Dealing with a critical incident

Definition of a critical incident

“A critical incident may be defined as any sudden and unexpected incident or sequence of events which causes trauma within a school community and which overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of that school.”

Managing a critical incident

The Education Authority has a critical incident response team who can be contacted to provide support to schools.

Critical Incident Line: 028 3751 2515

This number should be used by all schools to report a critical incident that has occurred both during the day and out of hours. The previous numbers are no longer in use.

Experience has shown that schools which have a Critical Incident Management Plan in place will handle the situation better.  

Guide to managing critical incidents in schools

The ‘Guide to Managing Critical Incidents in Schools’ was commissioned by the Department of Education as part of the ‘iMatter’ Programme.

The guide is based on the cumulative experience of school staff and personnel from external statutory and voluntary agencies.

The aim of the guide is to ensure a regional approach to dealing with critical incidents and is designed to help schools be prepared for a critical incident and to ensure effective management before, during and after the event. It is available for download and appendices, including some with ‘fill-in’ function, can be downloaded separately.

The guide is accompanied by a DVD available on EATV 

Additional information is available on the Education Authority website at Managing a critical incident 

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