Critical Incident, Trauma and Bereavement

Updated: 09/04/24

Critical Incident Support 


The Critical Incident Support Service is funded centrally for all LA schools and Early Years settings. Academies can access the Service by paying an annual subscription.  

Please click below for the latest copy of our termly newsletter: 

The Critical incident team Newsletter 2024 APR 24

We provide support to settings in a Critical Incident as well as consultations in relation to bereavement and recent trauma. Peer group supervision sessions relating to bereavement will be starting Spring 2024. Training on managing critical incidents and bereavement for senior leaders and supporting bereaved children in educational settings is provided to support staff develop their competence and confidence. You will find the latest courses here. We encourage settings to attend training and prepare for Critical incidents (Red Book procedures). 


A Critical Incident usually involves 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. Incidents may include the death of a child, or an adult closely associated with the school/setting. Equally, it may be an event causing injuries to pupils or staff which results in temporary or long-term disablement including road traffic accidents (school trip, school transport) or other events such as a fire. Support can also be offered 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. A member of staff being assaulted by a pupil may be experienced as traumatic, and support can be made available. This is not an exhaustive list, please do get in touch if you may need support.   


The Critical incident team are a team that provides emotional support, practical advice and containment to promote the well-being of the school community in times of crises, and to empower everyone in building resilience. We use evidence-based approaches to offer a quick response in a compassionate and empathic manner, helping schools to recover using the five key principles of safe, calm, connected, in control and hopeful (Hobfall et al, 2017). 


LA schools and subscribing settings are also welcome to access advice/consultation in relation to bereavements and recent traumatic events affecting individual members of their school community. A range of resources are also made available to settings. 


Please contact us if you would like further information or discuss a request for support: Dr Bianca Finger-Berry and Cherie Pointon (Critical Incident Specialist Support Leads): Tel: 01263 739064, 01603 222041 

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 Specialist Support Leads 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 2022-2023 we offered support/advice on 114 occasions and we visited 30 settings to offer support to pupils and staff, for example when a child or member of staff died. We also offered online support to staff, and EMDR where post-traumatic stress symptoms where present.

In addition to responding to incidents, the Critical Incident Leads provide consultations in relation to bereavement and trauma and support 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 and Cherie Pointon (Critical Incident Specialist Support Leads)

Tel: 01263 739064, 01603 222041 



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