Offering support through Illness or Bereavement
At St Monica’s Catholic Primary School we seek to meet the needs of all our children/students/pupils and staff in all situations. When home circumstances are changed because of a death or illness in the family, all around is ‘different’. We strive to be a place that both the child and family can rely on and gain some much needed support.
If you have suffered bereavement, please refer to our Bereavement Policy for support, or contact the office to arrange a time to speak to a member of staff regarding your loss.
If you are going through difficult times regarding long term illness, there are many ways in which the school can support you and your family. Please look at our Family support Through Illness Policy. Alternatively, contact the office to discuss with a member of staff how we can help you.
Link to Bereavement Policy (currently pending approval from Governors)
Support for families during Illness.
When a member of your family is going through a long term illness, please speak to a member of staff so that we can help support you and your child.
Why should I tell the school?<
Just as you will experience a range of emotions, your child will also have a variety of feelings. They may not tell you they’re worried, but fear and uncertainty can affect their behaviour (in and out of school), school work and friendships. School is an important part of your child’s life and the teachers and children can help provide stability at a time of change at home.
Interacting with the school may feel daunting, but by working with the school you will enable staff to plan and provide the help and support you would prefer.
When should I tell the school?
It is helpful for the school to know as soon as possible. This is so staff can fully support you and your child at this difficult time. You may prefer to let your partner, another family member or a friend speak to the school on your behalf.
As well as the diagnosis, you may want to tell the school about any treatment planned and any change in practical arrangements. Be clear about what your child knows. It’s useful to tell the school the wording you use when talking with your child about the illness.
You can share as much or as little information as you choose. You don’t need to tell the school everything unless you want to.
Who should I tell?
You can tell the Head Teacher, the Deputy Head Teacher, your child’s class teacher or another teacher you feel able to talk to. At St Monica’s, we have members of staff overseeing Pastoral care who would give you the support you need. Please ask at the school office for contact details or to arrange a time to come in and speak to us.
Young children sometimes want their class to know while other children often want as few people as possible to know. Check what works best for you and your child and let them know who you’re talking to and why.
How the school can help you and your child.
Think about what support you’d like from the school and be clear when asking for it. Teachers won’t know how to help unless you tell them.
The following can be helpful to consider:
Agree with the school who you can speak to throughout your illness, (a link person). It helps to speak to the same person each time.
Confirm a telephone number and e-mail address on which to contact them directly.
Agree with your link person which other members of staff they tell and the information you want to be shared.
Talk about how they can let you know about your child’s wellbeing.
Sometimes appointments over-run and you may not be able to collect your child from school on time. Arrange who to speak to and how to contact them if this happens.
Make sure the school has a list of names and contact details of any adults who can collect your child if you can’t.
Talk to your child about the adults in school who are there to support them and who to go to if they need to talk to some-one.
Consider letting the school know the words you use when discussing your illness, so we can use the same language and avoid using words your child doesn’t know.
If your child is preparing for exams, you may want to send a letter to school explaining how the situation at home is affecting your child.
If your child is special needs, you might find it useful to ask the school for support or guidance in deciding what information to tell your child and how to do it.
If you are finding it difficult to do homework or read with your child, ask if some-one at school could help them.
Ask the school for any support services they may be able to offer.
If you are receiving treatment and your immune system is lowered, ask the school to notify you of any illnesses such as, diarrhoea, vomiting, flu, chicken pox or shingles.
Communication between yourself and the school is most important and it will give you peace of mind to know that your child is being given the care and support they may need.
If you find it difficult to talk about your illness then please complete an ‘Information about Illness’ form and send it into school addressed to either the Head Teacher or Deputy Head Teacher and mark it CONFIDENTIAL.