Hospital and Outreach Education (HOE) is an alternative provision academy, providing educational support to children and young people aged 4 to 18 that are unable to attend a mainstream school full time as a result of a diagnosed medical or mental health condition, on behalf of the two unitary authorities in Northamptonshire. Referrals to our service are made by the child's school and need to be supported by a medical practitioner. Parents are not able to apply directly. We also provide short term teaching to children who are hospitalised. Almost all of our pupils are dual registered with their home schools. The provision is spread over a number of bases in order to serve the entire county, and serves students with a diverse array of medical and mental health conditions. The staff consists of qualified teachers, senior learning support assistants, higher level teaching assistants and family liaison workers, all supported by a head teacher and deputy head teacher, alongside a business team. The provision works closely with the local authority and a number of external agencies, including CAMHS and Prospects.
Students have learned that lifelong progress comes from more than a set of qualifications, and found that qualities and essential skills are just as important. Teachers have found the framework an easy way to ensure they are able to discuss and progress skills that students will need in their future.
We have introduced a skills and values reward card system, where every student is rewarded with a sticker when they demonstrate the essential skills. This was launched to students through a video recorded for our assembly. Parents were informed of our involvement with Skills Builder through a parent time evening session, where each skill was outlined and ways to support their children were suggested. Rewards in the form of vouchers are drawn at the end of each term. Every class has the skill icon of the term next to the board, with the ladder for each skill, so that staff and students can regularly refer to it. The first staff bulletin of each term highlights the skill and ladder for the term. Email footers include the skill of the term and this is also displayed in staff room areas. A LinkedIn post requested submission of short videos to highlight each skill, which is still being developed, but has gained many contributions from around the world.
We have developed our own internal tracking document, which assesses the skills levels of each student individually. This is because of the variance in our cohort, the low numbers of students and the transient nature of their involvement with us. It has meant that we are unable to use the Hub assessments to treat students as a single group. Assessments take place 3 times per year with contributions from teachers, teaching assistants and leaders to establish the best fit. Loyalty cards are also a way of assessing progress. At the beginning and end of each skills unit, students assess themselves on the ladder and progress over the term is discussed, as well as strategies to progress even further.
We have changed the order that we will teach the skills next year so that our first term will be Staying Positive, which will provide students with tools to develop their positive mental health and well being that will support them throughout the year and hopefully into their future. We are reaching out more to local businesses to build relationships that will support students to understand the essential employability skills and how they translate into the world of work. All subjects will be focusing on this during the first term in order to reinforce the use of strategies to build resilience. HOE will continue to develop resources around the skills and make videos of the ladders which will be available to all, to support an understanding of how individuals can progress in each skill area. HOE is looking to integrate the base lining, monitoring and reporting of progress in the skills area into its own MIS to ensure reviews of student progress include actions for students and parents/ carers.