Winston’s Wish are offering free online bereavement training and a new bereavement policy template to help schools that are now having to manage death on a large scale due to coronavirus.
With 39,904 Covid-19 mortalities to date, it is highly likely that many teachers and pupils will be returning to schools having experienced a bereavement. This may be someone in a pupil’s family or friendship group who has died, or someone within the school itself, such as a teacher, caretaker, dinner lady, or even another pupil.
With some schools having reopened on 1 June to more pupils, demand for bereavement support is at an all-time high.
“The demand from teachers and school leaders, looking for support in managing bereavement when schools re-open, has never been so high,” said Suzie Phillips, head of clinical governance and professional development at Winston’s Wish.
“Concerns we are hearing range from ‘how do we tell the children that their teacher has died from Covid-19’, to ‘how can we safely support a grieving child in line with social distancing regulations’. These trainings and resources will provide essential support to school staff handling bereavement, as they plan to return from lockdown.”
The demand from teachers and school leaders, looking for support in managing bereavement when schools re-open, has never been so high
Winston’s Wish – a UK charity that provides bereavement support to children, young people and the adults who support them – has firstly produced two online courses, aimed at both primary and secondary schools. The first course is an introduction to childhood bereavement and the second course explains some of the ways supporting adults can help.
In partnership with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the charity has also produced a new schools bereavement policy template that schools can download and adapt for their individual circumstances.
This will allow schools to develop their own policy that will support children, families and staff when a death in the school community has occurred and in doing so to be aware of, and sensitive to, individual, family, cultural and religious factors that influence people’s responses to both death and suicide.
It is recommended that all education settings have a bereavement policy that will enable appropriate and effective responses to be made in the event of a death within the school community.
James Bowen, director of policy at NAHT, said: “Over the last few months, over 37,000 people have tragically lost their lives to coronavirus. This means that pupils and school staff will have lost grandparents, parents and even members of their own school community. We know that schools will have a vital role to play in supporting these pupils and their families.”
Teaching professionals looking for further advice about bereavement issues within the school community are advised to call the Winston’s Wish Freephone National Helpline on 08088 020 021, or visit the dedicated schools hub on the website at winstonswish.org/schools
Bereavement training: https://www.winstonswish.org/bereavement-training-courses-schools/
Policy template: https://www.winstonswish.org/schools/