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Regarding School Closure on Monday 11th March

Additional Support 

Letter 12.3.2024


Dear Parent/Carers

I am writing to you with the very sad news that one of our Year 1 teachers,  
Mrs  Jo  Porter,  died over the weekend (suspected suicide). Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

Following guidance from the Educational Psychologist team, all of the children were given this news by their teacher in classes this morning in an open but age appropriate manner.
The following announcement was read out to them

“I’ve got some really sad news to tell you today that might upset you. Jo/Ms Porter, who many of you will have known from teaching some of you, and seeing her around school, sadly died on Sunday at home. Over the next few days and weeks, in school, we will be doing some activities together to remember Jo/Ms Porter.

It is ok if you have questions, I will do my best to answer them honestly. I know many of you will be feeling lots of different emotions, and that is absolutely okay. If you feel like you need to talk to somebody, then you know you can talk to (teachers/teaching assistants/wider staff), if you need to.

Please remember to use the class worry box if you have any worries or questions that you would rather write down.”

It was important to share the news with all children in a clear and consistent manner. Further information is also attached to help support your conversations at home along with guidance for frequently asked question and guidance on how to respond to those questions.

Support has been available to all children throughout the day, members of our team are being guided by advice given from the Educational Psychologists. If you feel your son/ daughter needs further  support in school please get in touch with Mrs Sheward, our family support worker via the school admin email address (

We know that you may be concerned about your child’s reaction or expressions of feelings about this news. If you can, try to talk with them about positive ways to manage problems.  Two important messages are that all of us should seek the help of others when we are feeling down or vulnerable and that young people should tell an adult if they are worried about a friend.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be concentrating on supporting children and staff affected by this death. This not only includes children in her class, staff with whom she had close relationships with, but also those for whom this news triggers feelings of sadness and loss due to events in their own lives. We plan to provide this support whilst also returning the school to normal routines as soon as possible.

Information about the funeral service will be made available as soon as we have it.

If you would like to speak to a member of staff about your child’s response to this sad news or any aspect of the content of this letter, please contact the school admin.

The Stowe Church will host a space for people of all faiths and those of no faith at the Stowaway today, Tuesday 12th March, from 11.15am -1.30pm. Parents and Carers are welcome to drop in and have a hot drink and a chat if they feel this would be helpful. Parents/Carers can also pay their resects by lighting a candle, writing in a book of remembrance and or praying.

Rev Owen Green and Rev Ali Boulton will be on hand to listen and/or offer support as appropriate.

We are grateful to have such a strong community around the school. We thank you for your support and patience as we navigate this difficult time.

The Samaritans offer a listening service for anyone who is in distress or has been affected by this death. They can be contacted on Tel. 116, 123, text SHOUT to 85258 or visir their website.
If you would like further information to support your children Winstons Wish has a range of resources to support children with bereavement.

We thank you for your support and patience over the last day or so.




Mrs P Phillips
Head Teacher



Explaining the very sad death of Jo/ Ms Porter to the children.

Some general information for how children respond to death:

1–3 years

Very young children do not understand that death is permanent. They may constantly ask when the dead person is coming back. They sense when adults are upset and react to the emotions of those around them. They may become insecure and become frightened when separated from a parent. They may regress and behave like a baby.

3–7 years

Ward (1995) describes this as the ‘magical thinking’ stage. Children of this age are very egocentric. They may believe that they are responsible for whatever happens. Those who are bereaved may therefore believe that they are to blame for the death. If this feeling is not explained, they may carry the guilt for the rest of their lives. Children of this age can react casually to the news of the death but may ask about it at a later stage. Some children may believe that the dead person will return. Some will believe that they might die as well.

8–12 years

At this age, children begin to realise that death is permanent. They also recognise that they will die one day. They may also feel resentful if there is less attention at the time of the death or immediately afterwards.

Before sharing the news. Try to have another adult in the room. Talk about how you can give each other a moment if one of you needs it. Reduce the general pressures for yourself in any way you can today.

Frequently asked questions

Don’t panic if you don’t know the answer to a question. If a question comes up that you are not sure how best to answer give yourself time to consider the best answer for example use a phrase such as:

We don’t know the answer to that yet, but will tell you as soon as we know

Some suggestions for some questions and answers:

  • What does death mean?

When someone has died their body stops working and this means that they don’t need anything to eat or drink and they can’t feel anything anymore. Because their body has stopped working, they can’t come back to life, even though we may really want them to.

  • When do people die?

Many people die because they’re very old and their body is worn out. But not everyone who dies is very old.

  • Is death forever?

Yes. When someone dies nothing can bring them back to life.

  • When will I/you die?

I don’t know. Probably not for a long time yet.

  • What happens after death?

No one knows for certain what happens after someone dies. Different people have different ideas and beliefs although many share some of the same ones.

If questions come up that connect to culture or religion Respect the family’s or young person’s beliefs. It is reasonable to acknowledge difference by using phrases like, ‘Some people believe that…’. This is a useful approach to questions that don’t have a definitive answer, such as, ‘What is heaven like?’ There are many different views, but nobody can be certain.

  • Was it my fault?

It’s not your fault that they died. Being naughty doesn’t make someone die. And being kind and loving someone can’t stop them from dying either – nor do wishes and thoughts. Everyone says and does things that later they wish they hadn’t.

  • How did she die?

We don’t know exactly how.

  • Why did she die?

We don’t know why.

  • Who is going to be my teacher? (for those in France Class)

For this week Mrs Hodges going to be your teacher. There will always be someone who is looking after you. You can always visit Mrs Sheward and Mrs Phillips too. We are working hard at to get the right person to teach France moving forward.