Our Curriculum

The Oxfordshire Hospital School Curriculum 

What is the curriculum?

The curriculum draws together curriculum, teaching, assessment and standards. We have adopted the concepts of ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’ to recognise that the curriculum passes through different states: it is conceived, taught and experienced. At the Oxfordshire Hospital School, access to the curriculum is seen as an important and integral part of the treatment and recovery programme.

The OHS Curriculum is underpinned by the principles outlined in the DfE statutory guidance for Local Authorities, January 2013: ‘Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs’:

The Government’s policy intention is that all children, regardless of circumstance or setting should receive a good education to enable them to shape their own futures. Therefore alternative provision and the framework surrounding it should offer good quality education on a par with that of mainstream schooling, along with the support pupils need to overcome barriers to attainment. This support should meet a pupil’s individual needs, including social and emotional needs, and enable them to thrive and prosper in the education system. 

Every child should have the best possible start in life through a high quality education, which allows them to achieve their full potential. A child who has health needs should have the same opportunities as their peer group, including a broad and balanced curriculum. As far as possible, children with health needs and who are unable to attend school should receive the same range and quality of education as they would have experienced at their enrolled school.

The graphic below outlines our CURRICULUM INTENT i.e. what we intend to do,  why we intend to do this and how we intend to achieve this.

What we intend to do…

  1. Provide a safe, welcoming and stimulating environment where education is interpreted in the broader multi-disciplinary context  
  2. Meet pupils’ changing medical, psychological and learning needs and mitigate any disruption by ensuring continuity of learning, where possible, through an appropriately matched curriculum that enables them to thrive
  3. Promote the psycho-social aspects of learning, e.g. establishing positive relationships with teaching staff, other professionals and peers  
  4. Help pupils maintain, or rebuild, self-confidence and self-esteem so that they are able to re-engage with the wider environment and the world of education  
  5. Provide high quality opportunities for pupils to participate in a broad and balanced curriculum, based on the National Curriculum, as far as is practicable within a hospital school environment  
  6. Offer each pupil an effective and personalised learning programme which remains dynamic and matched to their changing needs
  7. Engage short-stay pupils in purposeful and relevant educational activities  
  8. Promote equal opportunities and provide access, as appropriate, to all areas of the curriculum, systems of supported advocacy, and essential life and independence skills  
  9. Accredit learning, where possible,  through recognised schemes and qualifications  
  10. Recognise, celebrate and reward pupils’ progress and achievements 

Why we intend to do this…

  1. To recognise and value each individual’s unique abilities and needs so that they can thrive and prosper
  2. To mitigate the impact of their medical needs on young people’s ambitions, achievement and progress
  3. To ensure equality and inclusion for all
  4. To ensure that pupils are well equipped for a seamless transition back to their enrolled school or into further education, employment or training

How we intend to do this…

  1. By working in partnership with enrolled schools so that the curriculum at OHS links to the enrolled school and prior learning wherever possible
  2. By working within a multi-disciplinary team approach
  3. Through offering a broad and ambitious curriculum, containing a range of subjects which support accreditation and longer term learning ambitions for pupils e.g. working towards the Early Learning Goals for EYFS and a broad and balanced primary curriculum with a focus on maths, English and science and GCSE for KS4
  4. By planning personalised learning programmes matched to each individual pupil’s age, stage and abilities and delivered through individual and small group teaching
  5. Through providing creative learning and enrichment opportunities, helping pupils to develop as confident, resilient and successful learners who make a positive contribution to the wider community
  6. Through personalised pastoral, next steps and transition support
  7. Opportunities through SMSC and PSHE for pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe and to prepare for life and work in modern Britain and the wider world
  8. By offering wider child development experiences which may be missed by being away from their enrolled school e.g. outdoor experiences and opportunities to socialise or  work alongside others 
  9. Through continuous assessment to ensure that the teaching and the curriculum remains well matched to the needs of each young person
  10. By planning work at the pace and needs of the young person, ensuring that the structure of school supports the their medical treatment in a positive manner and does not become a detrimental pressure
  11. Through a responsive approach to curriculum planning and review, with pupils involved in decision making thus being  encouraged to engage with, and develop independence in, their learning
  12. By providing opportunities for pupils to explore their own values, value the beliefs of others, respect diversity and to understand their personal rights and responsibilities
  13. Through collaboration with enrolled schools to support the facilitation of public examinations alongside promotion of other recognised and meaningful  accreditation opportunities e.g. functional skills and AQA unit awards
  14. By working in partnership with enrolled schools to provide advice, advocacy and signposting to relevant avenues of support for pupils when considering options for next steps and Careers
  15. Through the use of technology to support access,  inclusion and engagement in learning


The OHS Curriculum Model

The OHS provides a personalised curriculum offer for each pupil created from the following strands:

The Enrolled School Linked Curriculum 

This element of the curriculum is guided by information from the enrolled school, often provided through detailed schemes of work, termly or weekly planning, phonics programmes, handwriting schemes, workbooks, online logins, topic themes or information on exam board specifications etc. Using this information, teaching staff at OHS construct a personalised curriculum offer linked as closely as possible with that of the enrolled school wherever possible,  therefore maximising the opportunities for continuity of learning and a seamless reintegration. The OHS supplements this offer with a broad range of subject specific engagement and cross curricular enrichment and extension opportunities for all pupils, which helps to deepen and contextualise learning and supports SMSC development. 

The OHS Personal Development (PD) Curriculum

The OHS PD Curriculum is a bespoke offer promoting personal development and includes pastoral & re-integration support, PSHE, physical well-being, Careers and next steps planning. At times, it may be the sole source of the curriculum for a pupil who is too unwell, or not yet able, to access their enrolled school curriculum or academic learning.

The OHS PD Curriculum aims to promote the following:

● Social skills & communication – demonstrating an increased awareness of the consequences of actions on themselves and others and acquiring a better ability to work cooperatively
● Managing risk & decision making – identification, assessment & management of positive & negative risk to self & others, assessing the validity & reliability of information & identifying links between values, beliefs, decisions & actions.
● Motivation & concentration – participating in exploratory learning and focusing on specific tasks for extended periods of time
● Confidence & self-esteem – having the freedom, time and space to learn, grow and demonstrate independence

The OHS (PD) Curriculum is created from several strands, including:

  1. Careers, Information, Advice & Guidance; bespoke careers support matched to individual pupil need & guided by the enrolled school
  2. PE & Physical Activities; recreational and core sporting activities promoting physical & mental wellbeing
  3. Personal Development Skills; personalised programmes offering a supported approach to taking on new challenges
  4. PSHE/Health Education/Relationships & Sex Education (SRE); an opportunity for pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepare for life and work in modern Britain
  5. Curriculum enrichment and engagement activities; creative learning opportunities, often linked to personal hobbies, interests and to local and National competitions and events






The Curriculum Across OHS
The Children’s Hospital, Helen House Hospice & the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

These in-patient settings teach and support pupils aged 5-17 who have a range of acute and long term medical conditions with varying lengths of admissions. There is a high volume and turnover with around 800 pupils in any academic year. Pupils collaborate on designing their own bespoke, highly personalised curriculum, based on their personal interests and needs with OHS staff, home school, parents and medical practitioners. Maintaining learning linked to the enrolled school curriculum is a priority in order to support continuity and reintegration; this is offered alongside a rich and varied OHS programme of high quality and motivational curriculum enrichment opportunities designed to support continued engagement  with learning when a pupil’s focus, motivation and the ability to learn may be impacted by illness; these include internally delivered workshops such as food technology, science, values & virtual reality workshops alongside programmes provided through a broad range of external partnerships, including Oxford University Museum’s outreach programme, County Music service, Read for Good, Artists in Residence and Community Albums. Each pupil also has a high level of pastoral input through Values and PSHE workshops and personalised key teacher support. The curriculum is delivered through daily workshops and 1:1 or small group teaching. The settings aim to provide a broad curriculum offer taught by subject & key stage specialists wherever possible with a strong emphasis on key stage and specialist teaching e.g. for EYFS pupils, pupils with profound and multiple learning needs, phonics, English, Maths & science. Pupils are encouraged to work in groups wherever possible in order to support social & emotional wellbeing and a smooth transition back to their enrolled school or college; however, the dynamic nature of medical treatment in an acute hospital means that lessons are most often taught on a 1:1 basis. Teaching takes place in the classrooms and on wards, including Paediatric High Dependency and Intensive Care.

The Highfield Unit

The Highfield Unit is a 20 bedded psychiatric in-patient setting which teaches and supports pupils aged 11-18 who have been admitted with an acute mental health need such as eating disorder, psychosis, anxiety or suicidal ideation. Continuity with the home school or college  curriculum is a priority in order to support re-integration; extension of this is necessary in order to broaden experience, inspire and build engagement and resilience. An additional OHS ‘core’ and ‘options’ curriculum enriches the programme for each individual pupil by offering a broad range of engagement for learning activities which provide the opportunity to try new experiences, develop new skills and rediscover the joy of learning in a safe and non-threatening environment; these include food technology, art, yoga, sports and outdoor experiences such as gardening and walks with a purpose. Pupils are also able to use the outdoor space for gardening and a music suite with a range of instruments and software for music editing. External partners such as illustrators, poets, scientists and motivational speakers further enhance this offer. Each pupil receives a bespoke, personalised curriculum which has a high level of pastoral input and is constructed in collaboration with the pupil and OHS staff and is reflective of their capabilities as informed by the multidisciplinary team at the Highfield.  Pupils at the Highfield are taught in groups wherever possible in order to support transition back to their enrolled school or college; however, at times, medical need may result in 1:1 teaching being most appropriate. Teaching takes place in classrooms, in outdoor spaces within the unit and grounds and on the ward, including the High Dependency unit.


The Outreach Teaching Service

The Outreach Teaching Service teaches and supports pupils aged from 5-16 who are unable to attend their home school due to their medical condition; this includes pupils with anxiety disorders and pupils in recovery from, or undergoing, medical procedures. The service is a short term re-integration provision devolving the Local Authorities’ responsibilities outlined in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Up to  45 pupils can be referred at any one time, each on a carefully matched reintegration pathway. Each pupil receives a bespoke, personalised curriculum which is constructed in collaboration with the pupil, parents, OHS staff and the enrolled school and is adapted in line with their capabilities as informed by the multidisciplinary team (most often CAMHS or a medical consultant).  Most teaching in OTS is on a 1:1 face to face basis and these  lessons are supplemented by independent work.

There are a range of curriculum pathways available which provide  a ‘menu’ of options which can be woven together to construct a bespoke curriculum matched to individual needs. These include:

  • An overarching offer of PSHE, pastoral support, Careers & next steps planning and physical well-being
  • Core subject teaching of maths, English & science
  • Humanities & MFL (as additional subjects to support pupils able to access EBACC)
  • Arts & arts awards
  • Key employability skills 
  • Thematic and engagement in learning

These pathways are enhanced by creative opportunities to join with pupils across the school in a wider, motivational whole school curriculum including competitions and events such as poetry competitions, science week, sports week and  Safer Internet day.

Subjects, Curriculum Planning, Teaching, Learning & Assessment

All young people being taught by the Oxfordshire Hospital School receive a curriculum offer which is part academic and part therapeutic: the balance between these two elements is assessed on a weekly basis and adjusted to produce a personalised timetable which takes account of medical need, readiness to learn and SEND. Learning covered at the hospital school is linked closely to a pupil’s enrolled school curriculum.

As a provision that provides outstanding teaching, learning and assessment, pupils with SEND do well at Oxfordshire Hospital School (Ofsted, 2016). All pupils who have a SEND receive Quality First Teaching (QFT) as part of their personalised learning offer. Differentiation strategies are in the first instance based on the information provided by home schools to ensure continuity of support on transition from enrolled school to hospital school learning.

The schools revolving door nature mean teachers conduct appropriate assessments on entry to assess the impact of a pupil’s medical needs upon their learning. Reflecting on impacts of known or yet unidentified SEND is a vital consideration in this process. All teachers and HLTA’s cannot only describe key features of most high incidence SEND but are aware of some initial support strategies.

Close links with clinical and community partners mean Hospital School Key teachers are able to advocate for additional support for young people when required. High quality case work is integral to Hospital school teachers’ core responsibilities. As a school we strive to ensure that young people with SEND are integrated to their future provision with their SEND needs even better supported than on admission.

Our Vision for Pupils with SEND

At the hospital we never want to stop improving the offer for pupils with SEND. As a school, the pupils are at the heart of what we do and making sure those that learn differently go on to enjoy and achieve is vital part of the culture of the school.

Over the next 12 months a network is being established consolidating expertise across the school and making it easier for colleagues in different settings to access knowledge support and advice on different areas of SEND.

We will use our upgraded ICT system to more clearly track the SEND needs of pupils across the schools different setting. This information means that each year we can deliver targeted training based on the frequency of SEND needs supported. The training focus will initially be on more advanced identification of SEND and building on current teaching staff knowledge to ensure they are aware of the latest support strategies.

We want to make sure we not only deliver interventions provided by enrolled schools we want to be able to offer the best evidence best programmes available. We are keen to invest in our staff to ensure they are trained to provide these targeted interventions. We will review the impact of interventions using a combination of wholes school data, case studies, action research and importantly, conversations with colleagues’ young people and families.

Currently we regularly support colleagues in Health and Social Care services with Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) applications. We are keen to offer training to ensure these partners are instinctively able to lead on these applications themselves. We want our partners to feel as confident about advocating for pupils with SEND issues as we do.

Although we want to continually improve and go from outstanding SEND offer to regional expert in supporting pupils with SEND who have health needs; we still want to be constantly true to our values. We want to always be asking ourselves do we still build with kindness, and respect the resilience of our pupils with SEND? Having learnt with us are our pupils more confident young people who can enjoy and achieve as well as face problems and setbacks and learn from them?

For any further information please contact us on
01865 957480

Oxfordshire Hospital School c/o St Nicholas’ Primary School
Raymund Road
Old Marston Oxford

For any further information please contact us on
01865 957480

Oxfordshire Hospital School c/o St Nicholas’ Primary School
Raymund Road
Old Marston Oxford

For any further information please contact us on 01865 957480

Oxfordshire Hospital School c/o St Nicholas’ Primary School Raymund Road Old Marston Oxford OX3 OPJ