Best Practice

When death happens: Bereavement in schools

To mark Children’s Grief Awareness Week, Alison Penny considers how schools can be better prepared to support young people who are coming to terms with the death of someone close

“I had to break the news to my form that a member of our class had died. I was devastated. They were too. I had little support to manage and was a new teacher. I have since fought for training, support and guidance but it’s still limited.”

Child Bereavement UK’s recent survey of more than 1,000 teachers (2018) found that while the majority had experienced a death within the school community, many felt ill-equipped to manage it.

Almost one in three respondents had experienced the death of a pupil at their school, and more than one in five had faced the death of a colleague. Almost three quarters reported that pupils they taught had been affected by the death of someone important.

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