There’s no doubt that it’s a struggle for teachers to involve and engage all of their pupils in learning, even when they’re confined to a single classroom. So what hope does a school have if its pupils are scattered across the wards of a hospital, with any number confined to isolation?
At the end of the summer term I visited The Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street to find out for myself.
While there, I spoke to the school business manager, who explained that the school embraces technology to enhance learning and increase participation. For example, the school has invested in tablet computers, which pupils can use to support their studies.
She also told me about the school’s science week. Pupils were set a series of challenges to complete. To keep them motivated, and encourage them to work together in what could otherwise have been lonely activities, they could keep in touch and update each other on their progress in an online forum.
In fact, the school’s latest Ofsted report (which judged the school ‘outstanding’ in all categories) praises the innovative way it uses technology to make sure all pupils can learn. Inspectors were particularly impressed by a lesson led by a chef, which used a video link to teach pupils in isolation wards how to cook pancakes.
What was strikingly clear is that the school won’t allow the particular needs of these children to hold them back. The example set by this unique school, in its world-renowned setting, goes to show that there’s no excuse for any child to be excluded from learning.