The Hospital School at Westmead is a Department of Education school which means it is part of NSW public schools, and is just like a local primary or high school, with students from Kindergarten to Year 12 welcome to attend (and siblings by arrangement) if they are:
Admitted to hospital for five days or more or;
Admitted on a regular basis or;
Referred under special needs.
'Empowering learners, where they're at' is the motto of the Hospital School which has a flexible approach to learning to cater to the needs of children who are often juggling their time with appointments, therapies and rest before they even begin any school work.
Continuing to participate in school during treatment can keep your child connected to their school community. School is a big part of almost every child's life and they often associate it with learning new things, growing and the friends they make there. When a child is often in hospital, school can also represent a normal part of their life, even if they can only participate in it sometimes, and by continuing with school activities they can adapt more easily to returning to school when their treatment ends.
How do I enrol my child?
After a parent or caregiver fills out an enrolment form, and it is processed, their child can begin. A shared enrolment will be set up with the school they normally attend, and the student's Hospital School teacher will contact that school to discuss topics and learning goals, which will be adjusted to meet the student's current needs. Students will attend a classroom in the hospital or, if necessary, be visited in the ward by a teacher. Siblings of patients may also attend the school, after consultation with the principal.
We work with your home school
Some children with complex needs who are undergoing treatment are schooled at home by their parents who have registered with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Home Schooling Unit. Hospital School keeps in touch with what children are doing in their home school to continue their learning in a supportive and organised way.
What do we do in Hospital School?
Many students look forward to being part of the school because it keeps them connected and busy and they can meet other children to form friendships with. The school provides opportunities to:
Keep in contact with and engage in school work from the child's regular school
Strengthen areas that are causing concern
Participate in educational activities, computer skills, home school, Book Bunker, incursions, music, special events, visitors, cooking, creative arts
Use technology to support learning in individualised educational programs
Where are the classrooms?
Our school has four classrooms, located across two hospital settings, which have been designed to meet the varying needs of all students and are supportive and safe learning spaces. These classrooms are listed below.
Primary classroom on level 2 (Kindergarten to Year 6)
High School classroom on level 1 (Years 7 to 12)
Hall Ward class on level 1 (a joint facility with the Department of Health to cater for students admitted to the Hall Ward Program)
High School class at Westmead Adults Hospital for hospitalised adolescents- Block A level 4C.
Teachers also visit wards to see students, who are unable to come to the classroom, at their bedside.
You can find out more about our Hospital School on our website.
Staff that inspire
Mercedes Wilkinson is Principal of Westmead's Hospital School, which provides support for school-aged patients from all over Australia and also overseas. She says:
Our passionate teaching and learning team strive daily to ensure our students feel a sense of connection and continuity with their schooling, seeking to challenge and inspire our students as lifelong learners.
Students are taught by 11 tertiary qualified and experienced teachers who are supported by School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs). You can see our Hospital School's teaching and learning team here.
You can contact the school at any time for more information.
Find our office: walk into the main entrance of the hospital then continue down to the pharmacy and turn left. Half way down this corridor, on the left, is the Hospital School office.