Norfolk-based bereavement charity, Nelson's Journey, has rolled out a new School Friend initiative.

Schools can apply for recognition of their achievements against criteria identified by the charity as having an impact for bereaved children and young people.

Cringleford CEVA Primary School has become the county’s first School Friend of Nelson’s Journey.

Rachel Bradshaw, deputy head at the school, said: "The staff and children at Cringleford CEVA Primary School are so grateful for the support and guidance from Nelson’s Journey.

“They have helped us navigate a truly difficult time by equipping us with the language and skills to talk openly about bereavement, allowing us to learn how to support everyone affected in our community, and walked with us through our grief journey."

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Cringleford staff reached out to Nelson's Journey following the death of a reception pupil in April.

Simon Wright, chief executive of Nelson’s Journey, said: “Around one in 29 of Norfolk’s schoolchildren have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. On average, every teacher in every classroom in Norfolk will have at least one young person in their class who has experienced the death of a close relative.

“The ability for schools and teachers to be able to understand and support childhood bereavement is essential and can make a real impact for those young people involved."

Research indicates lower academic outcomes and decreased likelihood of pursuing further education among bereaved children.

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However, supported by robust networks of educators and peers, it is hoped these issues can be mitigated.

Louise Mundford, business support officer at Nelson’s Journey and coordinator of the charity’s School Friend scheme, said: “Having worked as a teacher in Norfolk Schools for 20 years, I have seen first-hand what bereavement looks like in schools and this is not always consistent.

“Developing this new scheme will help to ensure that more conversations are being had in schools, and that young people are better supported through their bereavement.”