I was 17 years old when my dad died, leaving me, my mum and my 14-year-old brother behind. When my dad died, I was studying in my second year at Bhasvic College and approaching my A-levels in the summer of 2019. I received very little support from teachers and staff at the college, other than receiving a few extensions from teachers for my coursework deadlines.
This made my second year extremely difficult, and I found the exam period and focusing particularly hard, leading to results which could have been better.
Julie Dawn Cole is a bereavement counsellor and stated, “what people don’t realise is the impact a bereavement has on young people.”
There are currently no government led education policies regarding children who have suffered bereavement of a parent or a child, which means teachers and staff aren’t trained correctly to provide the necessary support for children in a difficult position.
The equivalent of one child in every classroom in the United Kingdom has a bereaved child and still they are not given the correct support. Julie explained children are left feeling confused, “The kids that I have then worked with have since said oh I don’t think my teachers knew and I was thinking of course they did, they did know, they were told but they didn’t know what to say or do about it.”
The emphasis at schools is on results and performance but children who are in a vulnerable position need more pastoral care.