The Childrens Hospital School

Hospital School Education is
Driven by statutory guidance
from the Department for Education in England, and this guidance supports the local authorities in discharging their responsibilities for young people with medical needs who are unable to attend their mainstream school. That guidance ensures that local authorities discharge their responsibilities
but also informs practice for mainstream schools and other professionals who are working within the broad area of health and education. Willow Bank School (WBS) is a specialist provision for children who are too ill to be at school but who are well enough to be able to leave their homes
and come out and learn together. So we have a small school with a number of classrooms where we teach children together in small groups. Our teachers understand the nature of our children and are very skilled at getting children
to feel comfortable and confident enough to get them to back into learning again. We also have provision for children who find
even our very small classes challenging. We have a learning suite and in there children can be taught
with a much higher staff to pupil ratio. So our staff have to accommodate
and respond to the needs on the day. A very particular mix of skills and sensitivity is required
to succeed at this school. and to make sure the children
get what they need throughout the day. I am very proud of what we achieve at WBS. We take children who are in a state of despair and very stuck and not made much progress in school. And they are quite hesitant about attending school, and we put them slowly into our classes, and they begin to learn and they begin to remember
who they really are, and what they want to achieve I think that, and hope that
the students feel stronger when they leave than they did when they came. They are certainly achieving more an enjoying more and that is a wonderful thing to be part of. We are part of the CHS
based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and we support all children who are ill with their education while they are in hospital. Our experienced team of staff will work with all children of all abilities right from foundation stage up to A-levels and we support them
in their education in the best way we can. When our staff approach children on the ward, they do so in very relaxed and calm manner and and introduce themselves and talk to them about the hospital school and what we can offer them how we can plan a personal education plan for them while they are here. A lot of the young people who attend our school are here for such a short amount of time it could be 1 or 2 days up to a week, so we need to get to know them quite quickly. All pupils have access to their virtual learning environments within the classroom
because we have the network facilities to do this. Some children when they are in hospital, it is a very stressful environment for them to be in, receiving medication… and so… providing school offers them a bit of… normality… it does takes their mind off why they are in hospital and relieves the stress of missing out on huge chunks of work because they are in hospital. Oakham House is the Adolescents’ Psychiatric unit we have 10 beds here for young people for ages 11-18. The young people here are in-patients. So they are patients who are receiving therapy and treatment 24 hrs a day and part of that program is education. The educational staff are very much part of the multi-disciplinary team and we review their care and contribute to their assessment … diagnosis, and … with discussions… transition plans and communicate with parents. Every day we start as a new day and our approach is to try and make sure that each young person feels they have achieved something and may have taken a small step forward, whatever that may be in every lesson that we have. And each time it is about challenging the negative thoughts that the young people have all the time about how they… They might be feeling that they are failing, frightened,
are not as good as anyone else and all the time we are fighting those negative feelings
they have about themselves. We have to be very conscious about health and safety because many of the Young People here
self-harm and many are suicidal so we have to be very vigilant about the equipment we use. The other thing we can do, with some young people who are very ill, suicidal, and cannot see a future, the very experience of being a teacher is hopeful. So every conversation we have, because we are teachers, we are there because we are investing in the future and this means there is a future
there for these young people. The Outreach facility of the Children’s Hospital School teaches children in their own homes when they are too poorly to go school maybe due to a physical illness or perhaps a mental health illness that prevents tham from attending the mainstream school. One of the most important qualities of an outreach teacher is to maintain the focus on the child and the fact that they are ill. Having an understanding of their illness will help a teacher to deliver the materials in a specific way. It is also important to remember that you are a guest in the family’s home and so following any cultural practices and being mindful of such practices
is very import on outreach Safeguarding is also important on outreach. It is mandatory for all children to have an appropriate adult present in the family home at all times because that safeguards the children and staff. Another significant part of the outreach work is to liaise with medical staff, consultants and also the child’s own school to support the reintegration of children that have been out of school for a sustained period of time. The impact that Outreach has on the students
we teach is phenomenal. They maintain their progress and interest in their studies and this allows them to access education despite their illness. a lot of children return back to school being engaged with education because they realise having had an absence from school, how valuable it is The other piece of legislation that is important in our work is the legislation in terms of
young people missing education. This is quite important because many of our young people are vulnerable and may not have the family support systems that will enable them to access education. Equally, of course, they may have a very supportive family but perhaps the environment in which
they are being educated is not addressing their needs in the way that is required at that time This is not meant as a criticism of mainstream schools But of course mainstream schools
are geared to support education for young people that are quite robust, but if we look at mainstream education critically, for many young people within a complex society mainstream education does not address their complex needs. Within the hospital school environment, and particularly within our school we address the needs of people who have medical emotional or psychiatric challenges. We have young people who have ADHD, OCD and who are on the autistic spectrum, and because of that have experienced difficulties that have manifested themselves in emotional or other ways that have stopped them accessing their ordinary education or engaging in life in an age-appropriate way. Subtitles by Michele Capurso & Suzanne Lavelle
LEHO Project – 2015

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