Initiatives to support schools to flourish

Statement

Mandeville School is a flourishing high-quality primary school in Hackney. The Hackney Education team regards Mandeville, and the LEAP federation to which it belongs, very highly. We are supporting LEAP initiatives to grow Mandeville, including increasing nursery places and the groundbreaking Hackney School of Food.

Recently, a leaflet has been disseminated in the community, claiming there may be Council plans to close Mandeville School. To confirm: we have no intention of suggesting a closure of Mandeville and have never discussed any such plan. Any statement to this effect is wrong and is spreading disinformation in the community.

A press article earlier this year discussed forward planning for schools in Hackney: this comprised two concurrent issues: our short-term review of school places in light of a decrease in the number of reception-age children in the borough; and our longer-term considerations should rolls continue to fall. This article drew on the Hackney Education’s school organisation plan document, which is available online, and a public consultation we carried out on immediate admission reductions proposals.

The consultation resulted in six primary schools reducing the number of places in their reception classes from September 2022. One of these was Mandeville. These reductions help secure the future of the schools as thriving parts of our community.

There is no council plan to close any school. Looking at the longer-term, we continue to keep a range of options under consideration when scrutinising demographics, including the impact of housing developments and requirement for special needs places.

Annie Gammon
Director of Education
@HackneyDirofEd

A sense of hope as we move into a safer, more sustainably stable educational space

Dear colleagues,

I write to thank you at the end of this Spring term for all you and your teams have done for our pupils and their families.

As I look back those difficulties around January 4th, the U turns over opening or not opening seem an age away. Twelve weeks have passed. During that period we know that our community will have lost some much loved members of families, teams and friendship groups. Our thoughts are with all affected.

During this twelve week period, we have also seen continued outstanding work by all involved in education. The attention to remote learning, to work with pupils on the school site, to pastoral contact with children and families, has been immensely supportive for our community and most importantly for our Hackney children. Thank you.

We seem now to be moving into a safer, more sustainably stable educational space (although risks of variants and outbreaks hover). As we look ahead, I feel a sense of hope about the future months for our school communities. I enjoy these quotes about hope which I share with you:

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.” Amanda Gorman January 2021

”A positive statement propels hope toward a better future, it builds up your faith and that of others, and it promotes change.” Jan Dargatz

I do think the disruption caused by the pandemic allows us to reevaluate: much that we thought unchangeable has actually changed and much that we thought impossible has become possible. A range of opportunities present themselves for changing some ways of working. I encourage you to reflect on these opportunities and what you want to keep or develop for your school.

In thinking about my future work here, I bear in mind Hackney Council’s aims which are to create a fairer, more inclusive borough, which supports children and young people to thrive. Our own Hackney Education mission is to improve the life chances of every child, young person and learner in Hackney…making Hackney the most forward looking education system in the UK, where schools, settings and partners provide an exciting environment which ensures inclusion and success for everyone. We see our borough as being one of the best places in the country for young people to grow, learn, develop and achieve and one of the best places for colleagues to work and thrive in our education system. I know that your own school aims will underpin your reflections on what you want to develop and sustain moving forward.

So, key themes for me, looking ahead, are attention to quality first teaching and what underpins it, to understanding and providing for more vulnerable groups while tackling the inequalities which may increase vulnerability, and attention to professional development for all my colleagues. I also want to build further the partnerships which have grown during this period and which support all the above themes.

We can be proud of the work that has been undertaken as a family of Hackney schools, and our common understanding that children and young people come first will continue to be a feature of our work in the coming term. We hope that you can join us at the briefing for headteachers that has been arranged for 9am – 9.45am on Thursday 22 April, where we will again share new updates and best practice.

In the meantime, I wish you the very best for the forthcoming holiday and wish you well if you are celebrating Easter, Passover or beginning Ramadan. Please make sure you have a well deserved break. I very much look forward to seeing you in the summer term.

With best wishes

Annie Gammon
Director of Education
@HackneyDirofEd