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Bereavement in Educational Settings

The following guidance uses the experience of schools, both locally and nationally who have been through a critical incident. 

The information contained in this guidance is intended to enable schools to manage their own difficulties, drawing on their own resources and accessing additional support, advice or information from other agencies where appropriate. 

This guidance offers a framework in which to operate, rather than a ‘must do’ list.  It is not intended to be prescriptive or to attempt to cover all possible events. 

The Local Authority expects to support schools in any significant incident. Schools are not expected to cope alone with incidents involving for example, death or anything that attracts intensive media interest. 

A school that is well prepared to deal with tragedies is like to be well equipped to respond to other issues relating to loss and bereavement (for example, pupils may experience death of a close relative, parental separation or divorce, or the loss of a pet) and this will also be helping its pupils towards an emotionally literate adult life.


Structure of the Document

Staff in schools who have experienced the death of a pupil expressed that they needed to access some guidance as a matter of urgency to help them deal with the immediate aftermath.

For this reason, the document is structured as follows:

Section 1 - Immediate Actions Following a Sudden Death or Critical Incident: Guidance and Printable Checklist: to be used in the event of a sudden death of a pupil, staff or member of the school community and will assist schools in the aftermath.  The checklist can be completed by schools as required. 

Section 2 - Short-Medium Term Actions: Information and guidance on the short/medium term actions required by a school community

Section 3 - A Whole School Approach to Supporting Bereavement: including curriculum resources and online support

Section 4 - Appendix & Resources

There are also editable templates for individual schools' use.

Please click on the link below to access the guide: 


   Sudden and Traumatic Death and Bereavement a Guide for Schools and Educational Settings in Cumbria   

Please be advised that this document will be uploaded on a regular basis.  Therefore, please only download/print off for each bereavement to have the most up-to-date information available.

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