Critical Incident, Trauma and Bereavement

Updated: 12/05/22

The Critical Incident Support Service provides support to schools, academies, independent schools and Early Years settings in a Critical Incident. Procedures for dealing with a Critical Incident can be found in the ‘Red Book’. All Local Authority Schools have access to the service, whilst academies and independent schools have the option to pay an annual fee for accessing Critical Incident Support.

An example of 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. Support can also be offered in relation to some incidents where the LADO is involved, as well as when settings expect the death of a child or member of staff due to illness. When a child dies, we may contact you pro-actively so that you can be prepared and have the opportunity to access advice and support if needed.

The Critical Incident Service can be accessed by phoning the Critical Incident Support Line, which is a pager system to ensure countywide coverage. The Critical Incident Lead 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. In school support is available from professionals trained in trauma management and psychological support, who will support you as you come to terms with the consequences of a Critical Incident. This may be at two levels, immediate telephone advice and, where appropriate, allocation of a team to visit the school and support the school community.


We work in partnership with professionals in other agencies (health, police, voluntary agencies, etc.) to offer the best possible support to schools.

In 2018-2019 we offered support/advice on 82 occasions and we visited 29 settings to offer support to pupils and staff, for example when a child or member of staff died.

In addition to responding to incidents, the Critical Incident Lead Officer provides consultations in relation to bereavement and trauma and supports settings in referring children to other services. You can also access free places on our training sessions. We offer training for 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: ‘Supporting Bereaved Children in School Communities’, which is also available as in-house training.

The Critical Incident Lead Officer is also currently involved with work relating to suicide prevention (schools), as well as the teaching of death and bereavement.

Please see the ‘Information‘ section for further resources for subscribing members. You can purchase the annual Critical Incident Support Subscription via the Services for Schools website.



If you would like further details, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Dr Bianca Finger-Berry (Critical Incident Lead Officer)


Mobile:      07887 832413

Tel:     01263 739064


This is what school leaders said:

‘Head teachers are not trained to deal with all incidents. It is essential to have an expert team not only to offer advice over the phone but to be a physical presence. The team made the most incredible difference when emotions are running high and the school was in crisis. I cannot rate them highly enough (Headteacher, May 2018)’.

‘The professionalism and support has been second to none and as a school, we would not hesitate in gaining the services of the critical incident team at a time of crisis. Without the support of the team our academy would not have managed in supporting the whole school through the bereavement of one of our students, from the point of being told of the incident, right through to post coroner’s inquest.’


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