PUPILS who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a loved one have pioneered a new approach to bereavement support in their school.

A group of pupils at Gryffe High School in Houston have been working with the children and young people’s service at St Vincent’s Hospice to share their own experiences of losing someone significant in their life, as part of a new set of support and information materials for teachers, parents and other pupils.

The group has created an Advice from our Pupils booklet listing significant issues, worries and concerns students experienced while coming to terms with a loss and trying to readjust to school life.

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This has been made available to teachers and support staff across the school, along with other practical guides and support materials.

Alison Provan, from the children and young people’s service at St Vincent’s, said: “Being a teenager is a difficult time for anyone – there are so many changes going on in your life. Now, imagine going through that after the death of a parent or someone close to you.

“Sadly, for most schools and teachers, the resources simply aren’t available to provide proper training and development to give staff the confidence and knowledge to effectively manage issues around bereavement. 

“The students felt so passionately about wanting to help people to understand that we thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Gryffe High and develop materials which can make a real difference.”

As well as being a specialist provider of palliative and hospice care for people with life-limiting conditions in Renfrewshire, the Howwood hospice offers bereavement counselling and support for children and young people aged two to 18.

Adam Findlay, principal teacher for guidance, said: “Gill Brand, a fellow guidance teacher, and I identified a large gap in the universal support offered to young people within a school setting. 

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“As we supported pupils who were experiencing loss, we found there was no specific guidance for pupils, staff and parents to follow to ensure the pupils and their families received the best, and most appropriate support at such difficult times.”