1D: How schools cope with bereavement – putting support in place | HMC Autumn Conference 2023

HMC Autumn Conference 2023

2 October 2023 - 4 October 2023

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon

The changing nature of headship: Leading into the future
Conference headline sponsor:

1D: How schools cope with bereavement – putting support in place

Workshop synopsis:

However well prepared we are to handle individual bereavements in our schools and colleges, the last few years have highlighted the crucial role education settings play in supporting both our young people and staff teams through the natural process of loss and recovery. Over 90% of schools do not have any specialist training in bereavement yet 1 in 30 pupils will be recently bereaved. This workshop will be thought provoking and practical. It will provide an opportunity to share experiences with colleagues to build your own knowledge of effective bereavement support as well as providing an overview of what good bereavement support looks like. The session will build in a host-led Q & A discussion where participants will be encouraged to share best practice and resources with the group.

The session will include:

1.     An overview of grief and bereavement models

2.     Dealing with bereavement in difficult circumstances

3.     Action Planning  – discussions and Q & A

About Pat Sowa:

Pat Sowa is a former Head who has developed a rare depth of expertise in mental health and wellbeing for staff and students. She is sought out for her clarity of insight and humanity as well as her knowledge of wellbeing and pastoral care. She has a deep understanding of suicide prevention and bereavement support. She influences policy and practice both at local, regional and national level and works with a range of education settings across both the Independent and state sector at all stages.

Her work is dedicated to encouraging and empowering leaders in education to measure success not only in academic terms but in how well those in the community thrive: wellbeing in action.

Pat works as a Leadership Coach, Pastoral Consultant and Mental Health First Aid trainer in schools. She is a member of the Northeast Regional Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and contributed to the development the North Yorkshire Self harm and suicide Prevention Pathway developed by The North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board.

In 2020, Pat became a number one best-selling co-author of the powerful memoir ‘Take my Hand’ which explores the impact of physical and mental illness in young people. It gives insight and practical advice to educators and others supporting families in times of great difficulty. Pat says “We wrote the book to help others avoid what we went through. It’s the book I wish someone had given to me.”

In her inspiring keynote ‘Homage to H’ she invites us as educators – Guardians of the Future – to influence, and even shape, the kind of society we would like to see.

Pat is a trustee of Parentkind, an advocate for Papyrus, Prevention of Young Suicide and a newly appointed Governor of The Grammar School at Leeds.

“You taught people so much, nudging each of us to consider the way we work with young people and the expectations we make of them. Your presentation was utterly compelling, hard-hitting yet rooted in humanity” Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL

“You have changed lives today…I think that might be your superpower!” Dr Karen Edge, UCL

Key details
Pat Sowa, Director, Starfish: Wellbeing in Education
Room: Syndicate 1