We are delighted to be working in partnership with St Peter’s Collegiate School to support bereaved students.
We launched a programme in November which aims to support those working in schools to help young people who are affected by bereavement.
The Atlas Programme combines workshops and study days for staff, along with focused support for schools.
The aim is to raise awareness of the effects of loss on young people as well as create effective policy and practice to help and empower anyone working in the school environment to support pupils as they navigate their way through their experiences of grief.
Natasha Rush is a business and economics teacher at St Peter’s and decided to sign the school up to take part in the programme after experiencing bereavement herself at a young age.
She said: “I have experienced bereavement whilst in school as well as working in education, and on both occasions, I do not think teachers or staff in school knew how to react or engage in conversation related to the loss I had faced. After hearing about the Atlas programme I was really keen for St Peter’s to be involved.”
“Myself and Mrs Jane Cook, our safeguarding lead here at St Peter’s, have been working with Compton to create a policy to ensure that our staff are confident and comfortable in offering support to young people affected by bereavement. The policy will also help staff who have been affected by a bereavement to talk about their feelings and offer signposting advice for further support.
“We hope that by implementing the Atlas Programme in our school both our teachers and students will be able to have difficult conversations and work together to navigate the impact of bereavement.”
By the age of 16, almost 8 out 10 young people have experienced the death of a close friend or relative. Given that there are currently 15,406 pupils aged 11 to 16 in full-time education in Wolverhampton, this suggests that more than 12,000 of those pupils may have experienced a significant bereavement.
Studies also suggest large numbers of bereaved young people find it difficult to talk to anyone about their experiences; given that children spend between six and nine hours a day in school, teachers and other staff working in schools can be a key source of support additional to family and friends. As a result, we developed the Atlas Programme in order to equip teachers, and any other professionals working in a school environment, to help young people navigate the impact of bereavement.
St Peter’s will launch its new bereavement policy this month and we will be meeting regularly with Miss Rush and Mrs Cook to offer our continued support.
Hannah Bridge, Child Bereavement Educator at Compton, said: “We are delighted to be working with St Peter’s School to help them to develop their bereavement policy.
“The policy will make it easier for children who experience a bereavement to open up and talk about death and dying with staff members and peers without fear of creating shock or discomfort.
“It is so important that the school has taken this step in acknowledging that so many children face bereavement and that their pupils need to be supported and equipped to deal with it. We plan to offer them on-going support as they implement their policy.”