James Brindley School - A school within a hospital

Welcome to the James Brindley School - the largest hospital school in the world.

Did you know there was a school in Birmingham Children’s Hospital? Do you like the sound of a school where there's no uniform, you call teachers by their first names and you get to work on iPads?

Welcome to the James Brindley School (JBS) – the largest hospital school in the world.

Whether you're going to be in hospital for a day, a week, a month or longer, if you usually go to school it's important you don't miss out on your education.

JBS teachers take over from your own school teachers. You can go to lessons in one of the classrooms, or teachers can come to the ward to teach you.

James Brindley School logo

How does the school work?

James Brindley School follows the National Curriculum and lessons are made as fun and interesting as possible. There are many opportunities for IT work, including video conferencing. In the past, children have talked to some amazing people in other countries. They have put questions to astronauts at NASA headquarters in America and chatted to divers on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. 

James Brindley School can offer patients an education by the bedside or in one of our classrooms.

The school can be found on the ground floor of the Hospital and it has a Primary and Secondary classroom.  If you are well enough to come to school you will be taught in the classrooms but if for whatever reason you cannot then you will be seen by James Brindley staff on your ward.  Every member of staff will be wearing a school badge with their name on.

You may be a different age and have a different medical condition from lots of the kids at JBS, but one thing you have in common is that you're all poorly. And that can create a bond between you and lead to some great new friendships.

What's brilliant about the school is that as well as continuing your education, it also gives you something to do – because being in hospital can be quite boring at times, especially if you have to be in a room on your own to protect you from infection. But you don't have to be ill to go to JBS. Some children go because they have a poorly brother or sister and can't get to their own school. 

All the teachers are used to working with children who are sick. We know what it takes to get kids interested in learning, even if they're not feeling well. Our teachers find ways to make learning as varied and enjoyable as possible.

What are the facilities?

The school's IT facilities are really cool. There are loads of computers - Macs and PCs - in the classrooms and a huge screen in the video conferencing room. On every ward, including intensive care, there is IT access beside every bed. That means that even if you can't get to the school, you still have access to video conferencing, the internet and nearly 400 programmes the school provides free of charge. Every teacher also has an iPad that we can use with you when we are teaching you.

We supply laptops as well as computers on trolleys, and have touch-screen computers so that IT is accessible for all of the children.

There are lots of activities laid on too – such as outside visits to theatres and wildlife centres and people coming in to teach different skills, such as circus skills.

You may still miss your own school, so we can set up video links with your friends. The school will also check out with your own teachers what you've been working on, so you don't end up doing the same things over again. And when you leave hospital, the school will arrange home tuition if you need it for a while or else we'll speak to your own school to make sure everything's fine for your return. If you have any exams timetabled for when you are in hospital then our staff will ensure that you can take your exams in hospital if you are well enough to do so.

What do the children think of the school?

Below are some quotes from some patients that have been taught by James Brindley School.

‘I like JB School because I like the teachers and the children’ Jack - age 9

‘I like James Brindley School because there are lots of different displays and all the teachers are super cool and funny’ Rae-Anna - age 10

‘I like James Brindley School because I like the Smart Board and the funny shaped words on the wall’ Oliver - age 4

‘I find this school very funny and all the teachers are nice.  I feel safe, the work is nice and I like all of the subjects’ Jonathan- age 13

You can contact us in one of the following ways:

  1. Speak to the James Brindley teacher on your ward, they will be wearing a badge with their name on.
  2. Phone our school on 0121 666 6406 ext 2312.
  3. Come to the school and speak to Hardip Bissell, Head of Sector.

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