Nelson’s Journey launches “School Friend” scheme

Cringleford CEVA Primary School is the first to be recognised by the Norfolk child bereavement charity. 

Nelson’s Journey has launched a new scheme to raise awareness of bereavement in Norfolk classrooms, and to celebrate and promote effective bereavement support in the county’s schools. 

Schools are now able to apply for recognition of their achievements against criteria identified by the charity as having an impact for bereaved children and young people. 

Cringleford CEVA Primary School has become the county’s first “School Friend of Nelson’s Journey” for meeting all the criteria.  

Rachel Bradshaw, Deputy Head at Cringleford CEVA Primary School, said: “The staff and children at Cringleford CEVA Primary School are so grateful for the support and guidance from Nelson’s Journey. 

“They have helped us navigate a truly difficult time by equipping us with the language and skills to talk openly about bereavement, allowing us to learn how to support everyone affected in our community, and walked with us through our grief journey.” 

Staff at Cringleford sought guidance from Nelson’s Journey & received bereavement training following the death of a Reception pupil in April 2023. 

Simon Wright, Chief Executive of Nelson’s Journey, said: “Around 1 in 29 of Norfolk’s schoolchildren have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. On average, every teacher in every classroom in Norfolk will have at least one young person in their class who has experienced the death of a close relative. The ability for schools and teachers to be able to understand and support childhood bereavement is essential and can make a real impact for those young people involved. As a charity, we want to highlight what Norfolk schools are doing really well in enabling and providing support and understanding, and to encourage others to develop their practice too.” 

Studies have shown that bereaved children are more likely to have lower academic outcomes and are less likely to achieve further and higher educational levels. The same studies concur that well-prepared support networks of educators and peers can help mitigate these potential problems. 

Louise Mundford, Business Support Officer at Nelson’s Journey, is co-ordinating the charity’s School Friend scheme: “Having worked as a teacher in Norfolk Schools for 20 years, I have seen first-hand what bereavement looks like in schools and this is not always consistent. Developing this new scheme will help to ensure that more conversations are being had in schools, and that young people are better supported through their bereavement.” 

To become a School Friend of Nelson’s Journey, schools can complete an online application form and will need to have: 

· A safe space for children to work with a child bereavement support worker or to talk to school staff 

· Had one or more staff members attend Nelson’s Journey’s Child Bereavement Awareness training 

· Delivered at least one bereavement activity in school 

· Shared bereavement support information with families 

· A named champion and contact on the school staff 

· Held a fundraising event in aid of Nelson’s Journey 

This scheme has been designed with teacher workload in mind; making it manageable and achievable for staff. Becoming a School Friend of Nelson’s Journey can prompt discussion in the staffroom and help initiate conversations with pupils. 

Norfolk Schools can apply via the Nelson’s Journey website on an online form at: 

Nelson’s Journey is also looking to recognise the impact that individuals working in schools have had for bereaved children and young people. 

Pupils, colleagues and families will be able to nominate a school staff member to receive an “NJ Badge of Recognition” for the support that they, as an individual, have given.