Being that friendly face, a listening ear and reassuring voice of calm while providing education in hospital is what the team at Colchester Hospital’s school room are all about.
The teaching staff, which includes Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) Sally Miller and teaching assistants Diane Bhaker and Nicki Whitelaw, help to continue a child’s education while they are in hospital and all activities are National Curriculum led.
As well as helping children and their families who may only be in hospital for a short time, there are around 36 recurrent patients in Colchester who are regularly supported by the team.
We put their education in place so we know what they are doing. Depending on what they are being treated for it can be a worrying time for them and their parents.
We can be that constant for them when they are, in some cases, seeing hundreds of medical staff. It’s important to give them stability and they need to see a friendly face when they come back in or have been at other hospitals.
Based on the Children’s Ward, it is run by the North East Essex Co-op Academy (NEECA) and sessions are held in term time from 8.15am to 12pm.
Although the NEECA team are only on site in the mornings, they set up as much work as they can in that time and task young patients with activities which are picked up the following day. Work is also timetabled around any treatment a child needs to have.
They work closely with parents and the patients’ schools so activities are tailored to the child and support their transition back into school life once they leave hospital.
Techniques such as mindfulness are also used to help youngsters who suffer with conditions, including anxiety or those who may have taken an overdose, to help them talk and open up about how they are feeling.
But it’s not just the children who benefit from the school room, the staff are also able to offer vital support to parents.
It gives parents a bit of a break, particularly if they are staying in hospital too. It does them good to get off the ward for a bit and have a cup of tea.
Lawrence Terroni, NEECA’s deputy head, said:
The children in here are always so positive. They are so resilient, a setting like this bring out the best in human nature and children.
Find out about the Ipswich Hospital school room https://www.esneft.nhs.uk/ipswich-school-room-goes-from-strength-to-strength/Back to top