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Critical incidents

Critical incident support service

The Critical Incident Support Service provides support to schools, academies, subscribing independent schools and Early Years settings in a Critical Incident.

The Critical Incident Service can be accessed by phoning the Critical Incident Support Line, which is operated by a pager company who takes a message (please provide your name, phone number and a very brief outline of the issue) and then passes it on to the Critical Incident Lead via text.

Critical Incident Support Line - 07623 912974

The Critical Incident Officer will be able to guide you through the process of alerting other key services and will offer advice on how to deal with the immediate impact of a critical incident. A range of other key individuals and services can be alerted. Foremost among these will be education professionals trained in trauma management and psychological support, who will support you as you come to terms with the consequences of a critical incident.

A Critical Incident is defined as “an event or events, usually sudden, which involve the experience of significant personal distress to a level which potentially overwhelms normal responses, procedures and coping strategies, and which is likely to have emotional and organisational consequences.”

An example of a critical incident may be the unexpected death of a child or an adult closely associated with the school/setting. Equally, it may be an event causing injuries which result in temporary or long-term disablement. In case of an expected death of a member of the child or member of staff you can use the Critical Incident Support Line if an urgent response is required, otherwise please use the contact numbers listed under consultation below.

This is what headteachers said: “Being able to talk about the situation as a head was invaluable.” “Until I was in the situation, I didn’t appreciate how many decisions needed to be taken and how significant the impact could be if we got them wrong. The support was excellent, and we needed every bit of it.

Consultation and training

The Critical Incident Support Team is also able to provide consultations in relation to bereavement issues, and support schools and academies in referring children to appropriate services. You can also access free places on our training sessions. We offer training for headteachers/principals and school/academy senior leaders about ‘Managing a Critical Incident’ which will help you to plan and be prepared, as well as training for any member of staff through ‘Supporting bereaved children in school communities’. These are currently taking place as webinars, but will run again as face-to-face courses when appropriate. We are also delighted to share with you our sample self-harm policy for schools which was launched on Friday, 9 October 2020.

Your commitment to us

In the event of a Critical Incident, please inform us as soon as possible. If you would like some non-urgent advice, please send us an email. When you ask for our support, please provide us with all the relevant information, so that we can provide you with the best possible support.

Our commitment to you

We will work in partnership with you to provide you with high quality professional support in the event of a Critical Incident. Our aim is to respond to a request for urgent support within two hours.

Further details

If you would like further details, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Bianca Finger-Berry, Critical Incident Lead Officer, please email or phone 07887 832413.

For further information and guidance, please see the Critical Incident, Bereavement and Trauma section on the Educational Psychology & Specialist Support website.