Published 21 March 2024

Children and young people in West Dunbartonshire schools and Early Learning Centres will receive additional help and support to cope with losing a loved one.

To meet demand for support, West Dunbartonshire’s Psychological Service has trained 62 companions to help children and young people through an eight-week programme, Seasons for Growth. Last year 200 pupils attended 32 sessions across primary and secondary schools.

The programme, which has 162 trained companions, is aimed at 6-18 year olds, assisting them in dealing with change, loss and grief.

Staff in primary and secondary schools took part in Child Bereavement UK training and training will be offered to employees in Early Years and those working in Specialist schools.

Universal staff training in bereavement will be updated with a calendar of training in all schools. A review to sharing information is also underway to ensure all employees are aware of young people affected by bereavement, giving pupils confidence that all support staff know their history.

A Seasons for Growth Parenting Programme will be developed for parents to support their child through change and loss with plans also to add bereavement to the curriculum. 

Resources recognising religion, culture and languages and schools supporting children with additional needs will be rolled out. Training will also be made available to adults looking after young people in care and those in placements outwith the area.

Councillor Clare Steel, Convener of Educational Services, said: “The loss of a loved one can be so hard for children and young people to comprehend. I welcome these additional measures which will help and support children and their families when they need it most to help cope with their loss. It is important for families to have access to timely and compassionate support to ensure the absolute best support is available whenever a family needs it.”

Councillor John Millar, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said:Bereavement and coping with loss is an extremely difficult time for everyone, regardless of their age. Having access to the right support that people can rely on is absolutely essential and can make a huge positive difference when dealing with grief.”