Books by Sarah Helton of BackPocketTeacher

A Special Kind of Grief


The complete guide for supporting bereavement and loss in special schools (& other SEND settings)

This resource book includes everything that a special school needs to manage bereavements sensitively and effectively. The book covers the following areas: bereavement policies and procedures, an appropriate curriculum (including the issues of life, death and loss), how to inform the school community of the death, how to support pupils and staff with the loss, plus activities and resources to support pupils with their grief.

There is also an extensive appendix with template documents for schools to use: draft letters, policies, procedures, curriculum and lesson ideas.

A Special Kind of Grief  is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers 

It is available from the BackPocketTeacher Shop and all good booksellers. 

Remembering Lucy


A children's story book about loss and grief in a special school

Joe, an 8-year-old boy who attends a special school, tells the story of his school and what happens when one of his friends, Lucy, dies.

This book is sensitively written and provides children with special educational needs and disabilities guidance and support to help them come to terms with the death of a friend. 

The story uses simple language and the illustrations are reflective of a special school setting, meaning children can easily access and relate to the story.

The book ends on a very positive note and is an excellent vehicle to help teachers support bereaved children.

Remembering Lucy is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers 

It is available from the BackPocketTeacher Shop and all good booksellers. 

A jumble of knotted thoughts


A sensory story to support 

bereavement and grief.

It is a simple story that you read to children to help them process a  death and to help them manage the emotions of bereavement and grief.  Each line of the story is supported with a sensory activity or action,  using everyday objects. Having a sensory element to the story helps the  child to understand the subject matter more fully.

The story is written for individuals with special educational needs  and/or disabilities (SEND) and young children (primary school age). The  story is a means of helping young children and individuals with SEND to  understand that someone has died and reassuring them that the feelings  they are experiencing are normal.

A jumble of knotted thoughts is available from the BackPocketTeacher Shop

Widgit Symbol Resources


Bereavement & Loss Widgit Symbol Resources

I have developed a ‘Bereavement & Loss’ resource pack in association with Widgit.

A set of resources designed for children, young people and their families to help them through the process of bereavement and loss including specific resources dealing with particular aspects of bereavement such as "What is a funeral" and a set of accompanying flashcards.



The emotions of grief

What happens at a funeral?

What is a burial?

What is cremation? (cremation after funeral)

What is cremation? (funeral and cremation at crematorium)

What is a funeral?

What is death?

What is separation or divorce? (staying with Mummy)

What is separation or divorce? (staying with Daddy)

Worry sentences


Alive and dead symbols

All forms of grief and loss

Comfort cards

Emotions of loss and grief

Supporting bereaved children

Symbols to explain how somebody died


Buy Bereavement & Loss Widgit Symbol Resources

You can buy these symbol resources from Widgit 

Book Reviews

Reviews of A Special Kind of Grief ​


A comprehensive "one-stop-shop" on how to support pupils, staff, families and the school community through bereavement, offering simple practical guidance, easily integrated into the school day. Essential reading to instil confidence amongst those caring for children with SEND to address issues of death and bereavement within the school environment. Dr. Katie Koehler, Child Bereavement UK

With a wealth of practical advice and inspiration that can be used in moments when thinking feels impossible, this book shows you how you can promote happiness, health and resilience in children with special needs through the darkest of times. I will certainly be buying it for the special school I work in! Jill Owen, Headteacher, Montacute School

A Special Kind of Grief is a book that would be perfect for any teacher, SENCO or professional working with pupils with SEND or without. As Sarah quite rightly points out we live in a society where death is treated with fear; a ‘stiff upper lip’ and a hope that we will never have to have difficult conversations with such a vulnerable group (children). What I took from this book however is that it is ok to have tricky conversations and to show feelings that we may have otherwise bottled up ‘for the sake of the children’. Sarah’s guidance on writing a policy, how to support pupils, families and staff and how to report to the wider community is very clear and well-thought out. An essential book for every school. Kitty Eve, SENCO, Chandag Junior School

I really enjoyed your book. There is such little research out there for grief and SEN. It is great to see you paving the way. Aoife Lynam, Director of Research Hibernia College, Dublin 

Reviews of Remembering Lucy ​


This story book for children with additional needs directly confronts the double taboo of talking with such children about death and grief. With additional guidance for teachers, it is a much needed resource in an area where there is little to support professionals working with children with additional needs. Dr. Katie Koehler, Child Bereavement UK

Sarah has recognised the need to support children with SEND through the experience of grief and loss. The dilemma of what to say, and how to say it, can be overwhelming at the time of a bereavement within the school community and Sarah has addressed this with sensitivity. Remembering Lucy uses clear, specific language and subtly offers practical activities and strategies that can support children with SEND during the sadness of a bereavement. Lisa Parker, Headteacher, Warmley Park School

What I love most about Remembering Lucy is that it brings child bereavement into the normal realm - very rare, but normal. Joe and his friends in a special school are full of fun. They love life. When friend Lucy dies, they grieve and remember her and then she lives on in their memories, complete with fun and paint splodges. This simple yet multi-layered story is sensitive, honest, caring and practical. Suzanne Askham, special school governor, special needs mother and writer on learning disability

As I read this beautiful book, I was moved by the honesty, sensitivity and integrity of how Sarah presents the issues that schools like ours sometimes face. The events portrayed in this book are exactly as they have happened in our school. There are many challenges with supporting children who have been bereaved, and the difficulties are often more complex for children with special educational needs. This book is a kind and gentle resource for anyone working in this very special environment - an absolute must-have in a school's PSHE toolkit. Sue Flavin, Deputy Headteacher, St Nicholas School