Starting conversations about dying is often not as hard as you may think. Every year, people around the country use Dying Matters Awareness Week as a moment to encourage all communities to get talking in whatever way, shape or form works for them. In 2023, Dying Matters Awareness Week will take place from 8th -14th May (** The dates of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2023 have changed due to the coronation).
This year HospiceUK are encouraging communities across the country to come together to talk about death, dying and grief in the workplace. The focus for the week is Dying Matters at work; but they do state if a different topic or theme works better for your event, that's fine too.
It’s important that we all know what it means for us and our loved ones to be in a good place to die – physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and crucially, with the right care and support in place.
However, we know that right now people are dying without the support they need.
Dying Matters Awareness Week, is a chance in schools to open up the conversation around death, dying and grief, remove the stigma that surrounds it and call for meaningful change so that everyone gets the quality end of life care they deserve.
Rally your friends, colleagues and community to join the Dying Matters movement. Get involved, and download their resource pack.
There are 16 episodes of the Dying Matters podcast, discussing everything from the importance of music at the end of life to tackling racism in palliative care, with guests including Dr Kathryn Mannix, actor Greg Wise, and Dr Rachel Clarke. View all "The Dying Matters Podcasts".
As part of the ongoing partnership between LGfL and Child Bereavement UK, the LGfL Child Bereavement Toolkit brings together a suite of support material for school communities to manage different aspects of bereavement within school communities.The toolkit features three separate but inter-related resources and case studies from schools who have used the resources:
This training tool has been developed to give staff in schools confidence to talk openly and honestly about death and grief with students to support their long-term wellbeing and management of grief throughout their lives.
Drawing on the vast experience of Child Bereavement UK (CBUK) and with video footage from school leaders within the LGfL community, this resource was developed as a tool for teachers in school to support children at this most difficult period in their lives. Alongside the short videos, there are also a range of guides for staff to use.
The topics include ideas for capturing memories; looking at the emotions and behaviours surrounding pupils' expressions of grief. There are also links to the CBUK website: lesson plans, supporting videos and book lists so that staff are able to provide support not just for the bereaved pupil but also to enable them to address the issue of death and grief across the curriculum.
The resource is broken down into the following topics:
Empowering teachers and professionals in education to support bereaved pupils. This comprehensive, free-to-access training tool has been developed for staff in schools, to increase their understanding, skills and confidence to support pupils and their families when they experience a bereavement. The resource was shortlisted for both the 2020 Bett and ERA awards and can be accessed here.
LGfL also partnered with Child Bereavement UK to produce a series of advice videos, guidance and links to support schools in Managing a Sudden Death in the School Community.
Grief is a normal and natural response to loss, yet how pupils are supported can have significant impacts on long term outcomes. Young people have told Child Bereavement UK that how their school responds is something they never forget. The resource aims to provide an accessible support gateway to the effective response to death within a school community. Simple, short guidance through quotes, external links and video interviews with experts helps provide the information schools need at the right time to ensure the whole school community can work together to support each other. Child Bereavement UK are experts in supporting schools within the context of bereavement within a school community. Through their work they have identified some of the key barriers in responding appropriately and quickly to the needs of those affected by a bereavement. By working in partnership with LGfL, this open access portal has been designed to bring the key information in both a video and text format with a quick and accessible interface.
There are two ways in which this resource has been designed to be used:
An accessible support gateway to the effective response to death within a school community. Simple, short guidance through quotes, external inks and video interviews with experts all help to provide the information you need at the right time to ensure the whole school community can work together to support each other. The Support Gateway includes the following topics:
The whole toolkit can be accessed here.
A key aspect of the support is the developing case study section found here where members of the LGfL school community explain how they used the resources to benefit their pupils and wider school community.
There are lots of resources to support schools with a Dying Matters Awareness Week and indeed in supporting children, parents and staff in the event of a death, we have listed them below and we hope that you find some of these helpful in supporting children, parents and staff in the event of a death.
Child Bereavement UK: The death of a pupil, a parent or a member of staff can have a significant impact on the school community. Schools have a unique role in helping grieving children and young people. Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement, and has a wide range of information, resources and training for schools. Their video campaign #onemoreminute; features celebraties talking about what they would say if you had one more minute:
Childhood Bereavement Network: Has key messages for staff, parents and young people and ideas of how to support any bereaved children within school.
Cruse Bereavement Care: Cruse offers face-to-face, telephone, email and website support including information on: what you can do to help a child or young person who is grieving, how to understand the concept of loss in children and young people of different ages, how to recognise potential complicated grief. They have a Freephone national helpline and local services, and a website (hopeagain.org.uk) specifically for children and young people.
The BBC: They have an excellent video 'Talking About Death With Your Little One' from Cbeebies that looks at the fact that when someone close to you dies, there will always be some difficult questions asked by your little ones regarding death. The video shoes how one parent has learnt to talk openly about why 'Mummy' died, in a way that makes sense to his two young children.
Child Bereavement UK has a page of information for those who are supporting a young person with special educational needs and it covers topics such as: preparing for a death, after death, communicating the truth, understanding the concept of death, expressing grief and remembering the person who has died.
Beyond Words is a charity that aims ‘to empower people through pictures’. They offer a range of different products and services some of which are paid for but a wide range of resources are available to download for free. Some of the library of picture-based books include topics such as When Mum Died, When Dad Died and When Someone Dies. 'When Mum Died' is included in the Open Book Free Taster Pack.
Winston's Wish is a charity who have been supporting bereaved children and young people since 1992. Their website has a wealth of information and they offer support by phone and e-mail. They also have a page of resources designed to support learners with special educational needs and disabilities including a PDF pack of activities which can be used to support learners with additional needs to explore topics around bereavement.