Supporting school children after terrorist incidents

The threat level in the UK USC currently Severe . Schools need to consider this advice in their risk assessments for out-of-school trips.

There are areas which may give greater cause for concern, like London and other big cities, but it seems that any crowded areas may be at risk. As the attacks in Manchester and at London Bridge on Saturday 3rd June shows, we must be vigilant and be prepared not only with a pre-visit risk assessment, but with a readiness to put in place at dynamic risk assessment whilst out with pupils.

Children will certainly notice that there is heightened security in London, Birmingham and Manchester which may include armed police and, on occasion, soldiers. For children unused to this, they may be worried by it.

There is no specific guidance from the government to schools, but some of the advice issued previously by local authorities may help. This is advice from the London Borough of Havering: Keeping children safe on school trips

In the event of a terrorist incident, it is likely that there will be road and transport closures, and this may lead to delays being able to return home. It will be sensible to ensure that children have a bottle of water, and a small snack in their bag in case of delays. There is no need to tell the children why, just say that they need to save it for the journey home. Don’t forget to take extra medication for any child who may need it.

In a major event, parents may be concerned and start to ring the school for information, they may even know before you do via texts and social media posts from their children. Consider how you will keep parents informed and reassured.

Further Information

Visits and the threat from terrorism (Outdoor Education Advisors’ Panel)

Resources for helping children cope

Advice if you’re upset by the news (Newsround)

Supporting children worried about terrorism (NSPCC)

Responding to children and young people affected by the media coverage of the incident in Manchester (Winston’s Wish – pdf)

Responding to children and young people affected by the media coverage of the incident in Manchester (Winston’s Wish – webpage)

How to talk to children about terrorism (The Conversation)

Age Appropriate Support Guideposts Following a Traumatic Event – Parry and Oldfield

Supporting children after a frightening event (Leaflet from David Trickey, Consultant Clinical Child Psychologist

How to explain the horror of terrorism to your children (Telegraph)

Recognising the terrorist threat (HM Govt.)

Coping with stress following a major incident (NHS)

Citizen Aid app for iOS and Android

Sadly, we live in complex times, not without a risk of terrorism as we saw most recently in London and Manchester. The first few minutes after an incident are the most important when attempting to save lives. Four experienced UK civilian and military clinicians have created an app, CitizenAid, to provide a quick guide to tackling the immediate issues after a terrorist event.

Find out more at the CitizenAid website:

You can download the free app here: 

CitizenAid Android

CitizenAid iOS

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