Express & Star

Bereaved Wolverhampton pupils supported by Compton Care

BEREAVED school students are being better supported through their devastating grief thanks to hospice staff.

Compton Care launched the Atlas programme last year

St Peter’s Collegiate School is working in partnership with Wolverhampton's Compton Care to help care for its young people.

It comes after the Compton Road school launched a new bereavement policy to encourage its pupils to lend their support to their peers during difficult times.

Hannah Bridge, Compton Care's child bereavement educator, said: "We are delighted to be working with St Peter’s School to help them to develop their bereavement policy.

“The policy will make it easier for children who experience a bereavement to open up and talk about death and dying with staff members and peers without fear of creating shock or discomfort.

“It is so important that the school has taken this step in acknowledging that so many children face bereavement and that their pupils need to be supported and equipped to deal with it. We plan to offer them on-going support as they implement their policy.”

Compton Care launched its Atlas programme to help school staff better support young people coping with death last November.

It combines workshops and staff study days to raise awareness of the effects of loss on young people and encourage pupils to share their grief with teachers.

Business and economic teacher Natasha Rush signed the school up for the programme after experiencing a bereavement at a young age.

She said: “I have experienced bereavement whilst in school as well as working in education, and on both occasions, I do not think teachers or staff in school knew how to react or engage in conversation related to the loss I had faced.

“Myself and Jane Cook, our safeguarding lead here, have been working with Compton to create a policy to ensure that our staff are confident and comfortable in offering support to young people affected by bereavement.

"The policy will also help staff who have been affected by a bereavement to talk about their feelings and offer signposting advice for further support.

“We hope that by implementing the Atlas Programme in our school both our teachers and students will be able to have difficult conversations and work together to navigate the impact of bereavement.”

The charity said it estimates more than 12,000 young people between 11 and 16 have experienced a significant bereavement.