Bereavement, loss and grief

Guidance Notes

We have compiled a ‘Bereavement, Loss and Grief’ collection of guidance notes that aims to provide parents, carers and school staff with information to help them understand and support any bereaved child or young person.

Guidance 1 - Developmental age and understanding

When supporting a child or young person it is important to take into account factors including their age and current developmental stage, the age they were when the bereavement occurred and more.

The ages and stages detailed in this note are a guideline and it is essential you take into account an individual’s specific needs when using them as a guide.

Guidance 2 - Information for Parents/Carers: How to support your child with bereavement, loss and grief

Your child may react in different ways to the news that someone has died. In the next few days, and maybe for longer, you may notice a range of behaviours, including feelings, physical symptoms, anger, separation difficulties, sudden thoughts, sleep disturbance, difficulty talking, feeling afraid, denial and guilt. All of these behaviours are normal reactions to hearing about a death.

This note sets out what you can do to help, what you should say, describes the grieving process and provides pointers to further support resources.

Guidance 3 - Information for School Staff: How to support children and young people with bereavement, loss and grief

It is important that we remember that ‘all behaviour is communication’. In the next few days, and maybe for longer, they may communicate their many different feelings through a range of behaviours. 

This note describes some possible ways to help a bereaved child or young person, and what to say.

Guidance 4 - Information for School Staff: Staff Support and Self Care

Staff health and wellbeing is paramount when you are supporting children and young people who are experiencing bereavement and loss. This note describes a number of steps that can be taken to avoid staff becoming overburdened or distressed.

Guidance 5 - Bereavement during COVID-19

During this time of isolation some families will experience the death of a loved one. It may be due to COVID-19, or it could be completely unrelated. This note also provides additional guidance on grieving during these exceptional times, including on funerals, creating a sense of connection, maintaining memories and considers some of the ways COVID-19 may impact on us. 

Download Bereavement Guidance Notes