Dear Parents and Carers,
It is with great sadness that I am informing you of the tragic death of Mrs. Elliott (formerly known as Miss Hansen), who was a teacher at Fordley Primary from September 2009 to July 2018. She was a well-known and much loved part of the Fordley Family and will be missed by so many. Mrs. Elliott died from an ongoing illness which she had been battling for several years. The family also wanted you all to know that she passed away peacefully on 29th September.
Our thoughts are with the family at this time and, in an effort to try and respond to her death in a positive manner, all children in Y5 and Y6 have been informed by me as the vast majority of them were either taught by her or knew her.
Should your child need to talk to any one of us following today’s news, please just let us know and we will take time with them to answer their questions or just listen.
I have also shared the sad news with Mr. Campbell, principal at North Gosforth Academy, as so many of the students there will remember Mrs. Elliott well. He has assured me that his Pastoral Care team will be on hand should anyone need to talk to a school adult.
Mrs. Elliott was a highly dedicated, determined, hard-working, caring and extremely professional teacher and part of our Fordley Family, despite moving onto a new school a couple of years ago.
She will be missed by us all and I ask that you keep her family in your thoughts during this very tough time, and be respectful of their wishes to avoid sharing this tragic news on social media.
Mrs C.L. Withers
Bereavement Advice and Support
Should your child need any support with this you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice or the website provides advice and support (click the link below):
WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD THROUGH THIS DIFFICULT TIME – PARENTS / CARERS
Children do not need to be taught how to grieve. They will do it naturally and in healthy ways if we allow them and if we provide a safe atmosphere, permission and example to do so.
· Listen carefully. Let them tell their story. Tell them that the reactions they are having are normal
· Pay extra attention, spend extra time with them, be more nurturing and comforting
· Reassure them that they are safe
· Don’t tell them that they are “lucky it wasn’t worse”. People are not consoled by such statements. Instead, tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and help them
· Do not be surprised by changes in behaviour or personality. They will return to their usual selves in time
· Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally. Help them to understand the relationship between anger and trauma. Help them ﬁnd safe ways to express their feelings e.g. by drawing, taking exercise, or talking
· Help them to understand that deﬁance, aggression and risk behaviour is a way to avoid feeling the pain, hurt and or fear they are feeling
· When going out, let them know where you are going and when you will be back
· If you are out for a long time, telephone and reassure them
· Tolerate regressive behaviour such as nail biting, thumb sucking, or the need for a night light
· Share your own experience of being frightened of something and getting through it
· If they are feeling guilt or shame, emphasise that they did not choose for this to happen and that they are not to blame. Even if they were angry with the person who died, or had been mean to them, this did not make it happen
· Work with the school support services and other available services
· As well as advising your child about appropriate use of social media, monitor their use, particularly during this vulnerable time. Useful website: www.webwise.ie