Supporting staff who are grieving

If you're dealing with a serious illness or death in your school community, use our template letters and advice to help you support your staff. Learn how to approach difficult conversations with both families and staff who are grieving, and find out how you can look after yourself too.

Last reviewed on 28 April 2022
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 40178
  1. Develop a communication strategy
  2. Talking to staff about loss
  3. Take care of yourself
  4. Where to get bereavement training

Our thanks to Diana Stubbs of Winston's Wish and Tracey Bosely of Child Bereavement UK who advised us on this article. We've also relied on information from Cruse Bereavement Care.

Develop a communication strategy

You need to plan ahead for how to communicate while:

  • Remaining sensitive to the needs of your staff
  • Protecting the privacy of the affected staff member/pupil and their family
  • Controlling the potential spread of rumours 

You won't share news of a staff member's or a pupil's serious illness with anyone outside of staff. This is to prevent undue anxiety and to maintain confidentiality. Exceptions to this would be if news has already spread through social media (see the section below on what to do if social media is ahead of you) You will share news of a staff member's or pupil's death with the school community as soon as possible

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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