Today the government has announced a £1bn catch-up package to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school. While this is fantastic news, we would urge schools to think about tackling recovery first before the curriculum. 
 
Here’s why. Returning to school for many children, having had six months away, is going to cause a second loss event. Loss of their new structure, routine, safety, security, and family. And that is for the children who haven’t suffered a bereavement during Lockdown and haven’t endured any suffering. 
Students have missed social interaction, they may have developed mental health issues that have arisen during Lockdown, resulting in an amount of uncovering to do about what has gone on for these children during their time out of school. 
 
Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by a change or an end in a familiar pattern of behaviour. Common responses to grief include sleepless nights, lack of concentration, restlessness, or emotional highs and lows. These reactions are normal and natural, and as you can imagine, will inhibit children’s abilities to learn. 

How prepared is your school? 

How can you help children to become ready for learning again? We’ve been told that schools will have an element of control on how they spend their catch-up budget. Training teachers to be ready to help children with their losses will help to speed up the process of preparing children to learn again. 
 
Watch Head Teacher of Buckton Vale Primary School, Deborah Brown talk to Carole Henderson, Managing Director of Grief Recovery UK about how the Helping Children With Loss programme differs from other programmes and the effect it has had on her school, and why it’s important for schools to train staff now. 

How we can help 

1. Resources 
We are creating lots of resources that you can use before and after schools are fully open. These include posters, tips, articles, lesson plans, videos and more, which are being made available here
 
If you have a specific need or want relating to the kind of resources you’d like to see, please email us on schools@griefuk.net. 
 
2. When Children Grieve Book 
We have a definitive guide to helping children really deal with loss from the authors of the Grief Recovery Handbook and founders of the Grief Recovery Institute. You can order as many copies as you need from our online shop
 
3. Helping Children Deal with Loss Programme 
This programme for adults will teach you how to communicate with the children in your care about losses they have experienced and those they yet might face. Led by a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist this programme uses When Children Grieve as the textbook as you work through the process step by step over four weekly sessions. More information can be found here
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