The management of death and loss in the primary school: an interdisciplinary approach.

Gray, L. L. (2016) The management of death and loss in the primary school: an interdisciplinary approach. Doctoral theses, University of Chichester (an accredited institution of the University of Southampton).

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This study examines what teachers actively do to manage bereaved primary school children and whether implementation of death and loss education is hampered by lack of government policy, poor finance, teachers’embarrassment, or teachers’ workload. An interdisciplinary design incorporates history, psychology, English and the professional discipline of education. It uses a qualitative method to explore whether school policy and practice for helping bereaved children is affected by the wider influence of past historical events and increased pressure on teachers to improve academic results. Qualitative findings are broadened by modest quantitative findings from questionnaires sent to a purposive sample of thirteen Southern England primary schools. These findings support prior research suggesting an absence of school-level death and loss education policy and negligible complementary teacher training via ITT and CPD.
Significant findings show that CPD prioritises curriculum subjects which attract supply teacher funding and that the impact of academic testing reduces teachers’ time to talk with bereaved children. Identified is the lack of government policy for supporting bereavement in primary schools, contrasting with a wealth of policy for raising academic standards, suggesting a preference for measuring children’s wellbeing by academic results rather than emotional happiness. The effect of reduced school-based counselling support, teachers’ professional concerns at losing emotional control and the effect of historical events, are factors considered contributory to adult awkwardness with discussing death and loss in schools. An original contribution to knowledge in the fields of educational practice and children’s literature explores how teachers could use developmental bibliotherapy for bereaved children. Despite the availability of children’s fiction, developmental bibliotherapy is not widely implemented by teachers in Britain. Thesis findings support the need for government policy to improve the wellbeing of bereaved children and for the implementation of school-level death and loss education policies. Appropriate teacher training through ITT and CPD is called for, to maximise teachers’ professional confidence with bereaved children.

Publication Type: Theses (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Childhood
Student Research > Doctoral
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 15:22
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2019 08:23

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