In September 2015, there were 79 schools in Hackney’s maintained sector. 4 This is split into the types of provision described in Table 4.

In order to make the most of opportunities within school settings to promote health and wellbeing, the London Borough of Hackney has been piloting the Health Heroes programme in several primary schools since 2013. The programme works with participating schools specifically to tackle the high levels of child obesity observed locally (see ‘Children and young people’ JSNA Chapter), through the creation of ‘healthy weight environments’. The Health Heroes programme takes a whole-school approach and activities are funded to achieve two broad objectives: increasing physical activity and/or improving access to and knowledge of healthy food. Interventions that have been tested out as part of this programme include food growing, gardening, catering reviews, playground zoning and lunch-time sports activities. In July 2016, a new grants programme was launched, which enables schools to bid for match funding projects.

Table 4: Type of school provision and number of maintained schools in Hackney

Type of provision Number of schools
Nursery 2
Primary schools (58)
Community primary 38
Voluntary aided primary 14
Primary academies 3
Primary free schools 3
Secondary (15)  
Community secondary 2
Voluntary aided secondary  


Secondary academies 7
Secondary free schools 1
Special 3
Total 79

Source: Hackney Learning Trust

The Virtual school

The Virtual School is responsible for ensuring that looked after children (LAC), care leavers and young people subject to youth justice orders achieve the best possible educational outcomes. The service consists of a multi-disciplinary team that work with young people, schools, colleges, social workers, detention centres and foster carers to support young people through school and into further or higher education, employment or training. The service provides:

  • bespoke support to young people in educational settings
  • additional learning experiences
  • support with school moves
  • advice and guidance on educational pathways
  • training to schools, social workers and foster carers on educational issue

Special schools

Special schools provide specialist workforce and equipment to deliver a high quality education provision to pupils to meet their needs and achieve their outcomes. Special schools for pupils aged 2-19 years old can offer provision in one or more of the four areas of special educational needs: 5

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • sensory and physical needs.

In addition, special schools can offer further specialised provision within these categories to reflect the special educational needs they support, e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, visual and/or hearing impairment or speech and language difficulties. A child or young person must hold a Statement of SEN or EHCP to attend a special school.

Special schools located in Hackney are described in Box 4 below

 Box 4: Special schools in Hackney

The Garden School

The Garden School offers education for 4-16 year olds, with highly specialised provision for learners with autism.

Stormont House

Pupils at Stormont House are aged 11-17 and have complex and inter-related special educational needs to the extent that their ability to learn, thrive and develop in a secondary mainstream setting is significantly affected.

Ickburgh School

Ickburgh School is an all age, mixed special school for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Box 5: Early years case study: Ann Tayler Children’s Centre, Hackney Council 6

Ann Tayler Children’s Centre Nursery in Hackney follows a robust transition process which helps parents and carers to support their children as they move onto next stages in their learning – from home to nursery and from nursery to school. This approach, coupled with meticulous assessment of children, results in children being confident and independent learners who are well prepared to move on to school.

Home to nursery

Every child receives a home visit prior to starting at the nursery from a key worker and a senior member of staff. A worker shows children what the nursery room will look like, and a welcome pack is given to parents that includes strategies to support children’s learning at home. An ‘All about my child’ record is completed during the visit. This record: enables the key worker to gather information about the child’s development, identify the child’s interests and needs, guides the key worker as to the child’s stage of development, and leads to an initial settling-in plan. This is reviewed at six weeks to see if the child is reaching expected levels.

Time to move on: internal transitions

When it is time to move on from the nursery to the pre-school room, a phased transition begins which includes a group meeting with parents/carers and teaching staff. A ‘My Passport’ is completed in partnership with the parents looking at key child learning and development stages. Ofsted noted that this leads to children who ‘are extremely well prepared for their next stages in learning.’

27 month review: ‘Happy, healthy and ready to learn’

Children receive an integrated health and early years review at 27 months of age, where the health visitor, the child’s key worker, the child and parent/carer come together to jointly review the child’s health, development and learning. Where there are concerns about a child’s progress, the integrated review process ensures that concerns are quickly addressed through referrals to relevant agencies, e.g. to speech and language therapists.

Getting ready for school

In the summer term, the nursery invites parents and carers to a ‘Prepare your child for school’ workshop. The workshop covers topics including: ‘Understanding the emotions of transitions’ – led by First Steps, the local authority’s child psychology service; ‘How it felt for us’ – led by parents and carers whose children started school last year; ‘Preparing your child and what to expect’ – led by children’s centre teachers; and ‘How to help your child with language development’ – led by the speech and language department.

The nursery has strong links with local schools, so children are supported in the transition to school. Children make visits to their new school with their parents and carers and key workers. They take photographs of their school and share these with their friends. At the end of September, the nursery sends questionnaires to parents and carers to find out if transition activities were effective and to evaluate what else it can do to support transitions. Comments from parents and carers included:

“My child had been learning phonics and numeracy since before she started school, which reinforced her excitement about learning. Her confidence was built up so she was excited about making new friends and learning to read and write. The nursery is very good at celebrating the achievements of children and making each child feel special.”


  1. Hackney Learning Trust, “Primary and Secondary School Admission booklet,” 2015
  2. Department for Education, “Children with Special Educational Needs,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed June 2016]
  3. Ofsted, “Ofsted examples of good practice in early years,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed June 2016]
  4. Hackney Learning Trust, “Primary and Secondary School Admission booklet,” 2015
  5. Department for Education, “Children with Special Educational Needs,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed June 2016]
  6. Ofsted, “Ofsted examples of good practice in early years,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed June 2016]