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Critical Incidents

Page last updated: 24/07/2019

Schools can receive support from various services in the event of a critical incident occuring. To access this support, please contact the Schools Communication Team on 0333 013 9880 or schools.communication@essex.gov.uk (Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm). If you call and there is no answer, please leave a message. If a message is left between the above hours, someone will get back to you the same working day, however if you leave a message after these hours, your call will be returned first thing the next working day. View the full Guidance for Schools Reporting a Critical Incident (PDF, 122KB)

Critical incidents vary and may cause disruption to the school day, and have an impact on the school community. ​​​Schools should have an Emergency Management Plan in place so that they are prepared to deal with any incidents they may be faced with. Guidance on producing a plan can be found on the Department for Education website. 

Additional guidance for specific incidents is available below.

  • Bomb Scare / Terror Attack - Schools should also have Lockdown Procedures​ in place should there ever be a bomb scare or terror attack. Take a look at the guidance from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (May 2016) and the ​Young people's version of the Run, Hide, Tell video
  • Black Widow / False Widow SpidersHealth and Safety have advised that if only one spider is found, then a member of staff is to exterminate it. However if there is more than one spider, then the pest control team should be contacted to attend the school and remove them
  • Media - Should parents threaten to go to the media, or have used social media to complain then contact the Press Office on 0333 013 2800, or for out of hours situations 07717 867 525
  • Reporting Infectious Illnesses - Public Health have published guidance on Infection Control in Schools and Other Childcare Settings. For further support, schools should contact their Local Health Protection Team
  • Mental Health Concerns - Take a look at the information and resources available on the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Portal
  • Site Issues​ - 
    • ​​Boiler Issues - the minimum temperature must be 16 degrees C for staff and 18 degrees C for children. If schools wish to stay open, staff may wish to modify activities to work around the lack of hot water, e.g. cooking.
    • No Water - back up plans should be considered such as alternative systems / equipment, and how long these would last for. Contact the utilities company and consider whether children should be sent home
    • Potential Gas Leak - this should be checked as soon as possible in order to decide what action is needed
    • Flooding - Advice for employees impacted by flood
  • Weather Related Concerns - live weather warnings can be found on the Met Office website, or to prepare for a heatwave take a look at the guidance available on the Department for Education​ website
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