Hall Cross Academy becomes England’s first ‘Foundation School in Health’

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) today (19 October) entered into a formal partnership with Hall Cross Academy, making the latter the country’s first ‘Foundation School in Health’.

The ground-breaking partnership will see the local NHS provider and school working closely together. This will mean further developing opportunities for pupils, from age 11 onwards, wishing to pursue a career in the health service.

The partnership was inaugurated at Hall Cross Academy’s Upper School Library, with speeches from representatives from both organisations. Attending the event Dame Rosie Winterton MP said: “I am very pleased to be here today at the launch of this innovative new partnership between Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals and Hall Cross Academy.  This ‘Foundation School in Health’ will benefit student’s education through close links working with health professionals and also help to develop the skills and experience for a future local workforce for our National Health Service (NHS).”

With increasingly complex patient-need and an ever-expanding population, it is anticipated that the NHS will face further workforce demands in the near future. In order to address this challenge locally, DBTH and Hall Cross Academy are looking at innovative ways in which to support students as they look towards job prospects past the age of 16 and how things can be delivered locally with involvement from higher education.

By becoming a Foundation School in Health, it means the central Doncaster school will benefit from increased involvement from health professionals. This will include extensive work experience and internships, advice and information from experienced medics and clinicians about job roles within the hospitals, as well as the appointment of ‘Careers Champions’ within the Trust.

Looking beyond traditional routes into health professions, the partnership will also see advancement and development of vocational studies, offered locally, with opportunities for students and apprentices to be offered on-the-job learning. Importantly, this partnership won’t just be about patient-facing roles, but also about career possibilities in key areas such as Laboratories, IT, Estates and Facilities and other corporate functions within the Trust.

Announced as a Teaching Hospital in January 2017, DBTH, which maintains Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital, has made significant strides in education over the past number of years. In 2018 alone, the Trust trained 25% of all medical students in the region as well as 30% of all clinical and other health professional leaners. With over 6,600 staff and 250 different professions in both caring and corporate roles, the Trust is committed to developing a local workforce, fit for the future.

Dr Alasdair Strachan, Director of Education and Consultant Anaesthetist at the Trust, said: “This is a fantastic development not only locally but also for the wider NHS. By working closely with our partners at Hall Cross Academy we will not only further increase opportunities for students to embark on a hugely rewarding career in health, but also lay a promising and skilled foundation for the future of our local hospitals.”

By partnering with Hall Cross Academy, recently rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, the Trust hopes to further its commitment to providing the best learning experience for future NHS workers, across a variety of roles and professions.

The secondary school and sixth form, which is the closest in proximity to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, is widely credited for its science and performing arts departments, and educates around 2,000 students from one of the town’s most diverse backgrounds both culturally and socioeconomically.

Pippa Dodgshon, Principal at Hall Cross Academy, said: “I believe as a Foundation School for Health, we will be able to draw on the advice, expertise and guidance of the local NHS, creating and illuminating a clear and engaging pathway for pupils to follow in order to become a nurse, doctor or any other of the myriad opportunities in the health service. This is an incredibly exciting time, and, with the Trust, we cannot wait to get started.”