Critical Incident, Trauma and Bereavement

Early Years Settings are able to access support in case of a Critical Incident, just like schools can.

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.

Critical Incident Support Line – 07623 912974 (8a.m.-6p.m. Mon-Fri)

Norfolk County Council – 0344 8008014 (out of hours – serious incident)

For further information and procedures please access the Early Years Red Book at the bottom of the page (please register/log-in for access) . It was adapted specifically for the needs of young children and contains procedures, advice and sample letters that may be used in the event of a critical incident.

The Critical Incident Line is a contact number for settings to use 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.

Equally, it may be an event causing injuries which result in temporary or long-term disablement. An example of this might be a noxious chemical leak or a road traffic accident involving pupils in transit.

If you would like some non-urgent advice about a parental death or a general bereavement issue, you can phone the Critical Incident Lead Officer on her office number on 01263 739064 or email

Training for Early Years Settings is also available. We offer two courses, supporting young children who are bereaved, and managing Critical Incidents in Early Years Settings. Please refer to the Early Years Training Department for further details.