Headteacher turns into grief specialist to educate others

DEBORAH Brown is using her own personal experiences of grief to help others.

She is more than headteacher at Buckton Vale Primary, Carrbrook, but also a grief recovery specialist.

Deborah is believed to be the only headteacher in Tameside to be one and possibly in the whole country.

She recently delivered a grief recovery course at Buckton Vale Primary to eight members of the community who work with young people.

They were the Rev Emma Handley, St Paul’s, Stalybridge; Rachel Brennan and Zoe Taylor Mossley Hollins High School; Sam Madden, Greenside Lane Primary; Andrew Fletcher, Arlies Primary; Kelly Titterington, Milton St John’s; Heidi Rowe, Gorse Hall Primary and Bev Oldham, Discovery Academy.

Deborah said: “I am so proud of all the staff who have dedicated their own time after school over four weeks and a total of 10 hours to learning to support children dealing with loss.

“One candidate said ‘Everyone working with young people needs to do this course. I have learned so much from it’.

“This grief recovery course offers much needed guidance to support young people through divorce, pet loss, death of a loved one and many other losses.

“What was amazing was the variety of people attracted to the course and their different roles and from many schools across Tameside. All of them work to support young people.”

Deborah explained how her own experiences influenced her decision to become a grief recovery specialist.

She said: “My mother died in August 2013 of breast cancer. She was 63 and it was awful but that was not the end of the sadness for me.

“My sister died of cryptogenic liver failure in August 2016. It was a year after her death I received a call from a parent going into palliative care.

“I made a lot of promises on the telephone to look at the child of that parent.

“It was after that call that I decided I needed to look at my own knowledge of how to support young people through loss in their lives.

“By complete chance an old friend Norry Ascroft, from Blackpool, shared he had just completed the course ‘helping children with loss’.

“I made the initial call to Catherine Best, a grief recovery specialist who delivered the course to Norry. Catherine came to Buckton Vale last January and we now have 14 members of staff who have completed the course.

“The aim is for all staff to do it and now I can deliver it myself as I completed the specialist training in October during half-term.

“It has been a challenging few years, but the grief recovery process has been a huge help to me personally and professionally. I am now enjoying sharing that knowledge with others.”

• Anyone interested in learning more about the course can email Deborah at: admin@bucktonvale.tameside.sch

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