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Leadership webinar: child bereavement (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How can school leaders support their school community in instances of child bereavement?

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Deborah Leek-Bailey, founder of DLB Leadership Associates, adviser to the Secretary of State on school partnerships, and trustee of Child Bereavement UK.

    We will examine the key ways in which schools can understand the various stages of grief their pupils may be struggling with.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on October 18 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Deborah and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.


    1920x1080-leadership-video-still-v2.jpg


    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
     
  2. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi,

    Don't forget to submit your questions below ahead of tomorrow's webchat.

    Thank you.
     
  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi,

    Don't forget you can post your questions here for Deborah Leek-Bailey ahead of today's webchat or you can post them during the discussion which starts at 4.30pm.
     
  4. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webchat.


    The TES Leadership webchats give you the opportunity to put your questions to industry experts about key school management and operational issues.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member Deborah Leek-Bailey, founder of DLB Leadership Associates, adviser to the Secretary of State on school partnerships, and trustee of Child Bereavement UK, who will be available for the next hour to answer your questions.

    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.

    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.




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  5. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to this webchat on child bereavement. Joining me is Deborah Leek-Bailey OBE, founder of DLB Leadership Associates, an advisor to the Secretary of State on school partnerships and a trustee of Child Bereavement UK. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Thanks for joining us, Deborah.

    When bereavement occurs, what is the first thing a school should do to support the affected pupil(s): both directly and to the wider school community?
     
  6. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Schools should be sensitive to the unique situation that they find themselves in. They would be advised to consider assigning someone to liaise with the family, so that only one person is relaying information. Teachers can be a strong support to members of the family-they are trusted. some pupils will want their news to be shared but others may prefer privacy. The response of the family will determine how the school/peers are told. assemblies; tutor time are key. Following a school bereavement policy really helps in these situations. If there is likely to be media interest then the school needs to consider their crisis management arrangements too but always putting the needs of the bereaved family first.
     
  7. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Is there a pattern of how grief affects pupils?
     
  8. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    As we discussed in our webinar, there is no linear path to grief. Some pupils will feel anger, resentment, but their grieving will be influenced by their age and cognitive development. Children under 5, especially those who are pre-linguistic, may not understand the concept of death and its finality. They are likely to have many questions and possibly anxious about the possibility of other close family members dying. Sometimes they may regress in their behaviour, such as bed-wetting.
    Children within the 5-8 age range tend to have "magical thinking" whereby they believe that they can influence whether a person dies, and this is in line with developing a conscience. They also may fear the death of others.
    Children aged 8-12 tend to have a more adult concept of death and they start to comprehend their own mortality. They can become preoccupied at school and anxious, whereas those over the age of 12 have an adult concept of death and are becoming more aware of the issues surrounding death and the meaning of life. Anger expressed in antisocial ways. Some theorists suggest that grieving involves a number of tasks of adjustment including: facing the reality that someone has died; experiencing the pain of grief and adjusting to a new world and find an enduring connection with the person who has died.
    We really need to remember that for all of us, grief is a life long process.
     
    GovernorsNI likes this.
  9. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the signs the school community should watch out for which might be an indicator of a child particularly struggling with grief?
     
  10. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    • Some will lose focus and become withdrawn.
    • An A* pupil may drop grades and find it difficult to meet deadlines.
    • Some may become angry and act out in lessons.
    • There may be poor attendance and late arrival times.
    • increased levels of sickness.
    • Forgetfulness about bringing in P.E. kit etc and this may be because the adults at home have forgotten.
    • However others will excel at school because it provides a useful distraction from everything else at home.
    Bereaved pupils frequently wish to make the bereaved person proud.
    Just as with other safeguarding issues the most important factor to look out for is significant change.
     
    GovernorsNI likes this.
  11. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Do boys and girls react differently to grief?
     
  12. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Not necessarily, although there is some evidence to suggest that boys are slightly more prone to acting out, whilst girls tend to be overly good and may take on the role of a carer.Age and the relationship to the person who has died are the more significant factors.
     
  13. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Do bereaved children's classmates generally find it difficult to cope either out of concern or embarrassment?
     
  14. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    It will depend on the relationship that they have with the bereaved pupil. Older pupils tend to be more aware of situational factors but younger ones are often less inhibited and may therefore ask more questions, if there is the opportunity to do so. This is where schools can have a massive impact because through cross curricular links and PSHCRE they can guide pupils to express their views in a sensitive and appropriate manner, whilst ensuring clarity for all involved.
     
  15. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    If the death has been violent or involved suicide, is the approach to providing support a lot different?
     
  16. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    • Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to suicide contagion - copy cat suicide.
    • If they learn too much about the exact method and perceived reasons as to why a fellow pupil, or teacher died - particularly if they were close to them/or in similar circumstances, they may feel suicide is an option for them too.
    • Schools should be cautious about the amount of detailed information they provide in these circumstances, whilst ensuring the school community is aware of what has happened.
    • There needs to be a balance between remembering the pupil who died and a constant reminder of what has happened.
    • The 4-6 week period following a suicide ( an any anniversaries) is an especially vulnerable time for copy cat suicides.
    • CBUK can provide assistance to schools in talking through the best approach. The Samaritans "Step by Step" programme, has specially trained "postvention" advisors who can give detailed advice to schools in the aftermath.
     
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  17. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How many pupils are affected by bereavement each year?
     
  18. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    • Current figures suggest that 111 children are bereaved of a parent each day.
    • 92% of pupils will experience significant bereavement before the age of 16
    • Up to 70% of schools will have a bereaved pupil on their roll at any one time
    • 1/29 children is bereaved of a parent or sibling-that is one in every class.
     
  19. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Finally, do you think that schools as a whole are providing good enough levels of support?
     
  20. Deborah_Leek-Bailey

    Deborah_Leek-Bailey New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    I believe that schools genuinely care about all the pupils in their care but sometimes they are not as equipped as they can be to deal with all the ramifications that grief can involve. We have to remember that grief is an emotive subject and as adults we will have likely experienced some form of it. Therefore being prepared by engaging in bereavement training, having Bereavement and crisis management policies and effective pastoral programmes will assist in addressing the needs of pupils objectively and with the pupils needs at the core.
    Training will give teachers the confidence that they need to deal with the complex issues surrounding grief. Currently many teachers have no training but what we do know is that such a caring profession often provides coping strategies and support to young people at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives.. Teachers can make a huge difference and families often remark that they would not have survived the trauma of bereavement without a school's support.
    All we need to do now is to ensure that all bereaved pupils, no matter which school they are in, receive the best support that they can and organisations like CBUK can help to make that difference through their elearning package and free resources. Bereavement is tough, no matter what age you are but together we can make it a more constructive process and one which leads to a more positive outcome.
     

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