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Ward Teaching

"The headteacher and senior leaders have developed a national reputation in hospital schooling, for example in developing the hospital school as a resource for supporting pupils with type 1 diabetes." 


"Short-stay pupils on the wards, who may only stay in hospital for one or two days, are well taught, enjoy their work and make good progress in subjects which interest them."


"I am writing you to thank you for the bedside teaching provided to my son who stayed in hospital for a month for a thighbone fracture. They were able to engage him by listening carefully to his interests and to improvise activities that were not just good for his learning, but also for his mood. They used a gentle, warm and rewarding approach, and showed a real interest in communicating with him, which improved his participation and motivation. They also liaised with his teachers from school to know where my son was at and make sure he was continuing to progress while in hospital.They dedicated a considerable amount of time to him and contributed together with the playroom specialists in making his hospital experience more acceptable, stimulating and amusing (which is an essential point, especially for children that are unwell, far from home and their friends). So thank you very much to you and your teachers for helping kids admitted in hospital in feeling less lonely and less different from their peers!"

The school believes in the principle of ‘beneficial stimulus'.

We believe that enjoyable and challenging learning activities in a small supportive setting help promote psychological wellbeing, which could play an important role in a child’s recovery. However, we acknowledge there are times when children in hospital need to put school work to one side and focus on recuperation.

Teachers adapt each individual pupil’s work to provide activities which are challenging but relevant to their stage of development and ability.”


Children generally come into the hospital as short-stay Gastro or Plastics patients (1 – 5 days) but occasionally there are children who stay longer (1 week to several months). As The school roll changes daily, so do the educational and emotional needs of its pupils. Teachers will be aware that a pupil’s attainment may be impeded by the fact that they are learning in an unfamiliar environment and in circumstances where they may not be emotionally, psychologically or physically at their best. Teachers are sensitive to the changing needs of in-patient pupils and may feel it desirable to modify their original learning intentions in order to promote the participation of e.g. a reluctant learner.  All teachers try to ensure that each teaching session on the wards offers an appropriately stimulating activity, which offers a sense of achievement and may contribute to a child’s recovery. The school attends weekly meetings with hospital professionals that support planning for individual medical need.

Lessons on the wards are negotiated with the pupil and their parents, and determined by the child’s specific medical and emotional needs and prior learning experiences.

Teaching priorities are negotiated with the Ward co-ordinator during a morning handover session attended by school staff and members of the Hospital’s Play Team and Intensive Eating Disorder Service. Teachers will use their professional judgment to determine the content of lessons which, as appropriate, will be adapted from the mainstream curriculum. As with classroom planning, ward lessons will be personalised and have specific learning objectives such as psycho-social, pastoral, leisure, skills-based or National Curriculum related. Differentiated materials may be created in response to a particular need. The length of a lesson is flexible, depending on the pupil’s medical and psychological needs.

Subject specialists will offer their subject when they are on the ward plus practical and creative learning opportunities. For short-stay primary pupils, teachers usually focus on literacy, numeracy or practical activities, with I.T. support including the growing use of Ipads and educational software. Short-stay secondary pupils are encouraged to focus on a core or foundation subject, or are assisted with any work they have brought from their mainstream school. 

Opportunities to engage in creative and practical activities are particularly important for pupils in isolation, though health and safety factors can sometimes limit the range of activities undertaken. Progress is assessed formatively through teacher observation and recorded under acheivement on the school's MIS.

Using a flexible curriculum and a personalised approach to teaching and learning, the school is able to cater for a wide range of learning needs including gifted and talented pupils, children with English as an additional language, children with profound, severe or moderate learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, and visual and hearing impairment. If a child has an existing Education, Health and Care Plan, their school is telephoned and a request is made for this Plan and their targets to be faxed or e-mailed. Advice would be sought regarding appropriate provision for any long-stay pupil who needed technological aids, or adapted equipment, to communicate or access the curriculum.