This section provides bereavement advice for school staff to assist them to support pupils who experience the bereavement of a family member. i.e. parent/carer, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend. School staff are in a unique position to support bereaved pupils in their class or school community. School and its routine provide stability, security, continuity, and above all a familiar structure for a pupil whose world may have been turned upside down following a bereavement in the family. The resources below provide age appropriate guidance for staff to best support a bereaved pupil as they mourn and grieve.
What is a critical incident?
A critical incident may be defined as any sudden and unexpected incident or sequence of events which cause trauma within a school community and which overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of that school.
The best preparation which schools can make is to have their own Critical Incident Policy and Management Plan in place. This will enable them to mobilise their resources promptly and effectively.
Ideally schools should have their own critical incident team with each member having clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
What to do when a critical incident happens
The serious injury or death of a pupil, member of staff or member of the school community can challenge the very heart of a school and its ability to cope.
It is therefore very important that, if such an incident occurs, the staff particularly the Principal and Senior Management Team receive effective support and guidance in meeting such challenges if required.
The Education Authority, in seeking to provide an effective response, has a procedure in place to ensure that appropriate support is available to assist schools.
The role of the Education Authority’s Critical Incident Response Team is to enhance the school's pastoral care system by providing advice, support and resources to allow the school staff to successfully manage a critical incident.
When a critical incident happens schools can contact the Education Authority Critical Incident Response Team at 028 3751 2515.
The Critical Incident Response Team Coordinator will speak with the Principal to gather the facts of the situation; provide advice and guidance and arrange for member/s of the EA critical incident response team to be available in school for support, if required.