Best Practice

Top 10 tips for... Supporting bereaved pupils

All primary schools will have to support children who have experienced loss and bereavement. Dr Pooky Knightsmith offers some ideas and advice


Many people express fear at the idea of supporting a child who has experienced a significant loss or bereavement and feel this should be the realm of the specialist.

While in some cases a child may need specialist input, in most cases death and grieving is a very natural and normal process and most adults are very capable of supporting children and young people at this difficult time. Here are a few pointers to help build your confidence and ideas.


1, Say it simply

When it comes to death and dying, as adults we seem to go to incredible lengths to avoid saying what we actually mean. The use of idioms and euphemisms can be confusing for children of all ages and abilities, but especially for those with SEN or younger children. It sends a strong message that death and dying is not something we talk about. This can make the topic seem off-limits at the very moment when a young person most needs to talk about it.

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