Trust to launch landmark partnership with second ‘Foundation School in Health’ in UK

In less than two weeks, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) will launch their formal partnership with Retford Oaks Academy; soon-to-be the newest Foundation School in Health (FSiH) and only the second in the UK.

The event will take place in the Retford Oaks Academy Library on 12 October and commence at 2pm.

The partnership intends to develop opportunities and widen participation for pupils from the Bassetlaw area wishing to pursue a career in the health and care service.

This will see an increased involvement from the health and care workforce at the school, work experience and internship opportunities for pupils, as well as the appointment of ‘DBTH Career Champions’ within the Trust to support the range of proposed activities.

Jane West, Assistant Principal at Retford Oaks Academy, said: “We are so proud to be part of this exciting partnership and will relish the many opportunities that it offers to our students at Retford Oaks as well as all the students in Bassetlaw.

Retford Oaks Academy forms part of the Diverse Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust based in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

The Academy is one of 8 secondary schools in the local area of Bassetlaw, hosting pupils aged 11-18 years old.

“The Foundation School in Health status will ensure our students’ career aspirations are heightened.

“We pride ourselves on dedication and broadening everyone’s horizons – students, parents and the wider community. This brilliant development for our academy will maximise that vision.”

In October 2018, the UK’s first FSiH was introduced in partnership with Hall Cross Academy and DBTH. The partnership achieved many of its objectives set about prior to the pandemic and continued to inspire our young people in innovative ways during the pandemic.

The introduction of a work experience framework, and the ‘We Care into the Future’ Health and Care careers event for all Year 8s across the borough, are just some of the successful outcomes of the first Foundation School in Health partnership with Hall Cross.

Dr Alasdair Strachan, Director of Education and Research and Consultant Anaesthetist at the Trust, said: “We look forward to replicating the nationally recognised Foundation School in Health model in Bassetlaw with Retford Oaks Academy.

“The Health Foundation, NHS England and NHS Improvement have recognised this opportunity with funding to enable this project to develop at speed, ensuring students have the same opportunities to engage with the amazing employment opportunities in health and care.

“The partnership will enable this provision to be modelled specifically to the Bassetlaw students and allow sharing between the two Foundation Schools in Health.”

Start-up funding for the FSiH project has been supported by The Health Foundation and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

One of only six NHS anchor institutions chosen, the Trust were awarded an incredible £25,000 for the initiative.

Zoe Hunt, Health Related Learning Manager at Retford Oaks Academy, said: “It is a privilege to be involved in this partnership and to be able to collaborate and raise the aspirations of our students.

“We recognise the huge benefits created from the knowledge and exposure to the many different occupational pathways within the NHS, which in turn could positively impact the career prospects of our future generations.”

Employing 6,700 people, across 250 professions, both medical and non-medical, DBTH aims to be a transformational partner with other health and social care providers and to develop innovative strategies to widen participation across the range of its employment opportunities.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of Yorkshire’s leading acute trusts, hosting three main hospital sites and a number of additional services. The Trust serves a population of over 440,000 across South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, and surrounding area.

One of only six Teaching Hospitals in Yorkshire, the Trust trains a quarter of all medical students in the region and around 30% of all other healthcare professional students.

Kelly Turkhud, Vocational Education Manager at the Trust, said: “This partnership will enable us to continue to challenge the perceptions amongst our young people and ensure that careers in health and care are accessible to all, providing a ladder of opportunity for our young people to step onto and achieve their ambition”.