Case Study: Chelsea Community Hospital School

Case Study: Chelsea Community Hospital School

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BY: Guest Writer
18 Jun 2014

Chelsea Community Hospital School (CCHS) is a Community Special School providing education for children and young people while they are in hospital. CCHS comprises four schools in medical settings including Chelsea and Westminster, St Mary’s, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital and Collingham, a residential referral unit for children with complex emotional, behavioural and mental health problems. CCHS also work with students who cannot access mainstream school due to medical or mental health conditions.  Arts Award was introduced to encourage the young people to take part in a wide range of arts activities, develop their art skills, and give students a goal to work towards.


Arts Award is delivered throughout the year, alongside this, there is also a yearly ‘Arts Award fortnight’ in the summer, during which students from all sites engage in Arts Award activities working alongside advisers at Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver levels. Students who are deemed eligible for Arts Award are identified and work one on one with an adviser, taking part in activities suitable to their needs. As well as developing their arts skills with the in-house team, arts professionals such as dancers, actors, drummers, metal workers, and graffiti artists visit the hospital schools to deliver workshops.CCHS

For Part A students first discuss their arts interests with their adviser. From this discussion, students develop a new skill through taking part in an arts activity. The students either receive a workshop tailored to their personal interests or take part in a group session.

For Part B students are taken on a trip to, for example, The Globe Theatre, in order to experience a live performance. Students who are unable to leave the hospital, or are limited by time, can review art exhibited around the hospital or online events and exhibitions.

Evidence recording formats include film, pictures, drawings, photocopies, logs, and an online database. Students are encouraged to make their responses as ‘creative’ as they like. For Part C, one student built a miniature stage for the pop group who were their ‘Arts Inspiration’. For students who are less inclined to write, filmed responses or annotated answers are used.

The school benefits from many links with artists and arts organisations. For example dancer Eddie Elliott (Lion King), gave a one off dance session and ended up providing weekly sessions to students. Philip Wells (fire poet) works with CCHS on a termly basis. They also have links to Leighton House Museum, London Symphony Orchestra and Wigmore Hall. Other partners include RB&H Arts who organise arts workshops and concerts from the BRIT school and Mill Hill High School Barber Shop group. Punchdrunk Theatre Company have links with St Mary’s Hospital, providing drama and storytelling workshops. Students at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital also take part in live hospital radio transmissions as presenters.


Arts Award has shown CCHS how engaging young people in the arts can positively impact their engagement in sessions, and development of new skills, as well as improving their well-being.

Young people have learnt how to be:

  • innovators - conceiving of a project and finding the means to carry it out (e.g. a group of students at Collingham decided to write, rehearse and star in their own film)
  • creative people – every student finds a way to be creative in a broad range of settings
  • inspiring to others - students share their skills and experiences and in doing so, develop other’s creative range

CCHS have found students who take part in Arts Award develop their self-confidence and are given a sense of purpose and empowerment.


Arts Award has shone a light on the creative skills of our young people. We have also seen a dramatic impact on the self-confidence of children once immersed in the programme.’ Suzie Tidy, Arts Award adviser


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