Relationships, Crises and Responses in Schools

  • Working as a team for crisis intervention
  • A 'game-plan' for responding to emergencies
  • Crisis Communications with Team members
  • Keeping everyone safe before-during-after.

Crisis INCIDENT training for schools
preparing for Distressed behaviours

Develop your team's ability to work in concert, when faced with a crisis.

It is a school leadership team's worst scenario - a young person on campus who is in an emotional crisis and who may harm themselves or others.

Who attends as the crisis first responder? How can the rest of the team support them? What are the pre-incident preparations you can make which will be effective to manage the situation?

This course was developed side-by-side with members of school SLT who responded and coordinated response to multiple incidents in their school. Lessons were learned - training, preparation and practice may be key.

  • Phases of Crisis Behaviour
  • Crisis Behaviours
  • Emotional Disturbances
  • Team Action, Focus, Awareness
  • Team Communications
  • Policy and Procedures
  • Debriefing and Post-Incident
  • Whole Scenario Practice

Holding the Centre when Children are in Crisis (click to reveal excerpt)

Is your organisation and its staff team ready to respond professionally to an emergency situation caused by suicide or an attempted suicide?

This is a case-study and self-evaluation tool for senior leaders: preparing your organisation and your people to respond effectively and keep everyone safe.

In response to a project Dynamis carried out last year with unique requirements involving crisis intervention and incident management, we recruited a former Team Leader to help us with issues around interventions in school contexts.

This experienced professional told us the story of one attempted suicide she and her team responded to at a UK boarding school one dark and rainy night only a few years ago.  

The narrative which follows, and its associated checklist questions, are offered to be provocative for your team in generating policies and procedures, seeking appropriate training for your team and overall, keeping everyone safe in your school. 

Here is our Team Leader’s story.  Names have been changed to protect those involved.

“As Team Leader, I led a school’s boarding team for five years.  I was responsible to the Head for the care and support of around eighty girls and young women aged between 11 and 18 years old, and the leadership of the staff team who looked after them.  

In five years, my team and I managed four attempted suicides. 

One was a ‘stand-alone’ event, but the other three were clustered together, occurring within a six-week window.  This story looks at the first of that cluster of three.  It poses questions to senior leaders of schools (or comparable organisations) to support them in preparing for a suicide attempt and planning effective responses.

Our staff team was small.  I was on duty on five out of seven evenings.  When I was off, my deputy assumed overall responsibility for operations.  Two additional boarding staff on duty were supported by three young ‘Gap’ volunteers.  We all carried radios throughout our shifts - it was the easiest way to communicate in real-time across a sprawling school campus and large boarding houses.

We did not have a process in our Staff handbook or our Critical Incident Handbook about what to do in the event of an attempted suicide.  There had been some learning following this first incident, but for a variety of reasons we hadn't formalised that learning into policy and procedures that the team could use.  

Having a pre-planned and practiced response, ensuring that your team understand and can execute it - even if it is imperfect - is the most important thing I learned from what unfolded that night.”

Questions for Senior Leadership:

If the worst was to happen, how well do you think your organisation would score *right now*, on a scale of 1-10, in managing a suicide or an attempted suicide?  Why that score?

Does your organisation have a risk-assessment and known policies and procedures for suicide/attempted suicide?  Are you and the team familiar with them?  Where would you find these, where are they kept?  Who has responsibility for them and how are they reviewed?  Are they supported by training for key staff ‘on the ground’?  

What form does existing training take and how regularly is it undertaken?  How does training and practice of staff influence the review of policy and procedures?  What improvements does the organisation need to make to affect positive change that will ultimately help keep people safe?

If your organisation doesn’t have policies or procedures in place, what does leadership need to bear in mind as they make plans to address this?  Who will need to be involved in their formation and subsequent training and implementation?  What specialist support might be required?

“Experience is something you get, 3 minutes after you needed it”

[ Please enter your email address below to download the full 8-page case-study and checklist report


The Mental Health Crisis with Adolescents and Why Schools Need Training...

Training school staff in crisis interventions is becoming increasingly important, especially in the UK where mental health issues in schools are on the rise. According to statistics from the Department of Education, the number of referrals to children's mental health services in England has increased by 26% since 2015. This has put a spotlight on the need for schools to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage crisis situations involving students - at the point of encounter, to avoid adverse outcomes.

One of the biggest risks associated with mental health issues in young people is the risk of self-harm and suicide. Social media has been linked to an increase in these behaviors, as young people can often feel isolated and overwhelmed by the pressures of social media. By training school staff in crisis interventions, schools can ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to respond appropriately to these situations in the moment and to provide students with the immediate support they need.

In addition to managing mental health crises, crisis intervention training can also help school staff respond to other emergency situations, such as accidents or natural disasters. By having a plan in place and trained staff, schools can better protect the safety and well-being of everyone under their roof.

Overall, training school staff in crisis interventions is an essential step towards creating a safe and supportive learning environment for students. By equipping staff with the necessary skills and knowledge, schools can ensure that they are able to manage crisis situations effectively and provide students with the support they need to thrive.


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Typical Course Content


Wouldn’t it be better if we could “not escalate” more situations? It would mean less time and energy spent on de-escalating situations. Focusing on the skills of non-escalation means that your staff team’s focus changes and they become more pro-active in finding ways to ensure that pupils they encounter are not triggered when they interact with the organisation, its processes, rules and people. Consistent non-escalation nurtures relationships and establishes a robust Social Contract.


Inevitably, your teams will meet people who don’t want to follow the rules, who feel frustrated through lack of choice and who become upset when they feel it is their only choice to get what they want. At these moments, your people need skills in bringing those pupils back into a supportive atmosphere, where collaboration and cooperation are more likely and the social contract is rebuilt and strengthened.

Cognitive Difficulties

When your staff encounter a pupil who is temporarily experiencing cognitive difficulties (such as after a sudden bereavement, or intoxication) or someone who is experiencing a more long-term cognitive challenge (such as with autism or learning disability) then a sensitive, low-arousal approach will be required in order to keep that pupil safe and encourage their cooperation and collaboration. Using a few simple strategies, this programme will give your team confidence that they are approaching such moments with sensitivity and professionalism.

Crisis Intervention

At times, your staff will meet pupils who are having such a hard time that they are involved in self-harming behaviours and who may not be aware of who else they might harm in the process. They feel low, anxious and depressed and they may hurt someone. Your team’s coordinated response in this moment is critical if we are to recover that person and make sure that they stay safe in your environment. With careful interaction, based on some simple principles of verbal intervention, we can help your staff to feel confident in those moments.

An example schedule for our Relationships, Crises and Responses Course:

Examples of where we have delivered this training:

- Kazakhstan (Remote)
- Papua New Guinea (Remote)
- Indonesia (Remote)
- North Macedonia (Remote)
- Uganda (Remote)
- Nepal (Remote)
- Qatar (Remote) and [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Turkey  [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Spain [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Dubai [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Abu Dhabi [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Republic of Ireland [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]

Coming soon:
- Vietnam (Remote)
- Kuwait [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Thailand (Remote)
- Oman [ In-Person Face-to-Face ]
- Egypt (Remote)

What challenges will we face as a team?

How should we communicate with each other, with the children/young people and with others?

What procedures should we put in place NOW to prepare to respond appropriately?

What specific risks will require us to have pre-planned and practiced responses?

Sign up here to get instant access to our free guide about Crisis Interventions and Self Harm in Schools.

Crisis Interventions Course feedback

What our customers are saying:


"We had an SLT review today of the training and everyone was so grateful. If you ever want a school to reference your work, I would be glad to do so".

Dean of Student Affairs // Robert College, Istanbul

A dynamic approach...

“It would benefit all student facing staff. Very helpful and useful information, and very dynamic approach.”

HEAD OF STUDIES // Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth 1 College


Director Of Training At Dynamis

Hi and thanks for visiting our website today.

In over 15 years of working with frontline staff who face difficult, distressed and dangerous behaviour, I have seen time and again how prepared staff can perform well and respond to challenging circumstances.

From teachers to nurses, teaching and care assistants to security officers in our hospitals and social workers in the community, if you deal with people every day, managing conflict becomes a necessity.

I became involved in this work because I saw the power of training and preparation in helping people to stay safe at work and to be more successful in working with their colleagues to create better outcomes.

I and my team of professional trainers now teach in over 600 training engagements every year around the uk and internationally for a wide variety of public-facing organizations just like yours.

We have sought out the best conflict management training content and the best learning methods in the world and bring them together for you and your team.

How is Dynamis training different?

As a pioneer in training we understand how to get the best out of this format, for your busy school and your in-demand staff!

Uniquely flexible to your needs

With no less than 5 different formats for each course we deliver, we work hard to fit into your schedule, your budget and your work - your partner in behaviour management and positive handling.

dedicated to authentic learning

Through our collaboration with Loughborough University faculty, we design and deliver training which has the highest degree of transfer to your working environment.

trauma-informed and responsive

Through our partnership with NAOTP we are committed to being trauma-aware as a team and our problem-solving approach recognises 'all behaviour has meaning'.


Your staff need skills and knowledge which will help you with YOUR specific children and behaviours, so our approach is focused on solving YOUR positive handling issues. See SCENA for more information.

Feedback from Learners About Our Training

We monitor thousands of learner surveys each year to help with our quality assurance processes through the ICM. Here are some of the recent statistics about our courses.


Course Met or Exceeded Expectations


Trainer Was Very Good or Excellent


Training was Relevant and Appropriate

World-class client feedback

Our client and learner satisfaction surveys have consistently been extrmely positive, even as we have grown to be an ever-more popular provider of Positive Handling and De-Escalation training.  Watch the video to learn about our most recent results!

Our Partners and Accreditation


Dynamis is a Quality Award Centre with the ICM, a recognised accrediting body in the U.K. for workplace training in the prevention and management of workplace violence.

Healthcare Myth 2: If I Say Something It Will Make Things Worse 2



Dynamis is the premier European Partner for Vistelar, a global consulting organisation covering training across the entire spectrum of human conflict.

A 5-star endorsed programme

We achieved the 5-star endorsement from the 'Safety Without Compromise' expert panel.