Death in the Scottish curriculum: denying or confronting?

S. Paul, L. del Carpio, P. Rodríguez, A. de la Herrán

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The important role of schools in supporting children experiencing bereavement is established, yet less is known about how school curricula include death as part of life and this limits our understanding of the systemic structures that shape children’s knowledge and experience of death. To address this gap, this paper discusses an analysis of the Scottish curriculum to explore the extent to which death features in compulsory education for children aged 3 to 15 years. The findings show that whilst death is present across the curricula, certain types of ‘knowing’ death are promoted, largely situated across religious teaching, which may limit children’s engagement with the multiple and complex ways in which death features across individual, social, physical, and relational domains. By integrating the concepts of death systems and death ambivalence, the paper develops new knowledge on the interplay between curricula and sense making around death in children’s lives that has practical utility.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalDeath Studies
Early online date28 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2023


  • bereavement
  • children
  • school curricula
  • bereavement support


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