Little Luke who lost his arms and legs benefits from Sheffield hospital teaching

A little boy who lost both his arms and legs after contracting a nasty disease is benefiting from home schooling thanks to Sheffield Children’s.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 11:24 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 1:06 pm

As well as medical care, the hospital offers one-to-one lessons for patients and brings the normality of learning back into children’s lives during treatment.

The aim of the Becton School Hospital Teaching team is to engage children in learning and bridge the gap between hospital and school, to ensure they haven’t fallen behind their peers.

One of the patients to benefit was seven-year-old Luke Mortimer. Luke was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis back in December, which caused him to lose both his arms and legs.

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Luke and Caroline play the boardgame he designed

Luke’s story rallied his community, with more than £150,000 raised for his family to support his recovery. Before being able to go home last month, Luke underwent 23 operations in five months at Sheffield Children’s as clinicians worked to save his life.

It was during his time on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at Sheffield Children’s that Luke requested to take part in a few lessons.

Mum Christine explained: “We didn’t know there was a school in Sheffield Children’s until we stayed on the ward. Luke loves school and really missed it even while undergoing treatment.

“We balanced it around how he was feeling. It’s also given Luke some structure to his days and something to look forward to.”

Luke's lessons began during his five-month stay at Sheffield Children's

Despite the coronavirus pandemic Luke’s lessons have been able to continue thanks to equipment funded by The Children’s Hospital Charity.

His teacher, Caroline Hague, said: “Like all other schools, we had to think out of the box and work out how we could support children who were still in hospital during this time. Last year, The Children’s Hospital Charity funded new laptops for all the teaching staff, so we can support children with their education, from typing up schoolwork to doing research.”

Mum Christine added: “Without the technology provided, continuing Luke’s lessons would have been impossible. It’s been a massive boost and we’ve been able to continue his learning as normal. It’s a huge weight lifted to know that, amongst this life-changing experience, with his education he can be like everyone else.”

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