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In January 2022, we were really proud to team up with The UK Commission on Bereavement to support them in their work and to ask our children how they felt about the teaching of loss and bereavement in schools.
Meeting them, we were able to better understand the issues surrounding this very sensitive topic, and to take a steer from them in the direction our resources should go. We were also able to connect our children with their surveys, so they could be directly heard by the Commission.
On October 6th, their full report Bereavement is Everyone's Business was published and widely acknowledged, including our friends at The National Children’s Bureau People should talk more about grieving you , it’s normal you know. (We have been working alongside their Anti-Bullying Alliance for the past 3 years in supporting Anti-Bullying Week.)
"We think it's something you should be able to talk about with grownups at school, but some people don't feel comfortable to teach it as a whole class lesson and share personal feelings." Primary school, Rutland
"Everyone deals with loss so differently that adding this to the curriculum would simply be ticking a box - more support should be available in school to help with this." Secondary school, North Yorkshire
"If it is going to be taught, it should be taught when children are young, because losing someone can happen at any point in a child's life - not just high school or college. It would help to be prepared and for this topic to be freely discussed, not taboo." College, West Yorkshire
Interestingly, young people were divided on whether learning how to cope with loss and bereavement should be included on the curriculum and each age bracket hovered relatively closely to a 50/50 split. Grief is an extremely sensitive topic to discuss and the lack of a clear result from our student's votes reflects that sensitivity.
Better access to resources, support for student mental health and more school funding for counsellors and specialists were all ideas put forward by those students who weren't convinced that lessons in coping with loss and bereavement were the best way forward.
We cover many sensitive topics that teachers find hard to address, but this one was particularly well received by the teachers and children alike and they were rewarded with some great feedback to their votes and comments.
See below to hear from Dame Sarah Mullally, who is the Bishop of London and Chair of the UK Commission on Bereavement, about her thoughts on the vote results and comments. She also gives an update on what the Commission are going to do next with the information and thoughts that were shared with them.
See below to hear from Tracey Boseley, who is the National Development Lead for the Education Sector for Child Bereavement UK.
Head of Communications and Marketing at Winston's Wish
Project Leader for Listening People from At A Loss