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Developing A School Bereavement policy and procedures

Being able to rely on a planned response, rather than having to improvise in the heat of the moment, can reduce some of the inevitable stress and anxiety when a school is faced with a death in the community.

Your procedures should cover

  • How the school will respond to different scenarios (e.g. the expected or actual death of a pupil; of a parent, sibling or someone else important in a pupil’s life; of a staff member; a major incident)
  • Who will be responsible for communicating with the family and offering them choices
  • How information will be managed in the school (including how students, staff and parents/carers will be told about what has happened, and how information will be transferred at the end of the year)
  • Who will be responsible for dealing with the media, if relevant
  • How ongoing support will be provided to bereaved pupils, both within the school and from external organisations.

Your local child bereavement service may be able to help you develop your bereavement procedures. Making contact with them will also help your school to know how to access additional support for pupils who need it.

Alternatively, schools packs from the following organisations can help you to develop your procedures:

Child Bereavement UK: Schools Information Pack

Glasgow City Council & NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde: A Whole School Approach to Supporting Loss and Bereavement

Grief Encounter: Supporting children through bereavement

Penhaligon's Friends: Remember Me

SeeSaw Grief Support for the Young in Oxfordshire: Schools Pack

Winston's Wish: Guide to supporting grieving children and young people in education