March 9th 2018 - Exciting News!

Sarah Helton - 2018 Churchill Fellows

'Brightest Hour' not 'Darkest Hour'

For Gary Oldman, Sir Winston Churchill = an Oscar                                                               

For me, Sir Winston Churchill = an amazing opportunity & adventure

I am thrilled to announce that I have been awarded a 2018 Churchill Fellowship.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust provides fellowships to UK citizens to research areas of interest and expertise in countries across the globe.

My fellowship is in the ‘Medical & Health’ category and is about supporting vulnerable children following bereavement. Specifically my project will look at ‘best practice for supporting bereaved children with special educational needs and/or disabilities’. I will be travelling to Norway, Denmark and America to find out how children with SEND are supported with the issues of grief and bereavement. I will also look at how teachers are trained to support these children and how they as educators are supported to deal with the impact of working with bereaved children.

I will begin my travels in late spring/early summer 2018 and will complete my overseas adventures in early 2019. I will then write up my findings and issue a report to WCMT. Then it will be time to start the important task of updating the bereavement training that I provide, through my company BackPocketTeacher, ensuring that I include all of the data and information around best practice for supporting bereaved children with SEND.  Another crucial part of my fellowship is to campaign for the Department for Education to include child bereavement training in all teacher training courses and for all schools to have a curriculum that includes talking and learning about life and death, with school staff having training to ensure that they are confident to support bereaved children.

As I progress through my year of travels and research I will provide regular updates on my work through my website and blog, the WCMT website and via my LinkedIn and Twitter @backpocketteach accounts. I really hope that you will follow me and my adventures. Please ask questions and get involved - it’s going to be an incredible year.


Here is some more information about the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust from their website -

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust funds UK citizens to investigate inspiring practice in other countries and return with innovate ideas for the benefit of people across the UK.

When Sir Winston Churchill died in 1965. Thousands of people, out of respect for the man and in gratitude for his inspired leadership, gave generously so that a living memorial to him could benefit future generations of British people. 

As Sir Winston's national memorial, we carry forward his legacy by funding UK citizens from all backgrounds to travel overseas in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of the current challenges facing the UK. Successful applicants are known as Churchill Fellows for life. No qualifications are required, just a project and the desire and motivation to improve their community, profession or field.

The new Fellows will explore global best practice in the issues facing Britain today, and bring back global insights to improve communities and professions across the UK. The Fellowships address contemporary issues, develop knowledge leaders and offer transformative opportunities to outstanding individuals.

Between them, the 2018 Fellows will travel to 48 countries across six continents.

The next chance to apply for a Churchill Fellowship opens on 27 April 2018. You can register your interest here.

Churchill Fellowship Letter of Introduction

Below is a letter of introduction from Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Chief Executive Julia Weston

WCMT letter of introduction_Sarah Helton (pdf)