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

Elaine McManus, Sally Paul

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    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-85
    Number of pages14
    JournalImproving Schools
    Issue number1
    Early online date2 Feb 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


    • bereavement training
    • childhood bereavement
    • hospice
    • public health approach
    • schools

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