New for 2024, LGfL is delighted to launch a new addition to the award-winning Child Bereavement Tool Kit produced in partnership with LGfL, Child Bereavement UK, and the LGfL community of schools.
'It's important to note that everybody grieves differently and there's no wrong or right way to do it. Children who have special educational needs may grieve in the same way as somebody who doesn't have additional needs, but there are some additional considerations. Some pupils may find it difficult to express their emotions. It might be that you're seeing their grief through some of their behaviour instead, it could be that they are relying more heavily on self-soothing behaviours or certain sensory needs that offer them comfort. So, each child's individual needs are really important, and I work one-on-one with each child because each child's needs do vary, and their understanding is different.' Rebecca Haycock - Education Development Co-ordinator, Child Bereavement UK
Since starting our partnership with Child Bereavement UK 2018, we have been conscious that there can be unique challenges to providing support for those working with SEND pupils; to help young people understand and manage their responses to death and grief. This resource aims to support all school community members, especially those who work closely with pupils with additional needs.
This new resource is a blend of video and text-based support with some useful Links to other resources provided in context throughout the structured portal which includes, but is not limited to:
Communication challenges including non-verbal pupils
Mental Health and well-being for SEND staff
Supporting life-limiting conditions
Understanding death and grief in a SEND context
Working effectively across different cultures and religious backgrounds within families.
'Staff members who may be working one-to-one with these pupils, can form very strong bonds, and it can naturally, they will grieve if something happens to them if they die, and that can be really difficult. Often, they feel that they're not entitled to grieve because, actually, it's not they're not family. However, they've built up this relationship with the pupil maybe over several years, which means that they will grieve. And having that grief acknowledged, having someone to talk to about their feelings is really important.' Tracey Bosely - Head of Education Sector Support, Child Bereavement UK
The resource features contributions from highly experienced headteachers and support staff from Highfurlong School in Blackpool and Oak View School in Epping Forest. They share their own experiences and offer some remarkable examples of how they have supported SEND pupils and their families involving both unexpected and anticipated deaths within their school communities.
These extraordinary case studies highlight the complexity and depth of sadness that some families endure. If we can help families, friends, and peers through these difficult circumstances, then pupils are much more likely to resume their own lives positively and productivity with joy and happiness even within difficult contexts.
The resource is available now and is open to anyone to view and use to help the school communities they serve, whether in SEND Specialist provision or mainstream settings.
'You may worry about getting upset in front of a pupil, but that's not the worst thing. As long as you talk through your emotions with that pupil, please make sure you go and have a conversation and get some support afterwards. It can be a really powerful experience for both parties in the way that you would be working with that young person and helping them to articulate their understanding of death and express their emotions. You are in turn doing the same, and this can be a really helpful part of the grieving process' Rebecca Haycock - Education Development Co-ordinator, Child Bereavement UK
The resource can be viewed via: https://sendbereavement.lgfl.org.uk/