UNCRC Article 29: Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
It is the right of all children to be given an education that nurtures their personal development. We are proud that the personal development and the wellbeing of our learners are at the centre of our school vision and values, and are at the heart of our curriculum.
A Curriculum to enhance Personal Development and Character Education
At HHTS, we use the term Character Education to describe our approach to the ways in which we support and develop the personal development of our students. Character education can be broadly described as an approach to developing a set of values, attitudes, skills and behaviours that are thought to support young people’s development and contribute to their success in school and in adult life. These qualities include respect, leadership, motivation, resilience, self-control, self-confidence, social and emotional skills, and communication skills (Education Endowment Foundation, 2016).
We are lucky to be able to work in small groups or in 1:1 settings with our pupils which allows us to be able to work directly with pupils’ individual personal development needs.
During these sessions our pupils are encouraged to find their voices in a number of ways, including learning about their right to have their voice heard, learning how to express opinions both in written form and through the art of debate.
PSHE lessons are designed to support children’s resilience and emotional wellbeing through a wide range of topics. Lessons often focus in detail on many of the awareness days in the calendar, and allow pupils the chance to learn about and explore often sensitive and emotive issues. Topics also include how to keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically.
Our Rights-Respecting school supports our pupils to become informed, active and responsible citizens. Our pupils take part in online Current Affairs votes that encourage debate and discussion to enhance their understanding of how equality and diversity are promoted and celebrated.
Cultural Capital and SMSC/British Values
Cultural capital is a term described as ‘the essential knowledge that comes from experiences that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing the best that has been thought and said, and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’
We believe that inspirational life experiences are a key part of our students’ education and recovery. Many of our students have been in hospital for long periods of time: as educators, we aim to bring as much of the excitement of the outside world into the classroom and ensure that the children have as many of the same opportunities as possible that their mainstream peers enjoy.
As well as carefully selecting high-quality texts, resources and educational websites that contribute to our learners’ experience of human creativity, learning is enriched by an extensive programme of external visitors and outreach. Examples of regular opportunities include:
- Visiting authors
- Weekly cricket lessons
- Piano lessons
- Outreach from the Wallace Collection
- Trips to amazing places in London such as The National Gallery, The Houses of Parliament and The Science Museum
We celebrate cultural events such as World Book Day, UN International Day of Dance and British Science Week.
Our learners are encouraged to take part in external competitions: we regularly enter children for national Poetry Competitions and for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, and have taken part in competitions that provide wonderful learning opportunities such as the Holocaust Memorial Day Photography Competition.
As part of our Character Education, the term SMSC and British Values incorporates the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
As a Unicef Rights Respecting School, we strive to ensure that the education we provide helps develop our learners’ talents and abilities, helps make them well-rounded and positive citizens, and helps engender an understanding and love of the different cultures that make up society.
As a hospital school in London, we are extremely lucky that our school community has a wide range of diversity, which we are proud of and celebrate in different ways.
Teaching is underpinned by a strong emphasis on British Values and Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) education and UNICEF Rights Respecting education, thus enabling our young people to develop into well-rounded global and local citizens.
Through the curriculum, we help our pupils develop:
- An ability to be reflective about their own beliefs (religious or otherwise) and perspective on life
- Knowledge of, and respect for, different people’s faiths, feelings and values
- A sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
- Use of imagination and creativity in their learning
- Willingness to reflect on their experiences
Through the curriculum, we help pupils develop:
- An ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, and to recognise legal boundaries and, in doing so, respect the civil and criminal law of England
- An engagement with the fundamental values of British democracy
- An understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
- An interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues
- Reasoned views
- An appreciation of diverse viewpoints
We help our learners develop:
- A use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
- A willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, co-operating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
- An acceptance of and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. They will develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain
We aim to help our learners understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity. We aim that our learners develop:
- An understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others
- An understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures in the school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
- An ability to recognise, and value, the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities
- A knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system
- A willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
- An interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity
- An ability to understand, accept and respect diversity
We are proud to be involved with a host of important awareness days and cultural celebrations across the year, and our curriculum reflects the value that we place on these. All our pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of the school and the wider community – locally, nationally and globally:
- We celebrate many cultural events including World Book Day, UN International Day of Dance and British Science Week.
- Throughout the year we recognise key dates on the calendar and celebrate events such as Black History Month, National Braille Week, Mental Health Awareness Week, Pride Month, Holocaust Memorial Day and other historic, cultural and religious dates of significance.
We embed these values through not just teaching our pupils about and celebrating the many awareness days and celebrations that SMSC/BV covers, but by our strong approach to Active Citizenship: our pupils are helped to use their knowledge and understanding of issues to become active in their response. On the back of learning about issues raised in our SMSC and BV curriculum, pupils have written to their local MPs, have signed petitions on the Government Website that they feel passionately about, have used social media to raise awareness, and have raised money for charities. Votes for Schools.
We also have an annual Careers Week in addition to our ongoing careers focus within individual subject areas.
Lessons promote engagement with peers, staff and the wider world as we believe that social skill development boosts self-esteem and raises aspirations.
Please see our British Values section for more detail on the approach we take to support this area of education.
‘Every day my son looks forward to going to school – to get away from his room, and all the poking and prodding from doctors is such a relief. He is treated like a school boy, rather than a patient, and I think this has as much healing properties as medicine! Due to his illness, my son has missed about a month of schooling, but hopefully will have caught up because of the hospital school.’
‘Wow, where to begin. I wanted to write to you to demonstrate how much of a positive impact you have had on me……you have restored my faith in teachers everywhere...the CAMHS Campus School was definitely the highlight of Springfield for me as is the case for so many others. Rest assured if I ever get involved in the murky world of politics your funding will be quadrupled, ring-fenced and seared forever.’
‘We are so grateful and thankful for the brilliant staff at the St. George’s Hospital School. We have spent quite a lot of time there over the past 18 months, they have made learning such fun – memorable science experiments and story writing, the best time making posters and adverts and treats for the school cafe. The staff are cheerful, calm, gentle and above all fun. Thank you to the great team.’
‘We were so grateful to the teaching team. They have been absolutely fantastic. My daughter had surgery on Monday and was quiet and withdrawn. This has been instrumental in her recovery and also kept her mind on education whilst she’s been sick.’
‘Everyday my son looks forward to going to school – to get away from his room, and all the poking and prodding from doctors is such a relief. He is treated like a school boy, rather than a patient, and I think this has as much healing properties as medicine! Due to his illness, my son has missed about a month of schooling, but hopefully will have caught up because of the hospital school.’
‘We are so grateful and happy for the care and support – teachers are so helpful and very kind, we love you all for your hard work, keep it up. Thanks so much.’
‘Thank you for the range of learning opportunities you provided my son in hospital for the week for the week he was on the neuro ward. He found the activities very engaging and accessible. He thoroughly enjoys maths and looked forward to the activities you provided for this – he is especially looking forward to the spreadsheet analysis this afternoon. he enjoys music and was surprised to have the opportunity to learn about and play different instruments. Thanks again for all your help.’
‘We are so grateful that there is a school/classroom to attend. Josie really needs something to focus on when he’s in hospital, he looks forward to getting out of his room and working/studying English, Maths and other interesting topics he can learn about. It has really made a difference to his mood during the hospital stays, having been admitted so many times throughout the past 7 months. Furthermore, it helps him keep on top of his schooling.’
‘Thank you for helping me for the past 10 months. You have helped me to keep as motivated and hopeful for my future as I could have been. I cant wit to start college and maybe become a paramedic. I’ll always remember this school and everyone in it’
‘The service aims to enable pupils with long-term illnesses, mental health issues or who are pregnant to remain in education…... You and your staff ensure that these aims are fully met. Most pupils have missed long periods of learning due to illness. They make remarkable progress during their short time in the school.
Pupils told us that, without the school, they would not be able to engage fully in learning or sit any examinations. Parents value the high-quality teaching provided alongside the excellent care and support given to each individual pupil.’