Lucy Goodwin is a governor at Evelina Hospital School in London. Here, she shares her experience of being on the governing board of a school that’s based in a hospital building, providing children in hospital with an excellent education. 

“I’ve been a governor at Evelina hospital school for around a year. It’s a mainstream school but in a hospital building. It’s run by the council as a community special school and is inspected by Ofsted, but the pupils are all patients at the hospital.

I knew I wanted to be involved in education while maintaining my job as a lawyer. Becoming a school governor seemed like a good fit. It’s also an opportunity to give back to the community. The challenge of becoming a governor at a hospital school especially appealed to me and I was keen to find out more about how this works in practice. Since volunteering in the role, I feel like I’ve become more rounded and learnt about the education system.

Many of the children at the school are also undergoing serious medical treatment. It’s a challenge making sure they’re getting a good education while balancing treatment. The school works flexibly to meet their needs both in terms of healthcare and education.

My favourite part of being a governor is visiting the school and meeting the pupils. I’ve shadowed teachers on the wards before which is inspiring – you can see the difference it makes to the children.

Understanding how the school has to adapt to a hospital environment was something I was interested to learn more about. The school has to consider more than just education.

Being a governor at a special school is a different challenge to being a governor at a mainstream school. There are extra things to consider when supporting and challenging the school leadership. But it’s very rewarding – you have a real sense of giving back to the community.”