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Supporting Children with Medical
and Mental Health Needs at School

 

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Looking for HOPE

HOPE
We live in unsettled times. The events in Europe over the past weeks, along with the pandemic, force us to reflect. It’s easy to take for granted the things we have and the way we live, it’s generally only when life as we know it is interrupted that we think about the small things that make it what it is.
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As we watch TV and social media images of pain and destruction right now, we think about our colleagues in the field of hospital education right across Europe. It brings sharply to mind the professional relationships, friendships and connections we’ve made through our collective organisation HOPE (Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe) https://www.hospitalteachers.eu/. It seems an apt name right now. That’s what we all need in these times; some hope that things will get better.

For 34 years HOPE has shown the power of trying to understand each other’s ways of working, of learning and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. The result has seen collaboration and experimentation. Well at School was presented at the HOPE conference in Poland in 2018, the last of the bi-annual conferences so far. The planned conference in Estonia in 2020 had to be cancelled due to the pandemic and a 2023 conference planned for Italy is uncertain. These face-to-face conferences of the past were a rich mix of ideas, energy, camaraderie, discussion and collaborations, with lots of laughter and warmth.

Right now we’re thinking of our colleagues across Europe and beyond as they too adjust to these most challenging of times. Now more than ever there’s a need to continue to serve the children, young people and their families in general hospitals, psychiatric units and in their homes. The children and young people living with a range of medical and mental health conditions, sometimes much exacerbated by the times we live in, really do need access to the therapeutic role education can bring.

We all need hope right now and for many people that will be found in the immense acts of kindness, care and connections we see on our screens or witness in our neighbourhoods. It can also be found knowing that the work we do here in London, is being done right across Europe and beyond with the purpose of making sure that children and young people continue to access education. It may have to be done differently in times of pandemic and even war, but it really is where hope will be nurtured for the future.

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