Now in its sixth year Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK, founded by leading childhood bereavement charity Grief Encounter, is designed to raise awareness of bereaved children and young people in the UK, and how providing those affected with free, professional support can make the world of difference to their future. Organisations and charities across the UK will be showing solidarity with grieving children, young people and their families in their community; raising awareness of their needs and how to help.
Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK runs from 19th – 25th November 2020 starting with Children’s Grief Awareness Day on 19th November 2020, a global day designed to help us all become more aware of the needs of grieving children — and of the benefits they obtain through the support of others.
This year, we have found ourselves in unprecedented times, experiencing isolation as a nation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 250,000 people across the UK will be affected by grief as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and faced with a multitude of extra challenges that social regulations have caused, including self-isolation and bereavement restrictions. Therefore this year more than ever, we need to focus on grieving children in our communities.
Current figures (which are expected to rise this year) show that 1 child in every UK classroom under the age of 16 has been bereaved of a parent or sibling and 44,000 children are bereaved of a parent annually in the UK.
The theme for the week is tackling isolation, and they are encouraging their member services, families and schools to help young people #SaytheWords and reach out for support.
Using LGfL Resources:
Drawing on the vast experience of Child Bereavement UK (CBUK) and with video footage from school leaders within the LGfL community, this resource has been 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 these include 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:
- Children’s understanding of death
- Managing grief
- The role of the school
- Death and grieving in the curriculum
- Taking care of yourself
- A pupil’s perspective
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:
- General Staff CPD – raising staff awareness.
- Use in time for need
The Support Gateway includes the following topics:
- The first 30 minutes
- Breaking bad news
- Supporting a bereaved family
- Supporting the school staff
- Traumatic deaths
- Social media and media relations
- Looking to the future
Video clips, information packs and external links are provided for staff to deliver comprehensive support, they include assembly plans as well as sample bereavement policies for schools to use and adapt.
There are lots of resources to support schools in dealing with grief within the school community, 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. They launched a video campaign #onemoreminute what would you say if you had one more minute:
Children’s Grief Awareness Day: Posters and fact sheets, suggestions for bulletin or newsletter announcements, and logos and other graphics are all available.
Childhood Bereavement Network: Has key messages for staff, parents and young people and ideas of how to support 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.
Supporting learners with SEND who have experienced a bereavement
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.
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.