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Children mature at different rates and their understanding and responses to bereavement are likely to be based as much on their experience of life as on their chronological age. As they grow older, young people may need to look again at the details surrounding the death of an important person. Feelings they had when young will be different several years further on as their understanding matures and the meaning of the death changes as they move through life. This is not unresolved grief but the experience of different feelings later in life, often connected to major life events such as switching classes, moving up to senior school or other significant change.
It is important to remember that young people will be grieving for life and the loss will always be with them.
People are often at a loss as to know what to say or do to help a student who has been bereaved by the death of someone important to them. Every situation is different, and young people will be affected to a greater or lesser degree, dependent on the circumstances of the death and the nature of the relationship they had with the person who has died.
Most grieving children and young people do not need a ‘bereavement expert’ they need people who care. Schools, just by carrying on with their usual day-to-day activities while being aware of the bereavement, can do a huge amount to support a grieving pupil.
Bereaved young people in secondary school need the stability of a familiar routine with caring adults.
Information and support for a bereaved family with a pupil in secondary school.
Supporting a bereaved child can be emotionally draining and it is important to recognise when you need some help.
A school with a bereavement policy is prepared and has plans in place to deal with death, grief and bereavement. This applies to supporting a bereaved pupil or member of staff as well as reacting to a critical incident or tragedy, such as the death of someone within the school community.
An information pack for schools supporting bereaved pupils in secondary schools - loss, death and grief. The pack contains a series of A4 fact sheets, offering guidance, support and information when a death occurs in the school community or when a school is facing an expected death. Can be Downloaded free of charge.
Books can be used to introduce death and grief to young people.
By choosing books suitable for individual circumstances, they can also be used to help bereaved pupils to feel less alone and make sense of confusing and overwhelming emotions.