New Hospital School for Children in North

Children who are patients at the Lyell McEwin Hospital can now go to school there, with the State’s newest school campus opening within the hospital in time for the 2021 school year.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said children with acute and chronic health and mental health needs at the Lyell McEwin Hospital will be able to attend lessons run by the Hospital School SA program.

“We know that any hospital visit is a stressful time for families, let alone having the added stress on parents who might have to try and ‘home school’ their children while they’re at hospital,” Minister Wade said.

“Being a patient at a hospital shouldn’t prevent children from being able to continue their education. The new Hospital School SA campus will make access to education easier and less stressful for our patients and their families.”

It’s the third hospital campus to open in South Australia, with Hospital Schools SA already operating for pre-school to Year 12 students at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre.

Women’s and Children’s Division Nursing Director, Maeve Downes, said the new campus is the first time a Hospital School has been established within the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN).

“The NALHN Hospital School is available to inpatients and the siblings of patients from rural and remote areas,” Ms Downes said.

“It will be the first Hospital School in the State to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children as young as three.

“This collaboration between NALHN and Hospital School SA will ensure children in our care can continue their education and stay engaged with their studies despite any health obstacles that stand in their way.

The combination of injury or illness and school absences can have a number of negative effects on children and their families.

This can include increased anxiety, academic under-achievement, behavioural problems and difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, all of which highlight the crucial role that a hospital school plays in difficult times.

Ms Downes said NALHN was committed to delivering exceptional, holistic healthcare while seeking every opportunity to support children to develop to their full potential.

“The Lyell McEwin Hospital School will assist children to maintain their education, develop their strengths, and experience a smooth transition back to their community based school when they are ready to leave hospital.

“While the official launch of the Hospital School was delayed by COVID-19 and the Parafield Cluster last year, the school program has already delivered some amazing work for our patients and siblings, and we are very excited to be officially open for the start of the 2021 school year.”

The Department for Education’s Hospital School SA Principal, Matthew McCurry, said the school aims to deliver education in a flexible manner to support targeted early intervention and intensive learning programs for students at risk of disengaging from their schooling.

“We support both the student and their family for the duration of their stay in hospital, all the while maintaining communication with the student’s enrolled school to ensure their transition back is as smooth as possible,” Mr McCurry said.

“We understand that time away from a home community can affect families in a number of ways and we want all families to feel welcomed and included in all of our programs.”

The new campus at the Lyell McEwin Hospital is situated in the Children’s Ward, with teaching also available on the wards.

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