We are offering primary schools training on how to support bereaved pupils. The training helps staff better understand how children comprehend death and how to support children when a loved one dies.
We understand how difficult the last eighteen months has been on the younger generation. Being in and out of isolation, not having family and friends around, and being unable to say goodbye at funerals, has all had a detrimental effect on how children and young people have coped after the death of a loved one.
Schools are seeing these effects in their pupils too. We wanted to do more to help as a front line of support, so our new training addresses this head on.
All children respond to, and understand death, in their own unique way. Jules Kirk, our Therapeutic Services Manager and Head of Children’s Services explained more:
How a child experiences grief
“How a child experiences grief depends on many factors, not just their age. Their reactions can be affected by their cognitive ability, emotional literacy, wider family, their culture and beliefs.
“In our training, we explain what children believe about death at different ages. Younger children have a limited concept of time, for example. So they often view death as a temporary absence of that loved one. Older children understand that death is irreversible. But they sometimes believe that the person who died can still see or hear them.
We’re upskilling school staff to recognise these reactions in their pupils and give them the skills and confidence to help children in a safe and appropriate way.
The Lanes School in Beeston, Nottinghamshire is one of the first schools to sign up to the training. Elaine Allcoat, leading teaching assistant explained why it is invaluable:
Supporting pupils after any trauma including bereavement is a vital part of our job. We don’t want to ‘get it wrong’ because it is so important. The training really gave us confidence and guided us in how to tackle these difficult situations.
“The Treetops staff helped make talking about a difficult subject easier to cope with and the whole session was interactive and felt personal. We’d recommend other schools take up this opportunity.”