Some young people who were in a group last year want to take part again now that a second group is planned for the school.
We have come across a few requests like this and I think if you receive such a request you’ll know you have done a really good job!
One way in which this can be addressed is through giving older pupils who have experienced GUAB a role as mentors to the new younger recruits. They attend the sessions, help them with the activities and encourage them by talking of their own experiences. It's a wonderful way for young people to stay involved if they feel they need to, but gives them a different role and a bit of responsibility.
If you have a lot of young people wanting to do the group again another follow-up session may be a good idea.
Our management have suggested that in future we deliver GUAB with a trained facilitator working alongside a member of school staff who hasn’t been trained.
As a general rule we feel it is very important that all facilitators have been trained. It is important that facilitators understand the solution focused basis of the programme and have had at least some basic practice in the approach.
Most facilitators have found that running a group is a lot easier when both are on the same wavelength.
Many GUAB groups in South Lanarkshire have been run solely by teachers, in their own school. When setting up a group with school staff it is important to consider the following points.
The school staff member needs to have undertaken GUAB facilitator training.
Teachers who are interested in undertaking the training and becoming facilitators should understand the difference between the two roles and manage this with sensitivity.
Groups often work well when one facilitator is a member of school staff.
Getting protected time can be a problem for school staff so management agreement is absolutely crucial – head teachers need to know what will be required of facilitators and be committed to ensuring time, resources etc. are given and ringfenced.
Therefore peripatetic staff from a variety of different professions, youth workers to public health nurses to voluntary agency staff are usually more flexible than class-committed school staff and can be a good facilitator.
Regarding building capacity in staff, this could be one of the most important things you can do, and something that could be done by you as trained facilitators. Since we first launched Give us a break! we have been offering awareness-raising seminars for schools and other groups (eg. children’s care home staff). This usually consists of a general session on bereavement and loss followed by an overview of the GUAB programme. We have carried out presentations lasting from about 1.5 hours to a full day.
The advantage is that all staff become more confident in dealing with these issues and are also more likely to recognise when a young person might be struggling with loss and grief and can then access help for them.
We’ll be happy to help with content, format etc. so please do get in touch if you would like to discuss your plans.
Training for Trainers is one area we have been hoping to develop. We are in discussions with colleagues in other authorities who are keen to work with us on this. However we are not quite there yet and meanwhile will continue to do the training ourselves. This will mostly take place here in South Lanarkshire. Upcoming training events will be posted on our website.
However if there are enough people requiring training in one area we would consider doing it off-site. If you think this may be helpful in your area do get in touch to discuss your needs.