Schools ‘need support of government to help grieving children

Report calls for national bereavement policy as 41,000 children a year lose a parent.


There is no government-led national bereavement policy for schools despite the equivalent of every classroom in the UK containing at least one child who has lost a parent or sibling, according to a report into the consequences of childhood bereavement in the British school system.


The report, by the Cambridge University faculty of education for the Winston’s Wish charity, found that more than 41,000 children under 18 in the UK lose a parent every year. When deaths of siblings are included, that number increases to at least 45,000 every year.


“Childhood bereavement is a huge social issue that can lead to serious long-term consequences for not only the individual but for wider society and – ultimately – the economy,” said Prof Colleen McLaughlin, the director of educational innovation at Cambridge University. “It is therefore a huge issue that there is currently no government-led national bereavement policy in place for schools – where bereaved children spend most of their waking hours.”


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