Dear Parents and Carers
I am writing to update you all on the health of Mrs Riley, who has been absent for some time now following her cancer diagnosis.
Unfortunately at the very end of last week we received news that she has passed away. She was in a hospice at St Peter’s for a very short period of time before she died, and although we have known of Mrs Riley’s illness for some time, it has still been a shock to us all to hear this sad news.
Obviously this has required us to take swift action in preparing the children for hearing the news in community and ensuring that they are able to begin a process of grief and say goodbye to Mrs Riley in their own way.
For this reason years 3 – 6 have today spent time with their teachers and support staff discussing the points below:
- What we remember about Mrs Riley.
- What we remember about her health from before the summer holidays.
- Children were told that unfortunately Mrs Riley has passed away.
- Children were given time to ask questions and these were answered honestly and sensitively but without going into excessive detail.
- Children were then given time to process the information however they wished. For some that was making a card, writing a letter or drawing a picture. Others chose to play with friends.
Children who we felt might be particularly sensitive, such as those who have lost relatives recently or who were particularly close to Mrs Riley, were either told in smaller groups at the same time or given close observation and support by the adults in their classrooms.
Children from Nursery to year 2 did not have the classroom discussion detailed above as their interactions with and memories of Mrs Riley will of course be minimal and we therefore wanted to avoid causing unnecessary distress.
We hope that you understand our attempts to inform and prepare all of the children for what lies ahead and we appreciate, as always, your support at what is very difficult time for many pupils, families and staff within our academy community.
There will soon be a book of condolence in our reception area to write any dedications in for her family.
We have access to trained counsellors and a good support network. If any of you would like to discuss this support for yourselves or your children please speak to myself, Jim Robinson or Paul Tooth,