James Brindley School

The Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) Young Persons Unit (YPU) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham treats teenagers and young adults, aged 16-24, with cancer.

With the stresses of transitioning into adulthood, a lot of young people on the Unit have the added worries of facing potential life-threatening illnesses to contend with. Rather than the archetypal teenage priorities such as school, friends and hobbies, most on the TCT YPU put their lives on hold due to treatments and in turn miss out.

All staff at the unit recognise how crucial their time at TCT YPU is and emphasise the importance of physical health, psychological well-being and ‘added extras’ that make their lives as normal as possible.
The design of the unit offers patients less of a clinical feel but more like a ‘home from home’, the Charity has teamed up with James Brindley School to launched its specialist education service to help ease the patient’s academic pressures.

James Brindley School is amongst the selected few schools across the UK that cater for children and young people who have complex and varied needs. James Brindley School’s staff teach across 11 sites including seven hospitals (both physical and mental health), two teaching centres for children with social emotional and mental health conditions, an autism specialist centre and they also cover home teaching throughout Birmingham. The school consists of approximately 200 specially qualified staff; one of its teachers, Jayne Ruisi will be providing education to the patients here at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. James Brindley School and UHB Charity’s main aim is to go ‘over and above’ to make ‘every child matter and every moment count’.

UHB Charity acknowledges the worry and fear that patients go through every day during their stay on the ward. The Charity’s aim is to reduce their stresses in any way it can, both patients and parents alike recognize the importance of education, it not only brings a little bit of normality back into their lives on the unit but also helps them in the future when they are ready to go back to full-time education.

Whilst young people across the nation are at school, for the young patients on TCT YPU they are in hospital. Falling behind at school is a huge worry for them however with James Brindley School providing one to one, tailored education for a specific patient; they will no longer have that fear.

The teaching staff provide education to ages ranging from 16 to 24-year-olds that are receiving treatment on the unit, the teachers work closely to the national curriculum so that the patient’s curriculum is kept up to date with the rest of their year. Depending on how the pupils are, the staff can even help them with exams throughout GCSEs and A Levels. The school teaches a wide curriculum including Mathematics, English, Science, Psychology, Sociology, Religious Education, Geography, Business Studies and even help with UCAS applications for students in the process of applying for university. At James Brindley School they also appreciate that not all young people want to carry on to university, therefore they also offer Careers advice and guidance service for those who want to take a different path as well as mock-job interviews and applying for apprenticeships.

If pupils are bedbound but still well enough to be taught, James Brindley staff are able to teach them at their bedside to encourage a more comfortable and effective way of learning.

For more information on the James Brindley School click the following link here.

Jayne Ruisi

James Brindley School teacher, Jayne Ruisi  What subjects do you teach? I teach a whole array of subjects at GCSE, Diploma and A Level such as Humanities that includes Geography,...

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