The Johannesburg Hospital School dates back to 1923, when a group of volunteers visiting sick children in the wards recognised a need for these children to continue their education. For many decades, volunteers ran the school informally. However, the Department of Education took over in 1960, appointing qualified teachers in a small but dedicated facility.
The school is located inside the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, on the 9th floor of yellow block 292. It enables over 100 children from Grade R to Grade 12 to complete their schooling, in line with the national curriculum. Many of these young learners are admitted to hospital with terminal and long-term illnesses, remaining in hospital for many months at a time in order to undergo medical treatments such as chemotherapy, kidney dialysis and organ transplants. At Charlotte Maxeke they can obtain the medical treatment they need, while continuing with their education.
In 2004, to our utter delight, the first Grade 12 learner successfully completed her matric exams – evidence that uninterrupted schooling can be provided successfully to children in hospital.
In 2005, Professor Lorna Jacklin, a leading paediatrician and neurodevelopmental specialist, approached our school principal to investigate the possibility of extending the school’s mandate to assist autistic and visually-impaired children. This led to the establishment of the second school at the CMI campus in Braamfontein. This facility has grown tremendously over the years, and is now the single-largest school in South Africa catering specifically for the needs of autistic learners.
In 2008, with Medscheme’s financial support, the hospital school underwent extensive renovations. Additional classrooms were built, along with a computer centre and a special playground that caters for the special needs of the school’s learners.