Key Points – A pupil’s understanding of death

  • A bereaved child or young person continues to grieve for life.
  • As they grow up, bereaved pupils may need to revisit the circumstances of a death and/or their feelings with a more mature outlook and a greater understanding. This can stir up their feelings of grief, and may raise difficult questions, even if the bereavement was many years earlier.
  • The use of the word “dead” and a clear biological explanation is very important as euphemisms can cause confusion and anxiety in children.
  • All children and young people have a right to have their grief recognised, to hear the truth and have their questions answered honestly in age-appropriate language.

Time to reflect

What do you think the impact will be on a 16 year old…

  • Bereaved six months ago?
  • Bereaved when they were 2 years old?
  • Bereaved when they were 11 years old?

What do you think the challenges might be for a bereaved pupil…

  • Transitioning to further/higher education?
  • Starting their first job?
  • Becoming a parent?
  • Facing another bereavement?