The Evelina Hospital School

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Evelina Hospital School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

HeadteacherAnne Hamilton
Just one of the 2,000
children we teach every year,
here enjoying sensory play
Evelina Hospital School is situated in an atrium on the third
floor of the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. It provides an
education for children who are unable to attend a conventional
school due to their health needs. Those who can’t come into the
school classrooms at the hospital are taught at their bedsides, with
the support of the hospital team. Teaching staff wheel trolleys to
the wards full of books, educational teaching packs, cutting edge
computing resources, cooking materials, musical instruments,
science experiments and art materials. Headteacher Anne Hamilton
details how Evelina operates and explains that the heart of Evelina
Hospital School is that “every child has the right to an education”.
We are based in a space that is often filled with sunlight or held beneath sheets of
rain, which flood off the curved side of the building and create a sense of protected
cosiness over the classrooms. As you approach, you might be distracted by the
work displayed on the outside wall: illustrated poetry, paintings, science projects
and book reviews. Inside, you’ll find a secondary classroom and an open-plan
primary and early-years space – and groups of children learning, who otherwise
might not be able to access education.
A unique school
Our most recent Ofsted inspection classed us as an outstanding school, describing
us as “a bright and welcoming environment for pupils, parents and a wide range
of professionals to enjoy… the school provides pupils with a learning experience
»Headteacher:Anne Hamilton
»Founded in1949
»Location:Evelina London
Children’s Hospital, London
»Type of school: Hospital school
»No. of students: up to 2,000
per academic year
Evelina Hospital School
Highlighting best practice
that they are familiar with and many
choose to spend as much time as
possible there.” All children from
three to 19 who are inpatients of the
hospital are invited to register with us;
siblings of patients might also spend
some time with us while they stay
close to the hospital with their family.
This academic year we expect to teach
more than 2,000 children. A member
of the National Association of Hospital
Education, we work with other
similar schools across the country to
constantly improve our ability to offer
the best education to every child who
comes our way – whether for a day, a
week, months or even years.
Many of our longer-term pupils are on
dialysis while they wait for a kidney
transplant. They often travel a long
way to get to Evelina, for up to four
days each week, and they may spend
five hours on their machines – all in all,
a very tiring routine. The learning that
the school provides during their dialysis
hours take their mind off the process
and offer opportunities to learn and
Our range of services
We work with the children’s home
schools to ensure they can stay on
track with their learning. We also
offer a core curriculum of literacy,
numeracy and enrichment activities,
with learning tailored to the needs of
each pupil each day. If you followed
the teaching staff to the wards, you
might find a maths lesson happening
with a young person who’s been in
hospital for a few weeks, and who
is worried about falling behind in
In the ward below, you might find a
practical science experiment spread
across the over-bed table of a year 5
pupil, who has been having dialysis
for several months and often misses
exciting (and important) lessons – like
science experiments – when it’s a
hospital day. You might come across
a PE lesson – basketball, curling or
cricket, all from a hospital bed. The
sports and PE premium enables us to
work with partner coaches, and these
lessons demonstrate that there are
possibilities for being active whatever
needs and ability levels young
Meanwhile, in the secondary
classroom, you might find a 12-year-
old girl whose passion for computer
games is being channelled into our
flagship computing project, Minecraft
Education, which was showcased at
the BETT Show at the ExCeL centre
in January. She is collaborating
with others who aren’t in the same
physical space to recreate the hospital
in a virtual Minecraft environment –
an opportunity to work with other
“There is a firmly
embedded culture of high
aspirations throughout
the school” says Ofsted
In the ward
below, you
might find a
practical science
spread across
the over-bed
table of a year 5
pupil, who has
been having
dialysis for
several months
It’s really nice to know that teachers can help children while in
hospital to have normality while getting treatment.”
Great for children to be able to leave the ward and mix with others
and not fall behind on schoolwork.”
“The fun activities take my mind off my transfusion.”
This is an amazing school. It takes [my daughter’s] mind off things
and staff are so welcoming.”
people her age, which she has been
missing, and to gain skills that will
support her in overcoming barriers
If you’re lucky, you might have arrived
on World Book Day, with teachers
and pupils alike dressed up as book
characters and looking through a
treasure trove of new books. This is
a valuable opportunity for children
toparticipate in the same event as
their peers– so they can share these
moments as common experiences,
even without being together.
Throughout the year, we host visiting
authors and storytellers, who bring
books alive and take pupils on
adventures far beyond the confines of
the hospital, while our creative writing
tutor builds pupils’ confidence in
creating their own stories and poems.
Seeing the children’s delight with the
books provided by our partner Read
for Good, and their pride in the books
we publish of their own writing, we
know first-hand that stories are a
powerful medicine.
the year, we
host visiting
authors and
who bring
books alive
and take pupils
on adventures
far beyond the
confines of
the hospital
»City of London Sinfonia – providing world-class
music to classroom and bedside
»Read for Good – regularly donating books and
funding our amazing storyteller Jennifer Lunn
»Capital Kids Cricket – funding inspiring PE
sessions in school and on ward
»Rambert and Royal Academy of Dance – bringing
dance and movement to the school
»Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and the Adopt a
School charity – bringing food technology into school
»Singing Hands – singing and signing with Makaton
»Nrich Maths, University of Cambridge –
mathematical thinking and problem-solving
»Jane Porter – children’s author and illustrator
»Phil McDermott – storyteller
»Jeanne Willis – children’s author
»Linden K McMahon – creative writing
»Microsoft Education
Creative learning at the
Evelina Hospital School
Managing difficult circumstances
At the beginning of the pandemic, we
were already developing our remote
learning provision for children in isolation
in hospital, whose risk of infection is so
high that visitors have to be very limited,
and for whom visits to the classroom
are out of the question. So, when
schools were asked to teach remotely,
we had the flexibility and resources to
do this very quickly for young people
who are hospitalised atEvelina.
The pandemic has meant that many
more young people have experienced
what it’s like to be unable to attend
school in the way they are used to.
Flexible learning is more important than
ever; at Evelina, it has always been at the
heart of what we do. Every child who
comes through the hospital has the right
to an education – and they deserve fun,
exciting and empowering learning that
opens possibilities for them, whatever
challenges their health brings. And the
young people show time and again that
they are capable of marvellousthings.

This article was sponsored by The Evelina Hospital School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.