Support for the family

Teachers are frequently seen as a source of information and you may be specifically asked by family members for advice such as whether a pupil should go to the funeral or when a pupil should return to school. The following considerations will help you to best provide support for the family.

  • You may be considering whether you and or other staff members should attend the funeral and this should be considered in discussion with the family and in accordance with their wishes. You may have to identify which staff and pupils want to attend and the head teacher may need to consider closing the school. Involve staff and pupils in deciding whether or not you will send a card and/or make a collection.
  • It’s healthy for bereaved pupils to ask a lot of questions. Try and answer them accurately. Young children often don't have adult inhibitions about death. You may be surprised by some of their comments and reactions.
  • Teenagers may become withdrawn and difficult to engage with. Respect their need for personal space, while gently reminding them that you're there if they need you.
  • It's important to maintain routines and rules. Familiar situations and contact with friends brings security and a sense of normality.
  • Signposting - You can be a great source of support for the family if you can signpost them to information that helps their decision making and to services providing additional support.

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