Grief encounter

30th March 2007 at 01:00
Who went?

Gill Rice, PSHE co-ordinator at Queen's Croft School in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

What was it?

Managing Bereavement in School, run by Creative Education, which specialises in teacher-training courses.

What did it do?

It looked at how schools should react if one of their pupils dies. And how schools can help children following the death of a parent or family member.

Why go?

We had a number of children we felt had not properly come to terms with their feelings - and there can be a long waiting list for professional help. We want to be a caring school that actively supports its pupils.

Message, motto or mantra?

Grief is a natural response to death. It can even be healthy and healing.

Handouts or hands on?

Lots of discussion. We were quite a small group so there was time to deal with specific situations relating to each of our schools. One teacher had a terminally-ill child in her class and we looked at how she should handle that.

Something I liked There was advice on establishing a school policy on bereavement. If there is an accident on a school trip, for example, the situation will be enormously stressful. You need clear procedures in place.

Something I learned You cannot impose your own values. There is no right or wrong way to react to death and you have to allow for cultural differences.

Has it made a difference?

We have written a policy document and briefed all staff. We also set up a weekly counselling session for pupils who want to talk.

The verdict?

It is hard to believe a course about bereavement could be fun - but it was

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