Developing a school bereavement policy

Having a clear school bereavement policy in place not only helps grieving students, but it helps staff members too. Find prompts to consider when developing your school’s policy.

Creating a clear bereavement policy is helpful for school staff members when they have to deal with death.

A school policy will help staff feel more confident when working with, and supporting, bereaved students. These policies can provide guidelines around what is a sensitive, and often difficult, subject.

Creating a policy requires input from all school staff. You might like to contact your local Cruse Bereavement Support branch for advice.

During the staff meeting, you can use the following prompts. These will help you think about what to include in your policy:

  • Will you have designated members of the school staff to support bereaved students?
  • How will you inform students and colleagues about a death?
  • What to do when you are required to tell a student that someone close to them has died?
  • What support will be offered to bereaved staff and students?
  • What will you do in a crisis or disaster situation, either on school premises or on a school trip?
  • How do you recognise common symptoms and behaviours associated with grief?
  • Do you have contact details of local and national support agencies specialising in bereavement, such as Cruse Bereavement Support?
  • How will you deal with media interest surrounding a death? Will you have designated two/three members of staff to act as media coordinators?

It’s important that staff members appointed to provide support to bereaved students have received the appropriate training. They also need to be supported by senior colleagues.

Cruse Bereavement Care provides training and consultancy for school staff. This training focuses on how to support bereaved students, along with safeguarding measures.

It might be useful for the school to stock bereavement resource packs. These can include bereavement information for students of all ages. We have a large collection of leaflets, books and other resources designed to help support bereaved children and young people.