Supporting bereaved pupils and teaching about loss and bereavement can be very rewarding, but can also be challenging for staff who may be worried about saying the wrong thing, or coping with their own losses.
Training and support increases staff understanding of bereavement in childhood and their knowledge of practical ideas for offering support, complementing their existing skills in working with children and young people. This increases their confidence and prepares them to respond appropriately to the diverse needs of bereaved children and families, including making referrals to childhood bereavement services whose staff will have had more in-depth training.
A particular bereavement often triggers a search for such training but staff in this situation often report that it would have been useful to have had the training before the event. Include anyone from whom bereaved children and their families might seek support, such as teachers, lunchtime supervisors, early years practitioners, learning mentors and office staff.
Many local and national child bereavement services provide twilight sessions or induction days to staff as well as training days. Making contact with them will also help your school to know how to access additional support for pupils who need it. Your local authority Critical Incident Response Team may also be able to provide training. In England, training in loss and bereavement is being rolled out in Autumn 2020 to help schools support children and young people bereaved during the coronavirus outbreak, as part of the Wellbeing for Education Return programme.
See also our events page for training offered by our members.