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Critical Incidents

Page last updated: 22/02/2023

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Critical incidents vary and may cause disruption to the school day. They may also have an impact on the school community. ​​​​

Schools should have an Emergency Management Plan​ in place. This will help you prepare for and managed incidents. 

Examples of critical incidents can include:

  • ​death of staff member, pupil or member of the school community
  • serious accident involving pupils or staff members
  • a major fire in a school or any other educational settings
  • an event seen outside of the school (such as a serious assault or accident)
Take a look at the guidance below to help you respond to specific incidents as necessary. 
If you need more support, you can complete the Notification Form​ and select 'yes' to support. 
Please send completed forms to 
The Schools Communication Team review the form and coordinate the support between services​. The requested services will then make contact with you, within 24 hours.
To discuss available support, call the Schools Communication Team on 0333 013 9880.

 This line monitored Monday to Friday 8am - 4pm. If you call and there is no answer, ​please leave a message. If you leave a message between the mentioned hours, someone will get back to you the same working day. If you leave a message after these hours, the team will return your call first thing the next working day. ​

​​Incidents involving a death

If the incident involves a death within your community but you do not require support, you should:
  • fill in the notification form
  • select 'no' to support
  • return it to the email above

Guidance for specific incidents is available below.

Guidance for Specific Incidents:

Coping with Bereavement

​Schools should consider preparing for such an eventuality. Consider developing a Bereavement Policy. Have a look at the supporting documents available:

​Bomb Scare or Terror Attack

Schools should have Lockdown Procedures​ in place. 

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (May 2016) has some further guidance. 

There is also a ​Young people's version of the Run, Hide, Tell video

Black Widow or False Widow Spiders

Health and Safety have advised that if you find one spider then a member of staff is to exterminate it. 

If you find more than one spider, contact the pest control team to attend the school and remove them


If parents threaten to go to the media or have used social media to complain. 

Contact the Press Office on 0333 013 2800. For out of hours situations call 07717 867 525

Reporting Infectious Illnesses

Health Protection Guidance for Schools​ - 5 May 2022

Public Health 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

Find information and resources on the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Portal

Weather Related Concerns

Site Issues (boiler, water, ​gas):

Your response to site issues will depend on the circumstance and urgency. Schools should seek advice from competent persons (for example, Gas Safe Engineer) as soon as possible. They can help make a decision on whether the premises can remain open, or if they need to temporarily close.

Schools may need further advice after having speaking to their competent person. If so, they can speak with their property consultant. Consultants will have an expert opinion on the building related issues. They can also be more familiar with the specific building in discussion.

ECC schools, or those that buy in to the health and safety service can also contact the Health and Safety team for general advice. 

Flooding - Advice for employees affected by flood