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Safeguarding and suicide: A briefing paper for the Further Education and Skills sector

Having a member of staff or learner take their own life is a traumatic experience for peers to have to deal with. When events such as these occur in a close knit community, the repercussions are felt throughout the organisation both in the moment and several months later. Everyone is affected. It is often the first time young people experience the death of someone in their own age group.

Published by LSIS in 2013, this briefing paper evolved out of the experiences of Highbury College, Strode College, and Loughborough College. These colleges, like some others, developed a whole organisational approach to safeguarding, including around the issue of suicide.

Policies, processes and practices need to consider suicide from both a learner and staff perspective and make it very clear what people should do if they are concerned about another learner or member of staff. Providers should also ensure there is information, advice and guidance if staff or learners have concerns about a friend or relative.

It is the responsibility of every member of staff - strategic and operational, academic and non academic - to know what to do and how to respond when they suspect a learner or colleague is considering taking their own life, has attempted to take their own life or has taken their own life.

Every organisation has the potential to be affected by suicide and it is important they consider how they act in order to:

  • ensure they do all they can to prevent someone taking their own life
  • respond effectively in a crisis
  • support staff and learners afterwards

Whilst this briefing paper has been developed from the experiences of FE colleges its content will be relevant to all providers in the further education and skills sector. 

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