Praise for Wandsworth hospital school

Published: Thursday 15th March 18

A school that teaches children with chronic illnesses has been recognised for its commitment to the rights of its pupils.

The Wandsworth Hospital and Home Tuition Service (HHTS Wandsworth), run by the council, is the first school of its type in the country to gain the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Silver Award.

HHTS Wandsworth helps children suffering from severe or chronic illnesses, mental health issues or who are pregnant or young parents. It means that young people in hospital don’t miss out on their education, with hospital school teachers liaising with every child’s school to ensure that wherever possible pupils keep up with their peers.

It is recognised as outstanding by Ofsted, and has two schools – one at St George’s Hospital and the other at Springfield University Hospital. It also offers home tuition for pupils with acute medical needs, reintegration support for pupils with mental health needs and runs outreach programmes for young people who are school phobic or otherwise vulnerable in mainstream schools

One parent said: “We were so grateful to the teaching team. They have been absolutely fantastic. My daughter had surgery on Monday and was quiet and withdrawn. This has been instrumental in her recovery and also kept her mind on education whilst she’s been sick.”

Another said: “Every day my son looks forward to going to school – to get away from his room, and all the poking and prodding from doctors is such a relief. He is treated like a school boy, rather than a patient, and I think this has as much healing properties as medicine! Due to his illness, my son has missed about a month of schooling, but hopefully will have caught up because of the hospital school.”

Rights Respecting Schools are those that focus on four key areas: wellbeing, participation, relationships and self-esteem. Children’s rights are central to how these schools operate and children are taught about respect, dignity and non-discrimination.

UNICEF Assessors said they will be working with HHTS Wandsworth to share their experiences with other hospital schools so that more can become accredited.

Headteacher Tara Bell said: “I have been delighted with the effect that embarking on becoming a Rights respecting School has had across our service. For children who are unwell, their illness can become consuming physically and mentally. Accessing high quality, engaging and globally minded education is fundamental for their development and their recovery. Additionally, we believe it is crucial to enable their voices to be heard and ensure that their views are acted upon.”

Find out more about Rights Respecting Schools

Find out more about HHTS Wandsworth

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