Why should your school have a bereavement policy?

“It’s much easier to think about how to respond following a death in school if you’ve thought about it beforehand.”

A school with a bereavement policy is prepared and has plans in place to deal with death, grief and bereavement. This applies to supporting a bereaved pupil or member of staff as well as reacting to a critical incident or tragedy, such as the death of someone within the school community. As every school is different and every situation unique, the policy should be a flexible working document.

  • A policy acts as a ‘go to’ guide, which is particularly helpful when in shock or upset.
  • Be proactive rather than reactive and create a bereavement-aware culture.
  • Draft outlines of documents, such as templates of letters.
  • Collect resources to support bereaved pupils, other pupils, vulnerable staff, family/carers.
  • Designate roles. Who will communicate with the family, staff, pupils (if necessary) and the press (if required)?
  • Bear in mind access to social media and the indiscriminate spread of news