A Pupil's Learning Journey with OHS

This graphic illustrates the stages of a pupil’s learning journey with the Oxfordshire Hospital School, from entry to moving on.

A Pupil’s Learning Journey at OHS

Subjects, Curriculum Planning, Teaching, Learning , Assessment & Progress

At OHS, teaching, learning & assessment is a highly personalised and ipsative process for each individual young person and reflects fluctuations due to illness and its effect on cognitive abilities. Progress can take many forms, for example, improvements in levels of concentration, engagement, academic, social emotion or communication.

Curriculum Planning, Teaching, Learning, Assessment & Progress

English & Literacy, Phonics &  Reading Across OHS



Creative Arts

Modern Foreign Languages


Wellbeing and Physical Education


Curriculum Intent

The Oxfordshire Hospital School Curriculum 

What is the curriculum?

The curriculum draws together curriculum, teaching, assessment and outcomes. 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.

Our 5 priorities are to:

  1. Engage & build strong relationships
  2. Assess gaps and additional needs
  3. Define a bespoke curriculum
  4. Value education and skills developed through recognition & accreditation of achievement
  5. Focus on the future

Throughout the curriculum, we intend to …

Engage young people and provide them with a sense of ownership over their learning

Reinforce the value of education by providing reasons to learn and for young people to understand we are there to support them even if they are not ready to learn

Build supportive relationships and develop each learners confidence and self esteem

Support continuity of learning, where possible, built on the enrolled school curriculum and prior learning

Provide a breadth of curriculum experiences, where possible, within the limitations of teaching in a hospital school environment

Make sure learning is tailored to individual need and ability and remains dynamic to changing need

Identify and fill gaps

Encourage learners to connect ideas and develop transferable skills

Promote Literacy across the Curriculum in order to develop enjoyment, fluency and confidence in reading, writing, speaking and listening

Provide a sense of achievement

Embed Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural opportunities throughout the curriculum in order for young people to develop as creative, healthy, confident, resilient and successful learners who make a positive contribution to the community and the wider world

Raise aspirations through next steps planning and careers support

Ensure equal opportunities and access to all areas of the curriculum, systems of supported advocacy, and essential life and independence skills  

Recognise, celebrate & accredit learning 







The OHS Curriculum Model

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

The Enrolled School 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. This offer focuses on the core areas of maths, English, science and PSHE/SRE. The OHS supplements this offer with a broad range of subject specific engagement and cross curricular enrichment and extension opportunities for all learners, which helps to deepen and contextualise learning and supports SMSC development and cultural capital. 

The Enhanced Curriculum

The Enhanced Curriculum is a bespoke offer promoting enrichment, engagement, key skills and personal development. It includes pastoral & re-integration support, PE & physical well-being, bespoke PSHE, careers and next steps planning. At times, it may be the sole source of the curriculum for a young person who is too unwell, or not yet able, to access their enrolled school curriculum or more formal academic learning.

A key element of the OHS curriculum vision of ‘providing opportunities for young people to develop as healthy, confident, resilient and successful learners’ is Personal Development – this is embedded throughout and develops key areas:

● 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

Curriculum Implementation 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, enrolled 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 enrolled 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. Key Stage 5 pathways include:

  1. A Level subjects with subject specialist teaching (Science, English, Maths, MFL and Humanities) following KS5 curriculum with specific A Level lessons and 1to1 lessons 
  2. A Level subjects without subject specialist teaching following  KS5 curriculum with supported study focused around completing A Level work set by enrolled school 
  3. Non-A Level subjects without subject specialist teaching follow KS5 curriculum with supported study focused around completing work set by enrolled school or college
  4. Not in Education, Employment or Training following a bespoke curriculum focusing on core skills with activities related to interest framed within an accreditation where possible e.g. Arts Award, AQA unit award, Functional Skills
The Outreach Teaching Service

The Outreach Teaching Service teaches and supports pupils aged from 5-16 who are unable to attend their enrolled 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
  • 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 of LORIC (leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative & communication)
  • 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.


As a provision that provides outstanding teaching, learning and assessment, pupils with SEND do well at Oxfordshire Hospital School

(Ofsted, 2017)


At the hospital school, 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 a vital part of the culture of the school. Our vision is to continually improve and develop our SEND offer and to help others in our region to support pupils with SEND who have health needs. We aim to be constantly true to our core values by building the resilience of our pupils with SEND with kindness and respect and by helping our pupils to be confident young people who can enjoy and achieve as well as face problems and setbacks and learn from them.

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 enrolled 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 as yet unidentified, SEND is a vital consideration in this process.

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

Close links with clinical and community partners mean hospital school key tutors 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.

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.