Grief is a difficult subject, says Graham Wilson, headteacher at Priory primary school, Hull
Course Lost for Words, by John Holland.
Provider Hull Learning Services
Venue LEA centre, Hull. Autumn 2001.
How did you find out about it?
Through an LEA circular.
It promised ways of developing support for children during periods of loss.
I hadn't had problems with bereavement, but was seeing an increasing number of children being affected by marriage break-ups.
Did it deliver?
It took us through how children experience loss of all kinds - even that of a favourite toy - and offered strategies for supporting them.
Highs and lows
It brought home that when a couple split up they get support from health professionals, their workplaces, and so on, but the children get nothing. I realised it was important for schools to be properly trained and aware.
Parts of the course touched on difficult personal experiences, but we could take a walk and gather our thoughts if it got tough.
Message, motto or mantra
Children grieve as much as adults. Don't push it under the carpet, but find ways for them to express their grief.
After talking about the theories of loss, we worked in small groups in a practical way, developing a potential policy for school and ways of linking with home and parents. We used our own experiences as a basis for looking at various needs.
Has it made a difference?
I worked on it in school quickly, using the resource pack to structure a full school Inset. All our teachers have become much more confident and effective at dealing with loss.
Coming your way?
Individual teachers can attend seminars, or whole-school sessions can be arranged. There's also a stand-alone written training programme (pound;35). Tel: 01482 613390.