Thinking about, planning and preparing in advance of a death in your setting will support you and your community well. Having a school bereavement policy will help should a sudden or tragic event occur. The websites on this page will help you in your planning and preparation.
Showing that you care about what has happened and how they are affected, and listening to their needs are some of the most helpful things you can do for a bereaved pupil. Even a simple acknowledgement (‘I was sorry to hear what happened…’) can make all the difference.
A group of bereaved pupils working with Seasons for Growth (Scotland) a CBN Subscriber, have come up with a list of suggestions for support. Your pupil may find some of these approaches helpful and printing off the list to discuss with them will help you to open up conversations with them and their family. Remember, however, that their needs will change and you may need to check that the support you are giving is still appropriate as time moves on. Your support will help, although it may not always appear so.
- Inform other teachers, especially supply teachers about my loss although I may not wish to talk to them about it. Keep this on record.
- Talk to me about what has happened. I may need more information, advice and education about loss.
- Arrange for me to get extra help with my work so I don't get behind, especially before exams.
- Realise that I have a lot on my plate. Try not to put the spotlight on me too much. I will participate when I can.
- Help me to cope by treating me the same as everyone else.
- Let me know about groups for children and young people who are also coping with loss and change.
- Ask me how I am feeling. It may not be obvious.
- Give me a note that allows me permission to leave class briefly, without having to explain myself if I feel overwhelmed.
- Understand that I will not 'get over it' or 'put it behind me' but with time I will learn to cope with all the changes.
- Give me extra encouragement for all the things I am managing to do and keep me in mind.
- Find a way of getting my attention back in class, without others noticing and making me embarrassed.
- Wait until I am ready to talk.
- Remember that I am still me, just feeling a bit lost at the moment.
- Help me to find new dreams of the future and make plans.