This year, the Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street and University College Hospital is thrilled to celebrate its 60th birthday.
Education for children at Great Ormond Street Hospital began modestly in 1951 with just one teacher. Today the school is a hive of activity, consisting of 35 members of staff including teachers, teaching assistants, support staff and volunteers.
Why have a school?
For children attending Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) on a regular basis, missing school for days, weeks or even months can be harmful to their development. The Hospital School therefore plays a crucial role, ensuring GOSH patients can continue their education while in hospital.
Who we teach
The Hospital School is available to inpatients aged five to 19 of all abilities and nationalities, as well as children under five with special needs. Siblings of long-term inpatients are also able to attend. Lessons take place in the hospital school room, but for those not well enough to attend, teachers visit children on the wards for individual tuition.
Children aged from birth to 19 can also use the school’s state-of-the-art Children and Families Centre. The Centre provides out of hours learning, play, and a drop-in service for babies and toddlers accompanied by parents or carers.
Despite not being obliged to follow the national curriculum, we make every attempt to do so, offering lessons in core and foundation subjects such as literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT).
The Hospital School liaises closely with the child’s home school, ensuring where possible a seamless transition into hospital and back home. We also support our pupils through their GCSEs and A Levels.
For children with serious illnesses, the idea of attending school can seem quite daunting. At the Hospital School, we adopt a flexible approach to schooling, and aim to make learning fun. Educational games, pottery, online activities, scrapbooking, music composition, cooking, arts and crafts are all used to ensure the school experience is enjoyable.
And it never slows down. The Hospital School even runs a variety of activities for all ages during school holidays.
Celebrating 60 years
Former Head Teacher, Yvonne Hill, who retired this year said: “It is pure joy to see the awe and wonder of a child’s face as they watch a duckling hatch in the schoolroom, participate in a rowdy pantomime, create a chocolate pizza or learn to read.
How lucky we have been to serve in this very special school and be part of its journey to our diamond jubilee.”