I’m Aileen Mackay; head teacher of Smithton Primary and Early learning Centre and I also have a part time local authority remit working with universities and their student teacher programmes, working with first year teachers, representing Highland with the General Teaching Council for Professional Update and inducting new supply teachers in Highland.
I am honoured to be a part of the Change, Loss and Bereavement group and have made sure that all new teachers have ‘Change, Loss and Bereavement’ as part of the induction year programme under the theme of relationships and child safeguarding. It has been recorded by many teachers that this section of their induction has proved to be invaluable whether primary or secondary teacher.
As a head teacher one of the most valuable resources we use is the Seasons for Growth Parent Programme I find that this really helps parents and carers to have confidence in speaking with and listening to their children whether around the death of a loved one, a move of house or a change in family circumstances. I have seen parents blossom after receiving the sessions and, in turn, their children more relaxed and able to learn.
Understanding change, loss and bereavement allows us to better understand a young person’s behaviour and communication with us. It’s important that we enable young people to articulate their feelings and to express their emotions. Health and well being is core to every child or young person’s education. It is our responsibility to understand as much as we can about each young person we teach regardless of their age or the subject we teach.