Frequently Asked Questions

Who can come to the schoolroom?

All patients from Reception to Year 13 are welcome to come to the Schoolroom whenever they are receiving treatment in the hospital as an inpatient or an outpatient. Older pupils are often taught in the Hub area of the Teenage Cancer Trust Ward. We are sorry, but we are not able to teach siblings.

Who runs the schoolroom?

Teaching is delivered by Sutton Teaching and Reintegration Service (STARS), a service provided through the London Borough of Sutton, in partnership with the Royal Marsden Hospital. The schoolroom is staffed by a core teaching team, with additional support given by specialist core subject tutors.

When is the schoolroom open?

We are open for teaching from 10am to 12pm and from 1pm to 3.30pm every weekday during term-time. The schoolroom may occasionally be closed for training purposes.

Do children and young people have to go to school while in hospital?

It is not compulsory for children and young people to attend school whilst receiving treatment in hospital, however, many young people comment on how much they enjoy keeping busy with learning and spending time with peers.

Do pupils have to remain in the schoolroom for a whole session?

Pupils can stay for as long as or as little as they like. The teachers would always like them to stay longer but only if they are feeling up to it. For our youngest pupils, we often find one hour of teaching in the morning and afternoon is sufficient.

Will pupils be offered teaching if they have special educational needs?

We very much welcome all children and young people in the schoolroom. It is important that parents/carers share any information with us that they feel would help us fully meet their child's needs.

What happens if a pupil is in isolation or needs to stay in bed?

Patients who need to remain in bed or are in isolation and therefore unable to come to the schoolroom will be offered bedside teaching if they are well enough. This will usually be for 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Do parents/carers have to stay with my child while they are at school?

We would strongly encourage children to stay at school without an adult, as it benefits them academically and socially to be independent. However, we do recognise that some pupils will initially need the support of a familiar adult, and in this situation, one adult is very welcome to remain with them until they feel confident enough to stay in the schoolroom on their own. We encourage parents/carers where possible to take this time for a little break.

Are the doctors and nurses allowed into the schoolroom?

Absolutely! We fully understand that a pupil's medical needs take priority and the doctors and nurses are very accustomed to coming and finding pupils in the schoolroom.

Can drip stands be brought into the schoolroom?

Children often come to school with a drip stand, and we are very happy to accommodate this. If possible we ask that the batteries on the machines are well charged before pupils come to school, as this can make it a little easier to manage in the space.

What happens if a pupil has an exam to sit when they are in hospital?

We are able to arrange for pupils to sit public examinations (e.g. GCSEs and A-Levels) on the ward if necessary. If it is felt this might be necessary parents/carers should make contact with the schoolroom and home school so that any access arrangements can be applied for in advance of the exam.

Who is responsible for education of pupils while they are unwell?

A child's education ultimately remains the responsibility of their home school and of the local authority in which they live. Children and young people should remain on roll throughout their treatment, even if they are not able to attend for extended periods of time. They should be enrolled into a primary/secondary school as normal, even if they will not be able to attend the school immediately, as this will give them access to alternative educational provision and support.
After discussion with parents, we will contact home schools for information about a pupil’s learning, and to advise them of ways that they can support pupils during and after their treatment.  We will ask home schools to send work as many pupils are keen to be doing the same as their peers and it helps us to ensure they are as academically prepared as possible to return confidently to their home school.  We advise all schools to make an application for home tuition, which is provided by your local authority.  Although we encourage all pupils to return to mainstream education as quickly as possible, this also gives them the option of tutoring at home if and when this is needed.