Reflections on 2017 and new developments in 2018 from Janette, our Principal.


The very best of wishes and many thanks to all staff, governors, Friends of the Hospital school and our wonderful volunteers.

I would like to send thanks to Ayoola Bankole for his commitment over the past ten years as Chair of Governors to CCHS. Ayoola has supported us through our last two Ofsted’s and also our audit reports – for which we received TOP marks – we are very sorry to say goodbye to him and wish Ayoola and his family good luck in the future.

Our governors are an extremely important part of CCHS – each governor is linked to a hospital and also has an area of speciality to focus on during the year. For example, Finance, HR, Curriculum, Special Needs and the Environment. We are extremely lucky to have such a very talented group of people.

Our new Chair of Governors, Uzma Shah is a SENCO at an RBKC school, and as one of our main aims and objectives for 2018 is to develop further our individual programmes for our students with special education needs, a very valuable addition to our SEN team. Our SENCOs Nicola and Sarah will be working closely with Uzma and the LA’s to ensure that each child who would benefit from an EHC plan or any additional support will receive this as soon as possible. This is particularly important for those young people who are transitioning between Key Stages or moving on to College where they will need the support of learning mentors to assist them in this very important part of their education.

Ben our Careers Officer has over the years ensured that each student with additional needs has the support necessary to enable them to become successful post 16 – this often means follow up meetings with colleges, students and families many months into their new placement at college. Ben works very closely with the learning mentors Lala and Sian to put in place a wide range of strategies, such as social skills training, interview practice and travel support, and regular meetings with colleges and sixth forms to share knowledge and information.

The RBKC Mayor Marie Therese, has been one of our governors for many years, showing a particular interest in mental health and therefore Collingham Child and Family Unit is her link site. We were so delighted that when Marie Therese was elected Mayor she decided to name CCHS as her ‘Charity of the Year’.

Tragically as we all are so aware the Grenfell fire occurred and the desperate loss was completely overwhelming for not only all involved but the services that were touched by the sadness. It was a positive response from the community and the council that all resources were directed to help those who had been impacted by the tragedy.

Susan Rudnik who has been the art therapist at CCHS for many years now has sprung into action and developed an art therapy response to ensure that children and families have access to art therapy, this is a very suitable type of therapy as it enables all involved to be part of the healing solution and uses art materials as a way of exploring pain rather than words which can sometimes seem inadequate.

How unbelievable that the ‘Friends of CCHS’ has now had charitable status for 25 years –so many thanks to all of you for your help in providing finance for the important extras that make an inpatient stay – holidays, outings, art, music, youth club. Thanks to you all, for helping so many families to manage.

Thanks also to our volunteers who bring with them a wealth of curriculum knowledge – from special needs to physics – are so necessary if we are to be able to teach each child in hospital, whether in bed, on the ward, at home or able to come to the classroom – so many of them introduced to CCHS through being a parent of a child in hospital and recognising the importance of education.

Congratulations to Helen who has now completed the first year of the contract to supply education to Harley Street and Great Portland Street
Hospitals. There is an excellent article in their magazine which applauds the difference education has made to the lives of children in hospital. Helen who is a highly qualified and experienced teacher, especially with those young people who have severe learning difficulties has developed a team who have a wide range of knowledge and ability in SEN. Karima, is a very confident teacher and with her ability to speak Arabic has been a bonus to students, staff and particularly those parents who are having difficulty with understanding the culture and especially the endless forms that have to be negotiated. For English as a second language, Laura has been invaluable, leading workshops for those students who are very keen to learn despite their very serious medical problems. For maths and science Marius has worked closely with a student whose life was sadly shortened by a virulent cancer, however much the young man was struggling with his treatment his motivation to learn from Marius was powerful – and a strong message to us all of the relevance of our profession.

Our Well at School website which was launched by Baroness Warnock in 2011 – is now being further developed by Martin and Maria Marinho, who was part of the initial team. Martin presented the web site in Moscow and Jan, who is the President of HOPE, has now asked for the web site to be part of the HOPE workshops in Poland – so congratulations to Martin and welcome back to Maria, we so looking forward to having you back on the team!

Another teacher who tried hard to retire is Kim, we are so very glad that she is continuing to work with staff on putting together an Erasmus project with our partner schools. Kim is now on the HOPE Board and the next conference is in Poland.

Our creative ideas for the New Year are many – thanks especially to Charlotte for her writing blog . This year following the Mayor’s Christmas Concert, and a patient’s birthday present donated to CCHS – we now have sufficient to publish a writing and poetry book of work by children who have experienced a hospital admission. Philip Wells ‘The Fire Poet’ will be helping to edit this book and write a foreword, he has been our poet in residence for the past 15 years. We hope that this book will show the amazing creativity that young people have despite the difficulties they face – we want to celebrate their resilience.

Another challenge for creativity in the future is in ICT – we are so lucky to have Fred as our Information Communication Manager – he is single handedly ensuring that our six hospitals school sites have internet connectivity and that every patient has access to a broad and balanced curriculum.

Collingham has had some major changes over the past two years and I want to thank all staff who work there for their fortitude, energy and in particular fun and ideas - ensuring that every student has an amazing experience of success and an ability to develop relationships.

As a team we are always very sorry when a teacher leaves us but we also celebrate their new journey. Lucy who has worked with us for 12 years is moving on to work at an independent school bringing with her the speciality she has in special needs. Lucy will be much missed. Jayne is the senior manager at St.Mary’s and is absolutely brilliant in ensuring that all students have access to education at their level – thanks Jayne for all your organisational skills and your commitment to students.

Bela as manager on Rose and Foulis has ensured that the new team there are confident and supported in their role. The very good news is that the Royal Brompton Hospital is no longer closing – the closure of the Royal Brompton has been a shadow hanging over Rose ward for the past 10 years – when we rebuilt the classrooms, ensuring that within the space we had 5 classrooms, we have to raise £600k – why? some people replied when we approached them, it is closing! However thank goodness we did as for 10 years those students in hospital have had a wonderful learning space. My motto is think of NOW, and the children who are in hospital – they need education – whatever the future for Rose ward we will ensure that the future means they will still have access to school, especially as most of these young people are in and out of hospital all their lives – our current goal is to raise money for those young people post 16 who are often in hospital for many months per year.

We look forward to meeting our new challenges in 2018
Janette Steel 2018