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Critical Incidents

Page last updated: 28/05/2020

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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, in preparation for an incident should one occur.

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 / setting
  • an event seen outside of the school (such as a serious assault or accident)
Should you have to respond to an incident, please take a look at the resources available below. These should help you respond as necessary.

If you need support after having looked at the resources, please complete the Notification Form and select 'yes' to support. 

Please send completed forms to schools.communication@essex.gov.uk 

If you do not need support then do not complete the form. However if the incident involves a death within your community please complete the form and select 'no' to support and return it to the email above. 

The Schools Communication Team will pick the form up and pass it on to relevant services for support and information. The requested services will then make contact with you, within 24 hours.

To discuss what support is available, please 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. 

Additional guidance for specific incidents is available below.

Guidance for Specific Incidents:

  • Coping with Bereavement - ​schools should consider preparing for such an eventuality and consider developing a Bereavement Policy. Have a look at the supporting documents available:
  • Bomb Scare / 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 / 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, then the pest control team should be contacted to attend the school and remove them
  • Media - 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 IllnessesPublic 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 - information and resources are 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 adapt activities to work around the lack of hot water, e.g. cooking.
    • No Water - consider back up plans such as alternative systems and equipment. You should also identify how long these would last for. Contact the utilities company and consider whether to send children home
    • Potential Gas Leak - get this checked as soon as possible to decide what action to take
    • Flooding - Advice for employees affected by flood
  • Weather Related Concerns