As regular classrooms settle in to school holidays, we want to take a moment to highlight a special group who ensure education continues even in exceptional circumstances: the hospital schools. These unique schools, marked by their exceptional dedication and specialised skills, play a critical role in ensuring students with medical and mental health conditions continue their learning journey during hospital stays.
Let’s celebrate the hospital school teachers and teams who are the forefront of education “first-aid” and making a world of difference for seriously sick kids each and every school day.
Imagine a world where every child, regardless of their health, has equal access to supportive education. In 2021, a Royal Commission revealed Australia is far from this ideal. Serious barriers continue to hinder students experiencing illness absence from receiving an inclusive education in many mainstream schools.
The concerns highlighted weren’t just about inability, but also an unwillingness to address the unique needs of students in this context. While it’s disheartening to think sick kids can be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when they’re unable to attend regular classes, there is hope.
In hospital, hospital schools are champions to this challenge. Where a hospital has a hospital school (not all do), there is a lifeline for sick students in maintaining their education. Hospital schools offer some of the most important resources to help meet the education needs of seriously sick kids – in part because they are uniquely positioned to understand their needs.
Hospital schools offer a range of academic programs tailored to each student’s needs, aiming to ensure that learning continues seamlessly. Whether a student requires one-on-one teaching, group learning activities, or access to virtual classrooms, these schools employ dedicated teachers who go above and beyond to deliver personalised education.
Hospital schools are designed to help children and adolescents continue their education while undergoing medical treatment, here are some of the ways they help:
- Routine & Normality: Helping kids have some structure and a positive focus while in treatment or recovery.
- Educational Continuity: Making sure students don’t miss out on learning, even when they’re in the hospital.
- Personal Learning Plans: Supporting each student with a learning plan tailored to their health and academic needs.
- Emotional Support: Helping students manage feelings of stress, anxiety, or separation from school.
- Guidance Services: Guiding families of sick students with education advice, process, and giving support.
- Transition Support: Engaging with students’ regular teachers to help smooth the path back to their regular school life.
MissingSchool’s Seen&Heard Initiative flourishes thanks to the invaluable insights and partnerships offered by hospital schools. These are pivotal in connecting hospitalised kids back to their classes through telepresence.
Hospital school teachers show that no students should fall behind. We’re thoroughly inspired by the essential work of these people.
MissingSchool has over a decade of experience of working with mainstream schools, hospital schools, and the health and disability community to spread awareness, information, and win support.
Our strength is our ability to build a knowledge-sharing network to get the right information and the right strategies to the kids and families who need it most. But for this, our connection to our community is vital, and it would be impossible for us to stay the course without your incredible support.
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.