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A death associated with the school community
Adapted by Stuart Kerner

> Suitable for Whole School

> Aim
To draw the school community together and to facilitate the grieving process.

> Preparation and materials
  • This assembly is intended to form part of the grieving process and assumes that the initial news and perhaps shock have had time to sink in. It is suggested that the leader takes time for himself/herself before the assembly.
  • A useful leaflet called When a child in your school is bereaved can be downloaded from the Compassionate Friends (UK) at
  • Further excellent advice can be found at:

> Assembly

  1. Give a brief explanation of the purpose of assembly: to remember the person, and to offer practical advice and suggestions (a special place to go and be quiet, a book of remembrance, things to read and look at, the presence of a counsellor/chaplain in school).

  2. Allow for a short time of silence for the children’s own memories (not too long, to avoid over-emotional responses). Then play some music, perhaps the deceased person's favourite (but not a mournful piece).
  3. Explain what resources are available in the school to help them to come to terms with the death: a counsellor/chaplain, a quiet space, a book of remembrance, etc. Mention that those who go to counsellors may well not be those whose need is greatest, so everyone should be looking out for everyone else.
  4. Any of the following poems and readings are suitable, depending on the age and maturity of the students concerned:

    ‘Death is nothing at all’ by Canon Henry Scott Holland

    ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ by Mary Elizabeth Frye

    ‘What is dying?’ by Bishop Brent

    ‘Remember me when I am gone away’ by Christina Rossetti

    ‘When I die If you need to weep’ by Merrit Malloy

  5. Alternatively this reading from the Old Testament can have a calming, mantra-like effect, which will set a suitable tone to return to more mundane matters:

    Ecclesiastes 3.1-8: A Time for Everything

    There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under heaven:

    a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

    a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.


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