Tuesday, 17 May 2022
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Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Hospice offers bereavement training to primary schools to help grieving pupils

DERBYSHIRE charity, Treetops Hospice, is offering local primary schools training and advice on how to support bereaved pupils.

The training helps teachers and school support staff to better understand how 5 to 11-year-olds comprehend death, how to recognise common reactions to a bereavement, and how to support children when a loved one dies.

Treetops Therapeutic Services Manager and Head of Children’s Services, Jules Kirk, explained more:

“We know how difficult the last eighteen months has been on the younger generation. Being in and out of isolation, not having family and friends around, and being unable to say goodbye at funerals, has all had a detrimental effect on how children and young people have coped after the death of a loved one.

“Schools are seeing these effects in their pupils too and want to do more to help as a front line of support, so we’ve introduced this new training to address this head-on.”

All children respond to, and understand death, in their own unique way, explains Jules.

“How a child experiences grief depends on many factors, not just their age. Their reactions can be affected by their cognitive ability, emotional literacy, wider family and social dynamics, and their culture and beliefs.

“In our training, we explain what children believe about death at different ages. Younger children have a limited concept of time, for example, so they often view death as a temporary absence of that loved one. Older children understand that death is irreversible but sometimes believe that the person who died can still see or hear them.

“We’re upskilling staff to recognise these reactions in their pupils and give them the skills and confidence to help children in a safe and appropriate way. We also suggest ways in which the wider school can help such as what policies a school may benefit from.”

The Lanes School in Beeston, Nottinghamshire is one of the first schools to sign up to the training. Elaine Allcoat, leading teaching assistant explained why it is invaluable:

“Schools play an important part in every child’s life and in supporting the key events that affect their lives.

“Supporting pupils after any trauma including bereavement is a vital part of our job. We don’t want to ‘get it wrong’ because it is so important. The training really gave us confidence and guided us in how to tackle these difficult situations.

“The Treetops staff helped make talking about a difficult subject easier to cope with and the whole session was interactive and felt personal. We’d recommend other schools take up this opportunity.”

The Treetops bereavement training is available to primary schools across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Schools interested in finding out more should contact the Treetops Counselling and Emotional Support team on 0115 949 6944 or email therapy@treetopshospice.org.uk. Further information can also be found on the Treetops website: www.treetops.org.uk

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