Why should my child go to school when they are in hospital?
All children with medical needs are entitled to excellent educational, pastoral and spiritual support when they are unable to attend their home schools; for some children this will be for a short period of time; for others it could be for a sustained period or on a recurring basis. Children with chronic medical conditions, who have fallen behind with school work due to long periods of absence from school, often welcome the personal attention they are given. Many use the opportunity to revise or catch-up on basic skills missed in their home school. For others hospital school is an opportunity to keep up with what is going on their home schools so that, when they return, they can slot back in with no gaps in learning. Not only that, hospital school is fun! It provides social interaction and a welcome distraction from illness and potentially long periods of time on the ward.
How can my child attend school?
If the medical team says your child is able to attend, then pretty much they can! We do have admissions criteria to follow and have to keep to infection control guidelines, but we will try to accommodate all children who are well enough to attend. School staff will come and meet you if it is your first session and will arrange for you to come to the classrooms or have lessons at your bedside if you aren’t able to leave the ward. We are fully wheelchair and bed accessible; all are welcome!
What will my child learn at school?
If your child is with us for more than a day or two we will, with your permission, contact your child’s home school so that we can find out what your child is learning about and what their strengths and weaknesses are. From this point, we can tailor learning activities for your child that complement or mirror work being taught by their home school. All of our teachers have a very good working knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, primary National Curriculum and subjects studied at secondary schools up to and including GCSE. We are also well placed to work with pupils who attend special schools. As well as over-seeing work submitted by the home school we also create opportunities to develop personal and social skills as we are very aware that time in hospital may be worrying or feel isolating. At the end of the hospital stay we will communicate with you and the home school so that transition back into school is as seamless as possible.
Your child will only be recommended for a visit from a teacher or be allowed to attend school if they are considered well enough to benefit from education. We really value taking time to meet you and providing information about your child is particularly important for younger children and children with special educational needs. You are welcome to accompany their children in the classrooms provided that it does not compromise the health and safety of other pupils and that it supports the pupils in engaging with school and the curriculum.
It won’t be stressful, will it?
However, in the majority of cases, we would encourage parents to use the opportunity to take a break and allow their child to access learning with the teachers.
Can I borrow resources to learn with my child on the ward?
Of course! We quite understand that some children will need a staged approach to engage with new adults, especially when they already have to cope with an unfamiliar hospital environment. You can borrow educational resources or any of the assortments of games that are available. In addition some of our teenage pupils often welcome the opportunity to study independently through their school virtual learning environment on a laptop.
Can my child sit SATs / GCSEs / other exams?
Yes although we are not an official exam centre and so cannot invigilate the exams ourselves. In these cases we will liaise closely with the home school who will send the test/exam papers together with a member of staff to administer the process. It is always good to later hear how pupils have done!
Can attendance at a hospital school be counted on my child’s home school register?
Yes. If you wish to have the hospital school attendance transferred to your child’s home school register, you should ask for a Certificate of Attendance from our school office or from the teacher who has been teaching your child. Then hand it in to your child’s school explaining your child has been attending a DfE hospital school while he or she has been in hospital. The school should acknowledge this attendance on your child’s attendance register.
What if my child is too unwell to return to school when they are discharged from hospital?
Any child who is too unwell to attend their home school for two weeks or more, or who might be retuning on a less than 50% timetable, may be able to access the services of the Schools Company Academy Trust which offers personalised provision. Your first step is to speak to your child’s school as soon as possible. You will also require a letter, preferably signed by a consultant, verifying that your child is too unwell to attend school, but well enough to access education for a certain number of hours a day in the family home or at one of the Trust’s three centres. If you require any further assistance with this, please speak to us as sometimes we can liaise with the Trust directly.
What happens if I need to make a complaint?
Our complaints policy details procedures and can be found here.