Coping with Bereavement

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September 21, 2016 by dragonflytraining

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Every year we train over 7000 professionals, helping them to better understand and meet the needs of grieving families.

Their vision is for all families to have the support they need to rebuild their lives, when a child grieves or when a child dies.

Their mission is to ensure the accessibility of high quality child bereavement support and information to all families and professionals by increasing our reach and plugging the gaps that exist in bereavement support and training across the country and embedding standards in the sector.

The charity has experience in delivering the following direct services at a growing number of locations across the country:

  • Individual, couple and family support sessions
  • Parents’ support groups for baby and child death and support through a subsequent pregnancy
  • Children and Young People’s groups (CHYPS) for children to attend with adult carers
  • A Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) for bereaved young people up to age 25


Dragonfly Training and Child Bereavement UK have teamed up together to create a course:  Facing Up to Bereavement.

Figures published by the Childhood Bereavement Network indicate that 40,000 children aged between 5 and 16 are bereaved of a parent each year in the UK, around 3,000 children and young people between the ages of 1 and 19 die as a result of illness or accident, and 1 in 29 children have experienced a recent bereavement. Yet bereavement and grief, in many schools, can be a taboo subject; even though, at some stage in their lives, all pupils will face bereavement and loss. Children and adults who have thought about loss, death and dying tend to cope better than those who have not.

Facing Up to Bereavement considers how to prepare staff and pupils, how to deal with a death in the school community and where support can be found. Every death is unique and there are no hard and fast rules about what to do; but being aware of general principles and the emotional journeys likely to be evoked provides a foundation to work from.

The course aims to

  • Suggest ways to handle a bereavement
  • Provide a theoretical overview of how primary and secondary pupils may react to loss
  • Look at ways of supporting a grieving pupil
  • Explore the importance of preparing children before a bereavement happens
  • Explain what should be included in a school bereavement framework
  • Raise awareness of useful resources and support organisations

This course is suitable for both Primary and Secondary School Teachers.

The course is run by our trainer Heather Butler. Heather Butler is a teacher with over 30 years’ experience and also a writer, her most recent publications being Literacy in Action: Football, Classroom Literacy Games, Helping Children Think About Bereavement (all published by Routledge) and her debut novel, Us Minus Mum (Little, Brown 2014), which was long listed for the Carnegie Medal and received an award from the UK Literacy Association. She has had stories broadcast on BBC Schools Radio and fulfilled writer-in-residences including an extended Creative Partnerships residency in Tower Hamlets where 97% of the pupils spoke English as a second language.

For fifteen years, while still teaching part-time, she built up a highly successful consultancy delivering whole school writing days and INSET, modelling creative and kinaesthetic ways to engage and excite young writers, especially reluctant and less able children. Her style is energetic, enthusiastic, interactive and always includes laughter. She led workshops on Helping Boys Write Better Stories at National Association of Writers conferences and accepted invitations to visit schools in Poland, Croatia and America. Working with a charity offering teacher training in developing countries, she is currently preparing for a trip to Nepal.

Over the years, Heather has supported several children who were bereaved of a close family member. Each time she learned more about the grieving process and gained insights about how schools can better help children and their families through this difficult time. She has written school bereavement policies and is involved with the charity Child Bereavement UK, leading workshops at their national schools’ conference and receiving a Champions Award from them in 2015. Heather was privileged to be part of a team visiting Croatia to train and support adults from around the world working with young people traumatised by war.

Please click here taking you to Radio 4’s website where Heather Discusses on air coping with bereavement.

You can also click here to book your space on to our brand new course which will help teachers support their student going through bereavement.




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