good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Compassionate Communities Toolkit

Supportive schools

School communities have an important role to play in educating children in relation to death, dying and bereavement and supporting them in developing healthy coping skills.

Schools are also workplaces for teachers and other staff, so have the responsibilities of any workplace to their staff.

A Road Less Lonely (Section 4, page 15) explores some ways that schools in Scotland might be encouraged and supported to provide education and support around death, dying and bereavement for children and staff in primary and secondary education.

Relevant Projects, Initiatives and Resources

Various resources exist that school communities can draw on to support them with their approach to death, dying and bereavement, many of which have been developed with input from children themselves.

The Resilience Project

The Resilience Project* consists of five lessons covering the subjects of death, loss and grief aimed at pupils in Primary Six or Seven (aged nine to twelve years). It addresses experiences and outcomes from three curriculum areas within the Curriculum for Excellence (Health and Wellbeing, Science and Religious Education) as well as some of the questions asked by children in the process of developing the project. The project fits into a wider Resilience Programme that is aimed at fostering children’s resilience by helping them to identify feelings and develop coping strategies for use in a wide range of circumstances concerning loss and transition from Nursery to Primary Seven (ages four to twelve). You can access the resources here: The Resilience Project.

Whole Schools Approach to Loss and Bereavement

The Whole Schools Approach to Loss and Bereavement** provides information and advice to assist staff in the day to day support that they provide to children and young people coping with bereavement, loss and change. The document can be accessed here: Whole Schools Approach to Loss and Bereavement

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland: Schools Bereavement Project

The Perth and Kinross Schools Bereavement Project^ is an interagency approach to promoting support for school pupils experiencing grief following the death of a family member, friend or member of their school community. The project has a website that has been created to support teachers who wish to address issues of loss and bereavement, either with individual pupils or as a class topic: Perth and Kinross Schools Bereavement Project^

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK has a range of resources on its website, including lesson plans, an e-learning programme and template bereavement policies.

Winston’s Wish

Winston’s Wish has a range of relevant resources on its website.

Organisations/ charities that specialise in supporting schools

Various arts and bereavement organisations are able and willing to work with schools to provide education and support around death, dying and bereavement for children and staff in schools, for example:

The Childhood Bereavement Network have a list on their website of organisations that support bereaved children.


* The Resilience Project was developed by St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Falkirk, Strathcarron Hospice, the University of Strathclyde and University of Edinburgh.

** Whole Schools Approach to Loss and Bereavement was developed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow City Council and in partnership with local hospices

^ The partners in the project are Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland; Perth and Kinross Council and NHS Tayside.

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