Supporting bereaved children at school

Posted by Matt Carter, on May 12 2016 in: Education

The care we provide for patients and their families starts with support at early diagnosis and ends with bereavement support for carers and children – for however long they need it.

We recently held a study day for school staff called ‘The Elephant in the Classroom’, which focused on children and young people’s development in relation to the impact of grief.

This gave teachers and pastoral care staff in our community an opportunity to develop their existing knowledge about how grief affects children and young people.

One of the participants, Karen Long, is a Teaching Assistant and working towards becoming an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA). The ELSA role aims to support pupils with a range of emotional issues including separation anxiety, illness in the family and bereavement. Karen is currently supporting several children who have been bereaved, or whose parents are seriously ill, meaning the study day couldn’t have come at a better time for her, and provided an ideal complement to her existing development.

“The study day on children’s grief at Dorothy House has been a superb complement to my ELSA training – and the networking it enabled for me to connect with other professionals in similar roles has been invaluable. The knowledge and care at Dorothy House made a real impression, and I was inspired by the therapeutic work they offer to children and young people”

Karen Long, TA / ELSA, Wiltshire


We are delighted to have facilitated this study day to support our local schools – a great example of compassionate communities in practice.

The ‘Elephant in the Classroom’ study day is running again on 9th November – full details are available here.