A SCHOOL for young patients at Oxfordshire's hospitals has celebrated its 100th birthday.

Oxfordshire Hospital School, believed to be the oldest in the UK, helps educate ill patients staying at the Oxford Children’s Hospital at the John Radcliffe Hospital and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, as well as the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

Classes are also held alongside Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust at the Highfield Adolescent Unit, at Helen & Douglas House and in community settings.

The school, which was rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2017, teaches children and young people aged four to 19 who are unable to attend their home school due to a wide range of medical and mental health needs.

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It was created in 1920 on the site of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, then known as the Wingfield Hospital. Original teaching manuals show there were only 14 pupils and lessons largely took place outside when the school first started, while today up to 1,000 children a year are taught across the county.

Steve Lowe, headteacher of the Oxfordshire Hospital School, said: “Being the head as the school turns 100 years old is a total honour. Reflecting on the work that the staff have done at the school and the achievements made by its pupils over 100 years is incredibly humbling.

"There’s no doubt it’s an unusual time to celebrate this centenary, and of course we are disappointed that we can’t have a proper face to face party. But it’s important we come together – albeit virtually – to mark this special occasion."

He added: “The staff and pupils that we have today are a particularly special group of people who have all shown so much determination and resilience to keep the school going in recent months; an achievement that could not have been realised without the support of our friends and colleagues at the hospitals and support services with which we work.”