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P-7  Empowering school staff to enable a balanced and healthy view of death, dying and bereavement throughout the school environment
  1. Sarah Popplestone-Helm
  1. St Richard’s Hospice, Worcester, UK

Abstract

The hospice received funding from the local Clinical Commissioning Group for a schools’ project. The aim was to empower school staff to support pupils in their grief whilst enabling a more balanced and healthier view of death, dying and bereavement.

The Family Support team consulted with local schools and bereaved families ascertaining what would help most. A programme of workshops was developed and rolled out to 16 schools. 159 staff attended over a two-year period. A resource pack was developed and given to each school.

Workshops were evaluated by a snap survey, responses were positive and requests for more training resulted in the hospice developing a formalised training day. The ‘One Step Beyond’ training was rolled out.

An increase in contact from schools was noted; i.e. The head teacher of a local primary school requested advice following the sudden death of a pupil. She described the distress of the pupils, parents, staff and of the wider community. Within 24 hours the hospice team had visited the head teacher. Support meetings were held with the head teacher on a one-to-one basis, group meetings with the parents and the staff, and the school was supported to provide an afternoon for the children where they were able to say goodbye through a variety of activities.

Feedback from the head teacher ‘When you find yourself supporting staff, pupils and parents who are struggling to understand unexpected events, nothing prepares you. I will be forever grateful for your understanding, compassion and practical suggestions.

This head teacher has agreed to be filmed talking through these points so that her experience encourages other schools to develop processes enabling staff to support pupils in their grief whilst enabling a more balanced and healthier view of death, dying and bereavement throughout the school environment.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work noncommercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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