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Think about the student's funeral

Start by finding out what the family’s wishes are. Ideally, only close friends and some staff from your school would go to the funeral.

Schools do not take students to funerals. This is a parent or carer responsibility.

Students should go to the funeral by choice. It should be opt-in. They need consent from their parent or carer.  

Find out who is going

If the funeral is planned for a school day find out who is going to the funeral. This helps you support and keep a check on students and staff.

Any unexplained student absences should be followed up.

Arrange support for students

Supervise students before and after the funeral. Make sure you have appropriate support available. This is more important if they were part of the service. For example, as a pall bearer or speaker.

Funerals held at the school

In some communities, the funeral might be held at the school. For example, a religious school. It will mean you have extra steps to think about.

Memorial services

Students or family members might want to organise a memorial or tributes.

Keep a watch for impromptu gatherings organised via social media.

Memorials with large numbers of students are not recommended. Do not use assembly time for memorials.

It is critical that you deliver and manage these acknowledgements with care. You need to make sure the student’s death is not glamorised or stigmatised.

Make use of the support room

In the first few days, students are encouraged to use the support room.

Small groups

Later, it’s good to acknowledge the grief felt by family and friends. Staff can use individual class or other small group time for this. Think about doing this at the time of the funeral.