By Edward Rowe
Primary school starter numbers have dropped recently despite growing demand for school places, a top Hackney education official has said. “Over the last decade we’ve seen a steady increase in demand for places however, in the last year or so, like many London boroughs, we’ve seen a drop in the number of children starting primary school” Hackney Learning Trust Head and Director of Education Annie Gammon told the Hackney Magazine.
“The reasons for this are unknown” she explained, “but could be related to house prices, benefit changes and possible effects of Brexit.”
Lower primary school uptake has affected boroughs across the capital, but officials insist Hackney Council is keeping tabs on the situation. “This is a pan-London issue, which could be a blip or it could have a longer term impact. Hackney is well placed to respond to changing demand for school places: we are closely monitoring projection data to ensure we have appropriate numbers of school places for all local children” Ms Gammon added.
Educators have combined year groups to address the issue, with Harrington Hill Primary School having had a mixed year 1 and 2 class since September 2017.
Class organisation is determined by individual head teachers and governing bodies, and mixed aged classes may be considered by schools that have vacancies in two consecutive years, or where the admission number is not a multiple of 30. A number of primary schools across London have mixed age classes, and have had them for several years.