Headteacher writes to parents on ‘devastating’ death of Riley Jackson

Ilkeston schoolboy Riley Jake Jackson, six, died in a fire at his family home on Friday, October 26.
Ilkeston schoolboy Riley Jake Jackson, six, died in a fire at his family home on Friday, October 26.

The headteacher of an Ilkeston infant school has spoken of her ‘utter devastation’ at the death of pupil Riley Jackson in a fire last weekend.

Helen Smith of Larklands Infant and Nursery School, on Park Road, wrote to parents and carers to express her sorrow and outline plans for pupils return from their half-term break on Monday, November 5.

She said: “Myself, the staff, governors and everyone connected with the school are all utterly devastated by his tragic death.

“Riley was a sensitive, gentle and kind little boy and was settling well into his new class and he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.”

She added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and classmates and we will do everything we can to support them through the difficult time ahead.”

The headteacher is preparing to address Riley’s classmates in year one, together with year two, to help them begin to process the loss of their friend and its impact on the school community.

She said: “Monday will be a more relaxed day in school to allow children the time to think about Riley and express their feelings if they wish to.

“Riley’s family have requested for the moment that Riley’s coat peg and tray remain in school. They are happy for flowers to be left at the home or at school should you wish.”

An educational psychologist from Derbyshire County Council will be based at the school in order to talk to any staff and pupils who may need additional support.

The school has also issued guidance for parents and carers on ways to help grieving children. For information, go to https://goo.gl/ZjqAR4.

Cards can be sent to the family via the school office.

Any donations made in his memory will go to the three charities which helped Riley when he was born with a heart condition: Keep the Beat and Heart Link Children’s Charity, based at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, and the Patches Heart Group.