Teaching sick kids for 100 years

23 August 2019 

The Queensland Children’s Hospital School is this week celebrating 100 years of helping sick and injured Queensland kids keep up with their learning.

Australia’s first hospital school was established in Brisbane in 1919 with a single teacher who delivered bedside lessons to patients at The Hospital for Sick Children, which eventually became the former Royal Children’s Hospital at Herston.

The Queensland Children’s Hospital continues that tradition today, providing classroom-based and ward-based bedside teaching for more than 3500 students from prep to year 12 every year.

The school also now offers an e-kindy service which is an accredited kindy program delivered by early childhood teachers.

Students at the school are inpatients, outpatients or siblings of a patient who are unable to continue their education at their local school because of illness or injury.

A team of approximately 35 teachers hold classes in a senior (year 5 to 12) campus on Level 8 of the hospital and a junior (Prep to year 4) campus, on Stanley Street beside the hospital.

Queensland Children’s Hospital School Executive Principal Michelle Bond said the school focused on helping limit the impact of extended hospital stays on a child’s education and ensuring a smooth transition back to their usual school.

“Sadly, chronic illnesses or severe injuries impact significantly on a child’s ability to have a normal childhood, which includes school and learning,” Ms Bond said.

“Our goal is to continue quality education and make a difference in the lives of our students as they face their medical challenges.

“Teachers differentiate their teaching style and methods to cater for the extensive range of educational needs of students.

“While teaching practices may have changed dramatically, from an inkwell and slate to today’s interactive technologies and focus on coding and robotics, the principles of learning and development have remained the same.

“Our hospital school is truly a special place and we are delighted to be celebrating 100 years of, to quote our school motto, ‘inspire, believe, achieve,” Ms Bond said.

“Queensland should be proud of its pioneering role in hospital-based learning in Australia, paving the way back in 1919 for all hospital schools that have followed since.”

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Frank Tracey said the Queensland Children’s Hospital school and its dedicated teachers made an invaluable contribution to a patient’s healthcare journey.

“We aim to provide family-centred care for all children and young people, and the hospital school helps us do this by ensuring a child can keep up with their education when they have to spend an extended time with us, whether that be as a patient or the sibling of a patient,” Mr Tracey said.

“The school means they can continue their learning and development while they are receiving treatment and/or recovering, but also maintain some sense of normality in their lives.

“I would like to congratulate the teachers and staff at the school on reaching this significant milestone.”

For more about the Queensland Children’s Hospital School, see https://qchschool.eq.edu.au/

ENDS

Media contact:  t: +61 7 3068 5111   e: chqnews@health.qld.gov.au