Sarah Helton is a 2018 Churchill Fellow - find out more on the Churchill Fellow page
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 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.
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
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
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.