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1st September, 2012


Many thanks to Sir Merrick Cockell for donating his tickets to the Olympics Opening Ceremony and the closing of the Para-Olympics to students at CCHS. We have chosen two of our long term students to attend, Leo who is our student ambassador and Asha who has been a recurrent student at the hospital school throughout her school life. Both have agreed to write an article about their experience – so far Leo has said ‘ My mother and I had the best night of our lives!’


The Friends of Chelsea Community Hospital School have now been supporting CCHS for 19 years – Many of the members are still the ‘original cast’ and special mentions must go the Nicky Foy who has been the Chair of the Friends throughout this time and Ann Gilbert who is the Treasurer, another original character is Tricia Cox whose enthusiasm and humour enable her to draw in support from the local community, and with Su managed to raise £1000 over the Christmas holidays at the Royal Brompton. Thanks must also go to Ann, Helena and Melissa who run a weekly stall at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital – do pop in to see them on a Tuesday. Last year this stall raised £4000! Whilst you are having your Autumn clear out please pop any bric-a- brac in a box and bring it along to the stall or give us a call. If you would like to be involved as a volunteer, driving our minis bus, helping on the stall or sharing your expertise, do get in touch. Alternatively join our 100+ Club this enables you to support CCHS and twice a year to win a prize.

This fundraising is to enhance the curriculum offer of the school, for example our artist in residence Shaun Dolan, our poet Phillip Wells, and our musical Pied Piper Brian Spiers.   All of whom bring their special creative talents to enhance the lives of children and young people in hospital. As well as this the school can take our students, horse riding, swimming and a summer holiday at Sayers Croft. The relationship between the parents, the hospital Trust and CCHS is further enhanced by the school staying open 50 weeks a year – with an enriched holiday programme, lead by our artist in residence Shaun and our very talented Learning assistants who create a fantastic environment throughout then hospitals. A very special mention to Robin, Sian and Ben who took a great deal of responsibility for the smooth running of the holiday programme.

Many thanks to all of them, and also to the volunteers and students, who worked throughout the holidays ensuring that all the students could be seen by their bed or in the classrooms. Special mention to the volunteers who give their time to support students in class, and in our youth club, throughout the school year, the help and support they give cannot be measured.

Congratulations to our students on their examinations results. There is always a story behind each opened envelope, and an impact on the next step in life. Imagine being in hospital long term and taking your ‘A’ levels or GCSE exams there, without the energy and support of your fellow students -   yet being so determined to overcome the impact of medical difficulties that you succeed. For many young people much of their education has been disrupted, their medical condition often meaning that they miss a great deal of education throughout their school career, this means they have to work harder to achieve than other young people – whether your results were A* or B, C, D or E – the very fact that you faced the challenge is a success. Many of you have already been offered a place at College or University in September, if there are any difficulties with your placement please get in touch, for example if you need any further support with references, interviews or further advice on available courses – Ben Lewis our careers counsellor will be happy to meet up with you.


We have had a number of staff changes over the past few months.

We are delighted that Clem who has been a learning mentor at Collingham is going on to train as a teacher, he has had such a positive influence on the students through his ability to respond positively to even the most challenging situation. His strength has been his positive support for young people returning to school after an admission to Collingham, which he has managed with humour and a calm manner.


Over the past six years we have been extremely lucky to have Chris Cole developing our IT systems – before his time we had had endless problems trying to connect all the four hospital sites – as well as struggling with developing an efficient data base that could manage both the large number of students details for recoupment as well as tracking their progress - We now have an extremely efficient and robust system which supports the smooth running of CCHS. We are delighted that Chris has been offered an excellent post in the ICT world and wish him lots of luck.   We are pleased that he will remain in post as Vice-Chair of Governors responsible for ICT and data.  

To ensure that our complicated network remains as robust as it is now we have interviewed a number of IT Companies who provide support to schools and Colleges. We have chosen a Company called JOSCOS who have excellent references and they will be having a two day a week handover from Chris during the first two weeks of September, we completed a Best Value exercise and we will be evaluating this Company over the first six weeks. We will be inviting staff and governors to have two sessions with JOSKOS, one an introductory session on the 18th September and the second a question and answer session on the 19th.

We have recruited two more learning assistant with Information technology skills, Tom Moon who will be mainly working at Collingham, has worked with children in Africa as a volunteer and this inspired him to apply to CCHS, Tom also teaches guitar so we will be able to extend our instrument lessons especially to our long term community students. Also Cindy Hsaoi whose strengths in languages and experience in IT will be extremely valuable to the whole school, Cindy is fluent, in English, Chinese and Japanese. She will be working at Chelsea & Westminster mainly, and offering lunch time language clubs. Cindy has already started her post and was extremely helpful with the special needs students – we look forward to Tom starting at the end of September. Ceira O’Donoghue who was an excellent student teacher is also working as a Learning Assistant at both St. Mary’s and on Rose – replacing Helen Damon who is completing her MA in Play Therapy and therefore only working one day a week, and freeing up Ben Lewis to do the very valuable job he is developing as Careers Counsellor.

Faisal Ali who was our Information and Technology teacher at Chelsea & Westminster has left to work in Qatar, we wish him good luck and look forward to continuing our links with him by video conferencing.

Welcome to our new teachers who will be starting on the 3rd September, Angela Loudon who was the special needs Co-ordinator at the Oratory will be teaching humanities at Chelsea & Westminster , her Teaching and Learning responsibility will be working alongside the Head Teacher to respond to referrals of community students from both Westminster and RBKC. She will continue to support the Oratory school on a Thursday morningsuntil they have a robust system for special needs in place.

Charlotte Thorpe will be the fulltime primary teacher at Chelsea & Westminster as well as working in the community with a special needs student, she will be responsible for developing the literacy curriculum at Key Stage 1 & 2 throughout the school. Charlotte’s experience has been both working with special needs students at Great Ormond Street Hospital and in a mainstream primary school.

Our poet in residence Phillips Wells will also be working with a special needs child in the community using poetry as a therapeutic device with all the children in the family. He will also be delivering poetry workshops throughout the school and we have a goal to create a CCHS Book of Poems.


Suzie Tidy will be starting as the key stage 1 & 2 teacher at the Royal Brompton, she has a background in dance which will be excellent as we are applying for an Arts Award and intend to develop our dance curriculum.

Steve Crawford who has been an excellent teacher on Rose will be spending the Autumn term developing our Physical Education Curriculum throughout the four hospital sites – at all Key Stages. This will build on the very good work he completed for the Healthy School Award – and ensure that we use his skills efficiently before he returns to Australia.


A very special mention from all staff , students and parents goes to Linda Woodgate who retired at the end of term. Linda came to the school as a special needs nursery nurse, responsible for a very special needs student Heidi, who we all remember with such fondness. Although this position was temporary, Linda’s skills with children and her organisational skills meant this temporary post lasted for 18 years. Linda will continue to work as Makaton Trainer for the school, a very experienced teacher in this sign system, Linda has taught all staff at CCHS as well as teachers and learning assistants in the community schools and nursing and medical staff.

As you know after many, many years of stability with our Administrative Staff, Suet our Finance Officer for 18 years, emigrated to Canada last September, and our secretarial post, filled by AnnMarie for over 10 years, had to be cut to 3 days due a necessary saving in our budget. We have now a full team – Paulina Gorelick, is our finance officer, working three days a week, she has been an excellent member of the team as she has dealt with a great deal of secretarial duties as well as
training on new financial systems. Karen Purcell a very experienced administrator who has worked for the NHS and many corporate bodies will be joining us on the 3rd September, for three days a week making our admin team complete. I am very much looking forward to working with this team and ensuring greater efficiency.

Many thanks to Carrine Corriveau who has been a parent Governor at CCHS for the past 18 years – she is now working abroad and so has resigned her position, she has been a positive influence, always asking the pertinent questions and has supported staff by attending social events.

Welcome to Martin Toseland who has volunteered as parent Governor and will commence this post in September, his role will be the link Governor to Chelsea & Westminster.

Jay, a learning mentor and examinations officer, has been incredibly supportive to students and also put into place a well organised system for examinations throughout the four school sites.   She has also served four years as staff Governor, the end of her term coincided with the birth of her son and we wish her family congratulations and the very best of luck.   We look forward to her return part time in January. We have to acknowledge Louise Ginsberg who very ably took over the role of examinations officer when Jay went on maternity leave. This, as you can imagine is a very complicated role, managing many new applicants throughout the summer, who sadly have been admitted to hospital during the examinations as well as students who are taught at home and of course our community students. Such an important role which requires tremendous concentration and organisational skills, well done and thank you Louise.

Welcome to the Governing Body as Staff representative, is Robin Winter who is a learning assistant at St. Mary’s and Youth worker on Rose, he will be bringing issues relating to all staff at CCHS other than teachers. The teacher representative remains Marie Sherlock, if anyone has any issues they would like to bring to the Governors attention please let these representatives know. Alternatively you can always contact the Chair of Governors through the school office.

Maria Marinho, Assistant Head, responsible for developing the education at St. Mary’s, is now completing an MA in educational policy and is changing direction, she will now be working on the CCHS data base to ensure there is a way of tracking pupil’s progress from admission to discharge. In order for Maria to complete this task, she will be handing over the day to running of St. Mary’s to Jayne Lowry. Jayne has been co-ordinator of this site since we took over responsibility 8 years ago – and has been very efficient in this role. She is delighted to be given this extra post of responsibility. Previously Jayne was a teacher at Collingham so she has experience of a wide range of special needs.

Martin Dixon’s book ‘A Year in the Life’ has sold out of the first print run and we have ordered a second , which is selling very well.   It has been extremely well received by students, parents and hospital staff. Have a preview on line and place your order if you have not already bought one. Congratulations to Martin for this project and his continuing success in his BA in photography.


Jo Eaves has now been made International Schools Co-ordinator, following her exciting Comenuis project, the video project ‘Talking to Gaza’ and the visit to Gaza which she organised with Chris and Shaun to teach at four schools there. At the Nour Festival a video of the two year project in Gaza was shown at Leighton House – as well as an impressive art project which was a curtain of porcelain tiles using Palestinian door keys to symbolise the importance of Home. This piece of work will be installed at Chelsea & Westminster.

Following the move of Collingham Gardens to Beatrice Place, the building of the new school at Chelsea & Westminster and the redesign an rebuild at the Royal Brompton – we decided it was time to bring St. Mary’s hospital school up to the same standard. We have so far had a great deal of support, from the medical team and estates. We have already been offered a space for a desk and cupboards in the Doctors shared office, which will mean we can incorporate the small office into the school. Our plan is to have three areas, one for early years, one for Key Stage 1 & 2 and a separate Key Stage 3 & 4 area, all divided by sliding glass doors so we can also change it back to one large space. We will be meeting with the architects next week and plan to have the building designed, completed and paid for !! – by the end of January 2013.


Let the new school year begin,


Janette Steel


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