Critical Incident and Bereavement Support: Educational Psychology Service
The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) provides advice and support for children and staff who have been involved in events that involve death, serious injury, violence or trauma.
These events are comparatively rare but such is their impact, the service believes it is important to have the capacity to respond in these circumstances. On average, the EPS has been called in to schools, for involvement in such incidents, less than two times per academic year.
In the first instance, schools should contact their educational psychologist (EP) who will try to respond within the same day to arrange a meeting. The purpose of this initial contact is to:
- Provide support at this difficult time.
- Identify the school’s needs and develop a brief action plan.
- Provide information, referring to the Bereavement and Loss guidance, which includes sections on critical incidents and dealing with the media.
- Offer a level of on-going support, for example in being available to talk through actions and by keeping in touch as the situation develops.
The EPS works closely with Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in deciding on the best response to schools in such circumstances.
Schools should also refer to the guidance provided in Supporting children young people and schools through bereavement and loss
Key points to consider when devising an action plan:
- The importance of clear, accurate communication with both children and parents about what has happened, to dispel both rumour and misunderstandings.
- The importance of providing normality and routine for children and young people.
- The importance of giving children and young people opportunities to talk, such as a room set aside with an experienced staff member present or time set aside to carry out some practical activity in a comfortable setting.
- The importance of identifying vulnerable children and young people, who lack resilience.
- The importance of monitoring children and young people over a period of a month to six weeks, after which further help should be sought if high levels of distress persist.
Emergency Planning Team (Level 3) - 01629 538364
DC Extreme Emergency (Carelink 24) - 01332 642203
Social Care (out of hours) - 01332 956607
Child Protection (office hours) - 01332 641172
People’s Services School organisation and planning - 01332 642732
DC Head of Press and Communications - 01332 643500
Andrew Kawalek (Educational Psychologist) - 07812 302042
Richard Lakin (Principal Educational Psychologist) - 07812 301671