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NameProgramme/ Workshop
Beste Manuela
(Great Britain)
05.11.2010 14:00 - 14:45 - Klinikum Schwabing

For the Best 2009 - colla-boration school - theatre

About Speaker

Manuela Beste has been headteacher of the Hospital School at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in Central London since 2007.  Prior to this, she was headteacher for ten years of the Royal Free Hospital Children’s School in north London. Here she expanded the school to provide education for adolescents with mental health problems alongside children with life-threatening organic conditions.  She is particularly interested in the role education in general, and the creative and performing arts in particular, have to lay in supporting children’s emotional well-being, their ability to come to terms with their illness, their capacity to develop coping strategies and resilience in the face of very challenging treatment plans and the knowledge that they may not survive. Evelina Hospital School is interested in the holistic treatment of the child, and works closely with doctors, nurses, therapists and parents to support children’s physical and emotional well-being and their smooth transition back into their home school.

About lecture / workshop

FOR THE BEST 2009 was a year long collaboration between Evelina Children’s Hospital School, the Unicorn Theatre, primary schools and artists and performers in London, UK conceived by artist Mark Storor and produced by educationalist Anna Ledgard.  For the Best was largely funded through a Wellcome Trust Arts Award as part of a public engagement strategy to support projects that aim to inform and inspire the public about biomedical science and its social contexts.

The project provided a model of  interdisciplinary partnership and collaboration across multiple agencies including a hospital renal unit, a hospital school, a theatre, primary schools, artists, a film maker and performers from a range of disciplines.  The project has had a number of profound outcomes for participating children and families, their peers in primary schools, bio-medical and education professionals and the general public audiences for the performance.

Key characteristics of the project:

  • Strong partnerships across health, arts and education sectors rooted in trusting dialogue and clearly agreed priorities
  • Clear educational objectives
  • Skilled artists and educators working in close partnership with teachers
  • An interdisciplinary arts process which acknowledged and valued the insights of the child illuminating their experiences and presenting them to a wider audience
  • a focus on individual testimony and autobiography as a means to articulate and make sense of experience

 Project Outcomes

  • Children with chronic illnesses in meaningful creative collaboration with their peers in mainstream schools
  • Enhanced relationship between hospital school and mainstream school of attending child
  • a 9 month arts residency  which explored children’s experiences in the form of music, poetry, drama and animation and shared them between groups of participants in hospital and mainstream schools.
  • An innovative site-specific performance in and around a theatre which told the children’s stories winning national recognition and 5* reviews in leading press and won the prestigious UK national theatre award for the best show for children and young people of 2009 (TMA Awards 2009- thereby bringing the challenges of life with renal failure to the widest possible audience
  • Meeting curriculum objectives for literacy and social and emotional aspects of learning within the context of a wider shared understanding of chidlren with medical needs
  • Engagement of parents and families in meaningful exchanges with school and hospital
  • The project provided a vehicle for debate and dialogue about the role of the arts in raising public awareness of illness through illuminating the patient experien

Head Teacher Manuela Beste will deliver a presentation, using video, audio and photographic footage of the project.  The presentation will touch on the key outcomes listed above which made this partnership project one of the most meaningful and memorable she has been involved with. There will be opportunity for discussions and questions.

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Schule in der Heckscher-Klinik


Förderverein Schule für Kranke München e.V.
Education and Culture DG
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.