Addressing the bereavement needs of children in school : an evaluation of bereavement training for school communities

McManus, Elaine and Paul, Sally (2019) Addressing the bereavement needs of children in school : an evaluation of bereavement training for school communities. Improving Schools, 22 (1). pp. 72-85. ISSN 1365-4802

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    Abstract

    The role of schools in both educating children about loss and change and supporting bereavement experiences is emphasised, yet, school staff report low confidence in being able to support children when someone dies. This article reports on an evaluation of bereavement training that was offered to eight schools in Scotland and aimed to assist school communities to develop knowledge and confidence in engaging and supporting bereaved children. Pre and post questionnaires were used to measure the confidence, beliefs and values of 282 school staff that attended the training. Two focus groups were held for 6–18 months following the training to gain an understanding of the longer-term impact. Findings suggest that participants viewed bereavement support as part of their role and that a short and targeted bereavement-training programme can contribute to raising the awareness and confidence of school staff to respond to the needs of bereaved children.