Bereavement Policy

Bereavement Policy

1. Overview

Ashbourne is committed to the health and wellbeing of all its community, especially in times of bereavement. Each bereavement is unique and may affect a variety of people in addition to the family concerned. We believe those affected should be given the space and time to grieve in their own way without fear of judgement and offered support to help deal with the bereavement.

2. Aim

This policy sets out a framework for our staff to use to develop a bereavement plan that is specific to each individual case and which offers appropriate practical and emotional support in a professional, sensitive and compassionate manner.

3. Bereavement situations

This policy applies to the following bereavement situations:

  1. Death of a student’s close family member or friend
  2. Death of a student
  3. Death of a member of staff or contractors’ close family member or friend
  4. Death of a staff member or contractor

Note: this policy does not cover deaths that occur on College premises or during College trips.

4. Designated Safeguarding Lead

Anyone informed of a death should contact Ashbourne’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) as soon as possible. The DSL will develop an individual bereavement plan in consultation with other senior members of staff and the family. The DSL will be the main contact and will coordinate the bereavement plan. They may also delegate responsibilities to other members of staff or external agencies where appropriate.

Designated Safeguarding Lead
Ms. Frances Burns

Email: [email protected]

Safeguarding Mobile: 07578 548 537

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Mr. Lee Kirby

Email: [email protected]

Safeguarding Mobile: 07951 510 224

4.1 Media

All enquiries from the Media relating to the bereavement will be dealt with by the DSL in consultation with the Director of Studies and the Principal. Any enquiries must be referred to the DSL.

5. Bereavement plan

5.1 Initial measures

The DSL will first contact the bereaved person or family to express condolences on behalf of the College. They will also discuss what practical and emotional support may be appropriate and how to proceed. This may include:

  • deciding who will be the main contact (usually the DSL) and how often they will communicate
  • setting a timeframe for returning to College
  • agreeing how to inform others about the bereavement
  • making arrangements to return personal items
  • addressing any administrative, academic, legal and financial issues

5.2 Further measures

The DSL will put in place plans to implement the initial measures. They will then consider what other measures are needed. This may require:

  • assessing who will be affected by the bereavement and to what extent
  • informing Ashbourne community members and others about the bereavement. This involves deciding who should be informed, when, how and by whom, and may include parents, external agencies or other colleges. Guidelines should be set out on how the news will be delivered in terms of content, tone and response
  • making immediate provisions in order to maintain the running of the College, e.g. teaching cover, transferring job responsibilities, bridging skills and leadership gaps, team support
  • making provision for emotional support: staff awareness consultations, setting up support networks, peer support groups, designating grief spaces, counselling, training and external agencies
  • making provision for practical support: academic support (e.g. absence agreements, extra tuition, extensions, mentorship, exam dispensations, deferment); employment support (cover, teacher replacement, bereavement/sick pay)
  • other considerations – assessing training requirements, funeral arrangements and absence, commemorations, discussing bereavement in PSHEE or Personal Tutor sessions

5.3 Review

The DSL will establish a timetable for review of the Bereavement Plan and make adjustments where appropriate.


Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2023
Effective date of the policy September 2023
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2024

Appendix A – Support agencies and organisations

Winston’s Wish

Child Bereavement UK

Childhood Bereavement Network

Grief Encounter

Hope Again

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