academy. But we still need to provide more secondary school places.
Projects that are currently being delivered at Nile Street and Tiger Way
The Council is currently building new facilities for two existing schools - New Regents College will move into purpose-built accommodation at Nile Street, while Nightingale Primary School will move to its new school in the Tiger Way development, both in 2019.
To fund this work the Council is also building residential accommodation above the schools, for private sale. This will ensure that the education facilities will be built to the same high quality as our award-winning Building Schools for the Future projects, and will also fund the expansion of Nightingale Primary by one form of entry to help address the need for more primary school places in this area.
The Council is acting as the developer on both these schemes, thus ensuring that the full value of the income generated by selling housing can be reinvested in the schools and other Council priorities. We also retain the freehold on both sites, and plan to make a £12m contribution towards affordable housing elsewhere in the borough from the proceeds of the sale of private homes. Any additional surplus will be reinvested by the Council in other services.
How many additional school places do we need?
We have met the increased demand for primary school places by expanding existing schools, and as a result of central government opening free schools in the borough, but we still need to provide additional secondary school places in advance of these children moving into Year 7 in the coming years. By 2021 Hackney will need an extra 1,650 secondary school places - equivalent to an additional 11 forms of entry, or two new schools.
We are delivering these places through a combination of school expansion projects (including increasing the size of Urswick School by one form of entry) and building 2 new schools, the first proposed for the Britannia site, beside Shoreditch Park, and the second to be built on the Benthal Primary School site, in Hackney Downs. Benthal Primary will move into a new purpose-built facility on the Nightingale Primary site to enable this, as set out in greater detail below.
The Council has worked with the City of London Academy Trust to develop proposals for these two new secondary schools that will provide the additional places we need. The Department for Education provisionally approved these in summer 2016, allowing us to progress these proposals.
The first of these schools, the City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, will open in September 2017 on a temporary site on Audrey Street, on a former Council depot site on the edge of Haggerston Park.
It will ultimately move to its permanent site on Council-owned land on the Britannia site, next to Shoreditch Park. There are more details on this project below.
The second school needed in the borough, provisionally known as the City of London Academy Hackney Downs, is expected to open in temporary accommodation in September 2019 on the former Ickburgh School site, currently occupied by New Regents College, between Ickburgh Road and Brooke Road. It will move to its permanent site, currently occupied by Benthal Primary School (which will move to the Nightingale Primary site) in 2021-22.
We continue to review the demand for additional school places as it changes over time, and will continue to consider other options for meeting the demand, including the expansion of existing schools in the borough.
How will the schools be funded?
The Council is less able to rely on government funding for capital projects, so in some locations we are already co-locating education and residential developments, as at Nile Street and Tiger Way. This will allow us to fund school building projects across the borough through the sale of residential property. In doing so, rather than allowing a private developer to take the lead, the Council will ensure that any funds remaining after the construction costs are met will contribute to other Council projects, rather than being retained as profit by a developer. We intend to use this model to part fund the two new secondary schools we are delivering and the new building for Benthal Primary School, subject to what is feasible practically, financially, and in planning terms.
Proposals for the Britannia site
The Council undertook a feasibility study in summer 2016 to look at a range of options for the Britannia site. This explored whether it was possible to replace the outdated leisure centre with a new facility, build a new secondary school, and provide private for sale housing to pay at least part of the cost of these community facilities, as well as some affordable homes, all on the Council-owned land on that site. This was followed by a 10-week consultation process on the proposed scheme and the feasible options, with the more favoured option presented to Cabinet on 19 April 2017 where approval was given to proceed.
As the Council doesn't have the money available to fully fund a new school and leisure facilities, it is proposing to build approximately 400 private for sale homes on the site, the proceeds of which will part fund the new school, Leisure Centre and approximately 80 affordable homes. It is anticipated that the Council will receive some funding from the Education Funding Agency towards the cost of building the secondary school, but not all that it needs to build to the same quality as our existing secondary estate.
The Academy will provide 900 places for pupils aged 11-16, and have a 200 place sixth form. It is currently envisaged that it will move to this site in the academic year 2020-21.
The feasibility study also looked at options to relocate Shoreditch Park Primary School to a new building, but this option was rejected. It is proposed that an area in the northwest corner of its current site be used to provide some of the housing needed to pay for the overall scheme. The Council is consulting the School on how to improve existing facilities and, if possible, increase the size of the site in other ways, to reduce the impact of using this area.
Proposals for sites in Hackney Downs ward
The Council intends to build the second new secondary school, provisionally called the City of London Academy Hackney Downs, on the existing site of Benthal Primary School, as it is one of the few Council-owned sites large enough to accommodate 900 pupils aged 11-16 plus a 200 place sixth form.
- read the Hackney Downs update April 2017 [pdf, 146.62Kb]
- Hackney Downs schools proposals FAQS [pdf, 141.55Kb]
Benthal Primary School will be provided with a new building on the Nightingale Primary site, which will become available when Nightingale Primary moves to its new premises at Tiger Way in 2019. Benthal Primary will remain in its current building on its existing site until the new school is ready for it to occupy, eliminating any need for it to go into temporary accommodation.
We need to open the secondary school in 2019 to allow us to keep pace with the growing demand for secondary places. As the permanent site, Benthal Primary, will not be available until c. 2021-22, we propose locating the Academy on the old Ickburgh School site for a limited period (c. 2 years) while we prepare its new site for occupation.
The Council will receive no funding from central government towards the cost of rebuilding Benthal Primary School, and only some of the costs of building the new secondary school, so will investigate whether private for sale homes can be provided as part of a mixed use development on both the existing Benthal and Nightingale site.
Detailed feasibility work will be undertaken by the Council from autumn 2017 onwards to confirm the scope of its proposals for each of the sites and schools detailed above.