Why support is needed

Experiencing bereavement in childhood is immense and means life will never be the same again. Grief impacts on concentration, learning and achievement (Childhood Bereavement Network 2015). Education providers have an opportunity to support children and young people in their grief; however, many teachers and education professionals are unsure of how to do that. Research shows that 89% of teachers had received no bereavement training during Initial Teacher Training or subsequent professional development (Child Bereavement UK 2018).

  • A parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK; around 23,600 a year. This equates to around 111 children being bereaved of a parent every day.
  • 1 in 29 5-16 year-olds has been bereaved of a parent or sibling - that's a child in every average class.

Bereavement can disadvantage children and young people on many levels:

  • For all young people experiencing a significant bereavement there is the potential for both short and long-term consequences, particularly where general resources (personal, social and material) are low, or other stressors are high. Ribbens McCarthy 2005
  • A bereaved child’s grief journey is particularly vulnerable to the help or lack of help provided by significant adults in the child’s life. Wolfelt 2013

Outside of their home, their nursery / school / college / University is often the most important consistent influence on the development of children and young people. There are therefore significant opportunities to promote resilience and wellbeing. Child Bereavement UK’s mission is to ensure the accessibility of high-quality child bereavement support and information for families and professionals.

Research: Click here for information on research report, 'Improving Bereavement Support in Schools, funded by the True Colours Trust

Child Bereavement UK offers education providers:

  • A national helpline providing confidential support, information and guidance to families and professionals. Our helpline team is available to take calls and respond to emails 9am-5pm Monday-Friday 0800 02 888 40 [email protected]
  • Live chat via our website is available 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • A dedicated section on our website for the education sector – Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Further/Higher Education.
  • Training for education professionals with the following courses dedicated to those working within the education sector: 
  • Schools – an introduction to grief and bereavement (90 minute webinar). An overview of bereavement for any professional working in school, nursery or educational setting
  • Having honest conversations about death and grief in schools (90 minute webinar). Explore opportunities to have open discussions about death and grief in schools, with resources and guidance for staff to inform, empower and build confidence
  • Supporting bereaved pupils and managing grief in schools (3-hour interactive online workshop). Consider the benefits of developing a bereavement aware culture within school and the resources needed to create a ‘bereavement tool kit’.

Or contact us [email protected] to ask about bespoke training for your school.

  • Online resources for schools -  comprehensive, free-to-access resources developed by Child Bereavement UK in collaboration with the London Grid for Learning.
  • ‘Elephant’s Tea Party’ – a free initiative for primary and KS3 pupils which provides lesson plans, activity ideas and hints and tips on how to run a short bereavement awareness programme for pupils to decrease the taboo in talking about death and dying and increase emotional resilience.
  • Managing bereavement: A guide for schools - A complete downloadable guide to bereavement for schools/educational settings
  • School liaison support for specific children who are accessing support from Child Bereavement UK in Buckinghamshire, London, Milton Keynes, Cheshire, East Wirral, Manchester, Cumbria, Bradford, Middlesbrough, Glasgow and across Scotland.
  • Child Bereavement UK has a dedicated Education Support and Development Team.