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Ecole à l'hôpital: when teaching is part of healing

Summary : The "Ecole à l'hôpital" association (School at the Hospital) offers individual lessons at the hospital and at home for young patients aged between 5-25 years in Île-de-France.

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  • Start date : 1929
  • Implementation site : Ile-de-France
  • Budget : 500000 €
  • Source and details on funding : Private (Foundations) and public


  • Ecole à l'hôpital
  • 89 rue d'Assas
  • 75006 Paris
  • Employees : 21
  • Volunteers : 422


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  30/06/2015 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : High impact !
Solution(s) : Education Health
Country :  France, Île-de-France
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Pupil, students
  • Domain :  Health, Education, Training

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Taking Action together against dropping out of school » (2015)

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : Piat Joséphine , « Ecole à l'hôpital: when teaching is part of healing », **Journal RESOLIS** (2015)

Background to the programme

The "Ecole à l’Hôpital" association was created in 1929 by Marie-Louise Imbert, a philosophy teacher, in order to offer education to children who are hospitalised for long periods. She immediately received support from hospital doctors. The teaching allows young patients to keep a link with school and, for hospital doctors, is part of patient care as it allows them to imagine their future.
"Ecole à l’Hôpital" was recognised as a public interest organisation in 1978 and received the approval of the Ministry of Education in 1996. The association is a partner of National Education in some children's hospitals and paediatric services. The Ecole à l’Hôpital also intervenes at the homes of young patients in Ile-de-France.

Objectives of the programme

The objectives vary according to the needs and expectations expressed by the young person:
- Continue their education: the young person is hospitalised for a short time and does not want to interrupt their learning
- Make up for falling behind.
- Give the taste and desire to learn (especially for young people who are struggling and/or are in conflict with an educational institution)
- Maintain intellectual activity
- Avoid failure in school
- Bring the student back to their level after a long break
- Prepare for exams such as the Brevet and Baccalauréat
- Help to prepare a professional career

Implemented actions

Young students are trusted by hospital medical teams.
- The educational coordinator in the hospitals meet each young person trusted by the medical teams and establishes a school project with them. The time needed to deal with each person will vary depending on the illness, care and state of health of each young person. Each school coordinator organises the individual lessons through its team of volunteer teachers. At the end of each lesson, the teachers write a quick summary of the lesson which is given to each young person and does a recap with the educational coordinator.
- Throughout the school year, the association makes sure to offer its volunteer teachers training days, seminars, information meetings on educational or medical subjects.
- Finally, the association brings all its volunteer teachers together once a year on the Day of l’Ecole à l’Hôpital.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

In 2013-2014, 4, 113 young patients have received 20, 537 lessons given by 422 volunteer teachers in more than 40 hospitals in Ile-de-France as well as at young people's homes.

Original characteristics

- The principle of individual lessons enables the needs and expectations of each young person to be met precisely.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

- Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris
- Other hospitals in Paris and Ile de France
- Financial Partners
- Local and regional authorities
- Educational institutions


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

- Lack of volunteer teachers who struggle to commit to half day a week on a regular basis throughout the entire school year
- Lack of funding needed to expand the action, especially in private hospitals.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

- Roll out recruitment to universities, grands écoles, businesses and open up recruitment to participants who wish to get involved in a more "flexible" way (as opposed to committing half a day a week throughout the academic year).
- Put in place a policy of organisation and monitoring of volunteers that's more personalised and regular.
- Improve the approach to private funders.

Suggestions for future improvement :

- Make the mission and activities of the l’Ecole à l’Hôpital better known with funders, families and the general public.
- Provide the volunteer teachers with a digital tool to complement face to face interventions with students
- In respect of the programs, adapt and expand our pedagogy (stimulation, re-motivation, orientation, ...) and offer our teachers specific training.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

- The principle of individual lessons provides a "customised" response for each young student.
- The experienced volunteer teachers are able to adapt to each request.

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

History of educational management at the hospital
- In 1929, creation of the association l’Ecole à l’Hôpital in Paris and Lyon in 1930, whose mission is to enable young patients and accident victims to continue their education.
- From 1970: National Education created teaching posts in hospitals. l’Ecole à l’Hôpital continues its mission in partnership and as a complement to National Education.
- From 1980, health care protocols include the possibility for the child to return home faster or between treatments. For all that, the health of the young patients does not always allow a return to school.
- From 1990, l’Ecole à l’Hôpital has offered the continuation of lessons at home for these kids following on from lessons at the hospital.
- In 1998, the Ministry of Education created the Educational Assistance Service at Home (SAPAD). Since then, the continuation of lessons at home for these children is done in partnership with SAPAD.
The medical community is currently evolving with the development of units or services dedicated to adolescence in which l'Ecole à l'Hôpital is regularly called upon.

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