Best practice: loss, change and separation
Base: HM Condor, Arbroath
Local Authority: Angus Council
Angus Council has developed a Loss, Change and Separation resource which is a sustainable resource available to all schools on a lending basis. It aims to mitigate the effects of exceptional mobility and deployment and provide support for pupils during times of transition and loss. A resource box has been created for each of the four Double-Cluster Localities in Angus. Each box contains books, resources, and information to help develop practitioners’ knowledge of resources and information available to support Armed Forces families and those who have experienced loss, change and separation, particularly during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Through small group and individual work undertaken by the Service Family Liaison team, a need was identified. This was based on a recurring theme in the requests for targeted support across the Armed Forces community. Support was regularly requested from pupils, parents, and teachers when children and young people from Armed Forces families were facing a period of transition or loss.
Feedback and advice were sought from all stakeholders including pupils, parents, staff, and outside agencies. We met with Naval Families Federation, Children’s Education Advisory Service and Reading Force who provided a range of helpful resources and information. We worked in collaboration with the Educational Psychology Service and Additional Support Needs staff to plan and develop the resource. The Loss, Change and Separation resource was also linked with other sustainable resources and training available to support children and young people from Armed Forces families in Angus.
Inputs & outcomes
- We planned for sustainability of support through building capacity across the authority in relevant settings to ensure the resource can be used. independently to support pupils at times of transition and loss.
- Staff throughout the authority are aware of this resource and the use of the resources from the Loss, Change and Separation resource box in the wider context of classroom practice ensures a consistent and supportive approach is delivered to all and that children and young people from Armed Forces families are effectively supported at times of transition and loss.
- Feedback from parents, pupils and teachers who have accessed and used materials from the Loss, Change and Separation resource box has been positive.
- In conjunction with the Training resource which can be accessed independently staff now have a better understanding of the challenges faced by Armed Forces families and how they can effectively meet their needs.
- Children’s resilience and attitude to learning have improved. This is reflected in Learning Logs and Evaluations.
- Parental feedback shows positive impact on children and their learning and they also report increased confidence and motivation with learning.
“The Loss, Change and Separation resource box is an invaluable local resource. I recently had to look for something to help a family who had experienced a sudden bereavement. I found lovely books and references and I was able to offer the family a choice of things. The resource box made it possible for me to give support at a very difficult time when it can often be hard to find the right words.” A Teacher
“These resources have been a great way for the children I work with to be able to communicate their thoughts and feelings in a fun and simple way when facing a period of separation from a family member. It has given us new ways to explore different emotions and allow them to understand why they may feel happy, sad, angry, etc and what they can do when they feel that way. We always have good fun when using the resources and it’s lovely to see the children happy and engaged during these sessions.” A School and Pupil Support Assistant
“I really liked the activities; they were so much fun and helped me open up and talk about how I was feeling.” A Forces Child
“The resource really helped my son when his dad was away. I think the resources are well thought out and they helped to reassure him when he was having a really hard time.” A Forces Parent
Support use and engagement by following the tips below:
- The information, resources and activities are designed to help you extend your awareness of the challenges faced by Armed Forces families and to give you confidence to support children and young people facing a period of separation or loss.
- Trial the resources and suggested activities in the Loss, Change and Separation resource to familiarise yourself with resources and strategies that are available to support Armed Forces families during times of transition and loss.
- Access and read the theory behind the resource to help raise your awareness of the challenges faced by Armed Forces families as well as your knowledge of attachment and resilience to ensure children and young people from Armed Forces families are effectively supported in schools throughout Angus.
- Access the ‘Supporting Armed Forces Families’ Training resource to ensure you feel supported in your capacity to respond appropriately to the challenges faced by Armed Forces families through relevant guidance and support.
- Access suggested websites, books and films to develop your knowledge of resources and information available to support children and young people from Armed Forces families.
- Contact the Service Family Liaison Team with any questions or queries you have about providing effective support to any child from an Armed Forces family who is facing a period of transition or loss.
In the resource box
- The Invisible String – Patrise Karst
- The Copper Tree – Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley
- Always and Forever – Alan Durant
- The Day the Crayons Quit – Oliver Jeffers
- I Miss You – Pat Thomas
- My Daddy’s Going Away – Christopher MacGregor
- The Boy Who Didn’t Want to be Sad – Rob Goldblatt
- Sunday Chutney – Aaron Blabey
- Why do we have to move? – Joy O’Neill
- The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires
- The Hugging Tree: A Story About Resilience – Jill Neimark
- Childhood Bereavement: Developing the Curriculum and Pastoral Support – Nina Job
- A Terrible Thing Happened – Margaret M. Holmes
- Minty – Christina Banach
- Multicultural Emotion Hand Puppets – Pack of 6
- A Box Full of Feelings
- Miss Face
- Mr Face
- Let’s Talk Resilience Cards
- A bank of suggested activities to support children during times of transitions
- A list of suggested books and descriptions to support children during times of transitions
- A list of suggested websites containing information to help support children during times of transition and loss
- A list of suggested films to support children during times of transition and loss
- A theory folder which contains the background and thinking behind the resource as well as information for practitioners regarding the challenges faced by Armed Forces families and how they can effectively support them in schools.