At break, a bereaved pupil is smiling and seems to be happily playing with friends. A few minutes later, during a maths lesson, the pupil becomes upset and needs a ‘time-out’.
- Children and young people tend to jump in and out of their grief. We sometimes call this “puddle-jumping”.
- Young people are not able to sustain long periods of grief and so will need time during their day to act normally and have some respite.
- Bereaved young people can put on a “mask” in school to appear “normal” particularly when they are with their friends.
- Concentration can be difficult for bereaved pupils.
- Seemingly innocuous activities within the classroom may have caused a memory to surface when it was not expected.
What might help:
- Allow the pupil some time to grieve in a safe space.
- Let the pupil know you are there for them, with no expectation for them to talk.
- Inform other members of staff.
- A little later, check to see if there was a specific trigger and if anything needs to be adapted as a result.
- Provide an opportunity to catch up with any significant work missed.
- Ensure the pupil has someone to check in with them later in the day.
- Identify whether any additional support or follow up is required.