Suffolk schools praised by hospice staff for their open conversations

Ormiston Academy's Rachel Zagni and Rob Ilett of St Elizabeth Hospice

Ormiston Academy's Rachel Zagni and Rob Ilett of St Elizabeth Hospice - Credit: St Elizabeth Hospice

Half a dozen Suffolk schools have been praised by St Elizabeth Hospice for their role in encouraging young people to open up about death and bereavement.

Schools across Ipswich and south Suffolk have been awarded by the hospice as part of its 565 service, which provides emotional and bereavement support for children living with a family member with progressive illness.

Chantry Academy, Ormiston Endeavour Academy, Stoke By Nayland Church of England Primary School, Shotley Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School in Hadleigh and Nacton Church of England School have all earned accreditation.

Rob Ilett, children’s specialist counsellor for St Elizabeth Hospice, said it is "fantastic" to see more schools taking part.

He said: “At any age the conversation subject of death and bereavement is often seen as ‘taboo’ but it is really important to have these open conversations, particularly at a young age, in order to help each other.

“During the last year, Covid-19 has seen many of our community impacted by death and bereavement of a friend or a loved one.

"There is no right or wrong way to experience grief or to think about death and dying, but through having honest conversations with a trusted relative, friend, teacher or a counsellor we can make a real difference and make living with loss easier for us all.”

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Rachel Zagni, of Ormiston Endeavour Academy, one of those to be recognised, said: “Dying to Talk was inspiring, and working with our really knowledgeable facilitator ensured that any awkward or difficult conversations or questions were dealt with sensitively.

“We found the hospice to have a peaceful atmosphere from the moment we walked in the door, and having an insight into some of the spaces and artwork that are there was invaluable as it made us think about what we would want in our school for those special places students can access to talk openly about sensitive conversations.”

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