Background A parent dies every 20 minutes in the UK leaving dependent children behind (Childhood Bereavement Network, 2022). This means that the majority of educational settings are supporting grieving children on a regular basis. Preventative measures for bereaved pupils can help reduce the risks of negative outcomes (Internal survey, 2021). The three local hospices are frequently contacted for advice and many teachers report feeling anxious about how to support bereaved children.
Aims To raise awareness of the importance of consistent and effective bereavement support in educational settings. Support educational settings to develop a bereavement policy. Increase educational settings’ confidence in supporting bereaved children.
Methods An online survey completed by 25 schools; an unmet need was identified as only 20% reported having a bereavement policy (Childhood Bereavement UK. Summary research report: Improving bereavement support in schools. 2018). As a result, the three hospices worked in collaboration developing training for educational settings across Worcestershire. Delivered over two virtual workshops and attended by five settings, the training provided guidance on creating a bereavement policy and its benefits. It introduced the idea of having an educational bereavement lead. Topics covered included; perspectives of bereaved children, educational settings’ responsibilities, introduction of bereavement leads and staff resilience.
Results The attendees completed an evaluation form and reported that the training has encouraged them to develop a bereavement policy and increased their confidence.
“We will write a bereavement policy and feel more confident how to deal with situations that might arise.”
“Makes you think out of the box.”
“Needs to be more training around this subject.”
“We will put a policy together specifically adapted for our setting.”
Conclusions The training was well received by the educational settings attending the workshops and evidenced that training in this area is needed. Further training sessions on the development of a bereavement policy in educational settings will be rolled out and will be offered both virtually and face-to-face.
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