Support for schools working with grieving children and young people

If you’re a teacher or education professional working with a grieving student, we’re here to help.

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How can Winston’s Wish help schools supporting grieving pupils?

Caring for a bereaved pupil can be complex. What should you say? How should you act? Is there something specific you should be doing or not doing? How do you know if a student is coping?

On average 1 in every 29 children will be bereaved of a parent. That’s one in every class. Yet many teachers receive no bereavement training and are unsure how to support grieving children and young people in their classroom.

Whilst we can’t take away a young person’s loss, we can help you to help them to thrive again.

As well as providing direct bereavement information and support to young people, Winston’s Wish helps teachers and other school professionals to provide the best support possible.

Whether it’s helping you having your first conversations with children about death, activities to help young people express their feelings or simply understanding how children, teenagers and young adults grieve differently depending on their age, their circumstances and their type of bereavement.

We’re here to help you support the children and young people in your care, whether it be in anticipation of a death (pre-bereavement), in the immediate days following a bereavement or even months or years down the line.

Please note that any young person up to the age of 25 who has experienced the death of someone important to them can reach out directly to Winston’s Wish through our on-demand services.

They can email, chat with us online, text or call our helpline. Those aged 13 or over can also refer themselves for further bereavement support services.

We encourage you to encourage bereaved children and young people to reach out to us directly themselves, so they can own and start their grief support journey on their own terms.

All of our services are online to ensure as many people as possible have access to bereavement advice and support, no matter where they live.

We have information available in languages other than English and if you click the circle icon with a stick man at the bottom left of your screen you can use our accessibility toolbar to change the language, font, colours, size etc of the website.

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Information about grief

Knowing what grief is and understanding what the common responses to a death are, can be the first steps in helping a child or young person make sense of what they’re going through.

We produce a range of content including videos, blogs, books, talks and workshops that help young people explore their grief. For content aimed directly at young people aged 13 plus, please visit our support for young people page.

You can access a range of topics on ‘What do children understand about death?‘, ‘Helping a bereaved child return to school‘ and ‘How can exam results day impact grieving young people?‘ and lots more on our website.

It’s vital that schools have a bereavement policy and procedure, and teachers and staff understand how to support the grieving children and young people in their school. Our school bereavement policy template can help you create one.

For those working in schools we have lots of free resources including online learning, PSHE lesson templates for key stages 1 to 4, school bereavement policy templates and lots more. We also offer in-depth child bereavement training and bespoke training which can be tailored to your school’s needs.

There’s also a huge variety of activities, reading lists and our own extensive publications and resources which you can explore to help the child or young person you are supporting.

Bereavement resources for schools - Winston's Wish
Resources for schools

Download our template and guide to create a bereavement policy for your school and use our guide, strategy and charter documents to support grieving students.

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We offer a variety of training on childhood bereavement for professionals including free online modules, in-depth day courses and bespoke training for organisations.

A desk with a laptop and a person's hand writing in a notebook - Rapid Response bereavement training for schools
Rapid Response training

This one-hour online training package is designed to offer immediate support and advice for school staff in those days and weeks following a bereavement.

Publications and resources from Winston's Wish
Publications and resources

Specialist books written by Winston’s Wish to help you support grieving children and young people, plus memory boxes to store treasured items and free activities to download.

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Advice for schools

From supporting grieving children through exams to helping a newly bereaved child return to school, we have lots of guidance written by our bereavement specialists.

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General bereavement information

Advice and resources to support grieving children and young people, including on bereavement by suicide, homicide and serious illness and for children with SEND.

How you can help your pupils to understand grief

PSHE lessons on bereavement and loss - Winston's Wish
PSHE lessons

Download our free PSHE lessons for Key Stages 1-4, including lesson plans, presentations and resources and help your pupils develop the skills and understanding they need.

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Growing Hope Garden Project

Bring bereaved children in your primary school together to create a Growing Hope garden and use the power of nature and connection to help them with their grief.

Activities for bereaved children
Free activities

Download our free activities to use with bereaved children to help them explore and express their feelings and find ways to remember the person who has died.

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On-demand grief support

If you need some guidance on what to say to a child or are unsure how to approach a bereaved young person, you can reach out to a member of our team.

Whatever your concern, we’ll listen and offer guidance on your next steps. Nothing is off limits, we’ll listen without judgement and you can even chat to us anonymously if you’d prefer to do so.

Whether it’s a one-off or a conversation you need to come back to multiple times over, you can reach us on the different ways listed below. You can also encourage your child to use any of our on-demand services if they want to talk to someone about their grief.

If you need to speak to us in a language other than English, we can use interpreters over the phone, and we can use the Relay UK app if you have hearing or speech difficulties.

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Call us for free on 08088 020 021 between 8am and 8pm, weekdays.

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Email us on or fill out our contact form and we’ll reply within two working days.

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Live chat

Chat online between 8am-8pm, weekdays by clicking the blue ‘Chat with us’ button at the bottom right of your screen.

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For urgent support, text WW to 85258 to speak with someone from our trusted partner, Shout.

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Bereavement support for children and young people

If you feel like the young bereaved person in your care is in need of additional support, a series of one-to-one sessions with a Winston’s Wish Bereavement Support Worker could help. Together, they will openly and safely explore the young person’s feelings and discover the coping mechanisms that will work for them moving forward.

We also recognise that connecting young people with one another has the power to transform a young person’s perspective on grief. Our grief support groups offer young people the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances, share experiences, reduce feelings of isolation and build connections.

In some cases, and at the discretion of Winston’s Wish, group sessions with family members can be arranged to help you all move forward together.

Please note that one-to-one and group support is accessed by referral only. Young people aged 13 or over are encouraged to complete their own referral if appropriate, please feel free to help them with this. If you are submitting a referral on behalf of a young person, someone from Winston’s Wish will assess the child or young person’s individual circumstances to ensure they receive the right service for them. If it’s decided this isn’t the right service for them, a member of our team will guide you towards the most appropriate support.

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Bereavement counselling for children and young people

For most bereaved children and young people, the support and comfort they find through our content and on-demand services is enough. However, for those who have experienced severe, traumatic and/or multiple bereavements, or if a young person has complex personal circumstances, it may be that they need more focused and dedicated support.

Bereavement counselling may help. If it’s found that a child or young person could benefit from counselling, they will be matched with an appropriate counsellor who will help them to safely explore their feelings and experiences.

Please note that bereavement counselling is accessed by referral only. Young people aged 13 or over are encouraged to complete their own referral if appropriate, please feel free to help them with this. If you are submitting a referral on behalf of a young person, someone from Winston’s Wish will assess the child or young person’s individual circumstances to ensure they receive the right service for them. If it’s decided this isn’t the right service for them, a member of our team will guide you towards the most appropriate support.

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Whether you can volunteer a few minutes, a few hours or a few days, you can help us change the lives of other grieving children.

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