The one thing guaranteed in life and yet they won’t teach you about it':

The case for mandatory grief education in UK schools


  • Lesel Dawson University of Bristol
  • Rachel Hare University of Bristol
  • Lucy E. Selman University of Bristol
  • Tracey Boseley Child Bereavement UK
  • Alison Penny Childhood Bereavement Network



bereavement, grief, children, young people, education, schools


Nearly all British children will be bereaved of someone close to them by the time they turn eighteen and, with the COVID-19 pandemic and world humanitarian crises across the news and social media, they are being exposed to more anxiety about death than ever before. There is a growing awareness that grief education needs to be embedded into the UK national curriculum to help school pupils think and talk about death and prepare them to manage grief or support others. As it stands, although excellent teaching resources exist, there is no requirement for schools to cover grief, death and loss and many pupils have no classes about these difficult topics.


This article provides a narrative review of research on grief education in schools. We examine six key questions, summarising: evidence that children benefit from talking about grief, death and loss; studies on when and how to integrate the topics into the curriculum; and ways to overcome the teacher training gap. Following the lead of child bereavement charities and educational and mental health research, we identify a need for a coordinated national approach to teaching children and young people about grief, death and loss and offer evidence-based recommendations for its implementation.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

Dawson, L., Hare, R., Selman, L. ., Boseley, T. ., & Penny, A. (2023). The one thing guaranteed in life and yet they won’t teach you about it’:: The case for mandatory grief education in UK schools. Bereavement, 2.