Preparing for and responding to Critical Incidents

Updated: 24/08/16

Schools, academies and other organisations working with children are strongly recommended to prepare plans for a possible critical incident, and to use the Red Book structure with this in mind. Please ensure that your governors are fully aware of your plans. The Red Book needs to be revised every year, please log-in to download the latest version below.

A Critical Incident may be 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.

What it’s for:

The Critical Incident Support Line should be used to inform and request support from the Local Authority when a traumatic or tragic event has occurred. 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 results in temporary or long-term disablement, for example road traffic accidents involving pupils or staff. We can also offer support in relation to some incidents where the LADO is involved, as well as when you are expecting the death of a child or member of staff due to illness. If you need an urgent response, please call the pager, otherwise use the non-urgent numbers (CI Lead Officer: 07887 832413 or 01263 739064 or email This is not an exhaustive list, so please do get in touch if you need support in a Critical Incident.

If you need support in relation to a business continuity issue, you can get in touch with the NCC Business Continuity Team: The Resilience Team at County Hall provides expert knowledge, support and resources from Business Continuity Planners and Emergency Planners to help you plan for disruptions and deal with them when they occur. They have template documents for schools to complete and provide telephone support.

For further information about these services please contact the Resilience Team:

Tel: 01603 222016 or E-mail:


To access the Red Book 2017-2018, please register/log-in below and this will then be available to download from this page.

The Red Book 2018-2019 will be added to this website by the end of September to give all academies time to complete their purchase of the Critical Incident Subscription. If you have already subscribed or are a LA Authority school, please email for the latest copy of the Red Book.


Signup for an Account

For further content, please log in or register...