The Atlas Programme will support those working in schools to help children and young people who are affected by bereavement, and combines workshops and study days for staff, along with focused support for schools.
The aim is to raise awareness of the effects of loss on young people, as well as create effective policy and practice to help and empower anyone working in the school environment to support pupils as they navigate their way through their experiences of grief.
Hannah Bridge, Child Bereavement Educator at Compton, said:
“We know that by the age of 16, almost eight out 10 young people have experienced the death of a close friend or relative. Given that there are currently 15,406 pupils aged 11 to 16 in full-time education in Wolverhampton, this suggests that more than 12,000 of those pupils may have experienced a significant bereavement.”
“The negative impact of unresolved childhood bereavement can be wide ranging. A report by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in 2013 concluded the death of a family member or close friend may be a factor in reduced academic achievement, increased risk of offending behaviour, increased incidence of teenage pregnancy and increased risk of developing psychological distress and the link with adult depression.”
“Studies also suggest that large numbers of bereaved young people find it difficult to talk to anyone about their experiences; given that children spend up to six hours a day in school, teachers and other staff working in schools can be a key source of support additional to family and friends.”
“At Compton we felt it important to develop the Atlas Programme in order to equip teachers, and any other professionals working in a school environment, to help young people navigate the impact of bereavement.”
Compton is looking for schools within the Wolverhampton area to join a pilot project for the programme which includes workshops and events for staff as well as focused support to review policies and practices.
One bereaved young person told the organisation after the death of her friend:
“It becomes less daunting for us to speak to teachers about grief and loss when they are comfortable talking about this”.
The hospice’s aim is to ensure that all those working within schools are confident and comfortable in offering support to young people affected by bereavement.
The large majority of the costs of the Atlas programme have been met through the generous support of the Connie and Albert Taylor Trust.
For information on joining the Atlas Programme contact Hannah Bridge