We know that the current crisis will have an enormous impact on all our communities.
The scale of the crisis means that every single person will feel the impact in some way.
Sadly, we know that many people will be directly affected, and this will include adults and children in our school communities.
We know that a large number of people will become ill, some seriously so, and we also know that sadly, some people will lose their lives. This is an unimaginably difficult situation to face. School leaders are highly likely to find themselves having conversations with members of their school community that have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus. These conversations will range from speaking with people who are understandably worried and scared about the current situation, through to cases where a loved one has been lost.
Understandably, most of us will feel unprepared for such conversations and we will be concerned about the emotional impact that they will have on everyone involved.
NAHT has long standing relationships with a number of organisations that are able to offer support and practical advice in these extremely difficult areas.
The charity Winston’s Wish has produced a number of incredibly helpful advice documents, ranging from how to speak with children about coronavirus, through to supporting pupils who have lost a loved one. We have also worked alongside Winston's Wish to produce a template policy on bereavement that schools may wish to adapt and amend to suit their needs. In addition, educational professionals can access the Winston's Wish helpline: 08088 020 021. Professionals on this helpline will be able to offer you advice and support based on the specific situation you find yourself facing.
We also have a long-standing relationship with Education Support, a charity dedicated to supporting education staff. Their free, confidential helpline is available 24/7 with trained counsellors available to listen and help you find a way forward. Education Support is well placed to support leaders where coronavirus has had a direct impact on them personally.
Schools may also wish to ask their local authorities about the support that is available. Many local educational psychology teams have made themselves available to support schools and educational professionals during this difficult period.
First published 22 May 2020