23 November 2015

Two young people from Northamptonshire who were supported by the county’s Hospital and Outreach Education were invited to the House of Lords to talk about their experience.

Hospital outreach House of Lords

Headteacher Cath Kitchen, from the pupil referral unit, was invited to speak at the Education in Alternative Provisions – Rewards and Challenges discussion on Monday 9 November by Baroness Massey, who had heard her speak at a previous conference.

She was joined by Hannah Bunting, 21, and 17 year old Beth Harrison, who both spent time out of mainstream school due to ill health.

Back to school

Northamptonshire County Council’s Hospital and Outreach Education helped them to keep up with their classmates by offering teaching in their own homes and support to help them get back to school. With the help of the service, both Hannah and Beth were able to take and pass their GCSEs and return to school for further education.

The House of Lords discussion involved peers, MPs and voluntary organisations and also present were staff from a pupil referral unit for children and young people with behavioural difficulties in Tameside and the headteacher of Great Ormond Street Hospital School in London.

Cath said: “Our young people from Northamptonshire were amazing. They spoke so clearly and concisely and had a much bigger impact on the audience than the adult speakers. I am immensely proud of both of them.”

Baroness Massey, who co-ordinated and chaired discussion, said: “This is one of the best and most lively meetings I have chaired and we will certainly be taking some of the issues raised by the young people into the House to debate."

Teaching support

Run by Northamptonshire County Council, the pupil referral unit offers teaching support for children and young people with complex medical and mental health needs which prevent them from attending school full-time.

Cllr Matthew Golby, cabinet member for learning, skills and education, said: “Our Hospital and Outreach Education service does a fantastic job for children and young people who are unable to attend school full-time due to health issues.

“It is an incredible honour for Cath, Hannah and Beth to have been invited to the House of Lords and they should be very proud of their contribution to this important debate.”