Critical Incident Policy 2014
St Patrick’s National School
Fanore, Co. Clare
Critical Incident Policy
In St Patrick’s N.S, we aim to protect the well being of our pupils and staff by providing a safe, tolerant and well catered for environment as outlined in our school philosophy statement.
The BoM through the Principal and the Staff has drawn up a critical incident management plan. They have established a Critical Incidents Management Team to steer the development and implementation of the plan.
What is a Critical Incident?
‘A critical incident is any incident or sequence of events which overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school and disrupts the running of the school’.
Death, major illness/outbreak of disease (Foot & Mouth)
Criminal incidents (e.g. Dunblane shooting, Shooting at first communion in Ballymun.)
Major accidents, serious injury (e.g. ‘Navan bus crash’)
Civil unrest, war (foreign nationals may be traumatised by events that happened in their country of origin)
Fire, natural and technological disaster (e.g. school ceiling collapsing in Cork)
Disappearance of student from home or school (e.g. Midleton incident in Cork)
Unauthorised removal of student from school or home.
World events that may affect the student body and/or staff. May be a need for provision of discussion and involvement in ceremonies e.g. 9/11, tsunami
Critical Incidents Management Team:
Leadership Role: Brid Queally (Principal)
Communication Role: Carol Scales (Deputy Principal)
Student Liaison/ Counselling Role: Fr Richard Flanagan
Chaplaincy Role: Fr Richard Flanagan
Family Liaison Role: Paula O’Leary
B.O.M. Rep: Anne Burke
The first-named person has the responsibility as defined.
The second-named person assists and only assumes responsibility on the absence of the first-named.
Roles and Responsibilities
1. Leadership Role:
Confirm the event
Activate the Critical Incident response team
Liaise with the Gardaí/Emergency services
Lead briefing meetings for staff on the facts as known, give staff members an opportunity to express their feelings and ask questions, outlines the routine for the day
Express sympathy to family
Clarify facts surrounding event
Make contact with other relevant agencies
Decide how news will be communicated to different groups (staff, pupils, outside school)
Ensure provision of ongoing support to staff and students
Facilitate any appropriate memorial events
2. Communication Role:
With Team, prepare a public statement
Organise a designated room to address media promptly
Ensure telephone lines are free for outgoing and important incoming calls
Designate mobile numbers for contact
Liaise with relevant outside support agencies
Review and evaluate effectiveness of communication response
3. Student Liaison/ Counselling Role:
Advise the staff on the procedures for identification of vulnerable pupils
Alert staff to vulnerable pupils
Outline specific services available in the school
Put in place clear referral procedures
Address immediate needs of staff
Provide materials for staff (from critical incident folder)
Provide ongoing support to vulnerable students
Monitor class most affected
Refer as appropriate
Review and evaluate Plan
4. Chaplaincy Role:
Visit home(s), if appropriate
Assist with prayer services
Make contact with other local clergy
Be available as personal and spiritual support to staff
Provide follow-up support to families in conjunction with Home School Community Liaison
Work in partnership with Critical Incident team
Review and Evaluate Plan
4. Family Liaison Role:
Co-ordinate contact with families (following first contact by Principal)
Consult with family around involvement of school in e.g. funeral service
Assist with all communication dealing with parents of any student affected by critical incident
Provide ongoing support to families affected by the incident
Involve as appropriate the family in school liturgies/memorial services
Offer to link family with community support groups
Review and evaluate plan
SHORT-TERM ACTIONS (Day 1)
Immediate contact with family/families
Consult with the family regarding appropriate support from the school, e.g. funeral service
Ensure that a quiet place can be made for students/staff
Media Briefing (if appropriate)
Designate a spokesperson (Leader)
Gather accurate information
Prepare a brief statement (Team)
Protect the family’s privacy
It is important to obtain accurate information about the incident
What happened, where and when?
What is the extent of the injuries?
How many are involved and what are their names?
Is there a risk of further injury?
What agencies have been contacted already?
Contact appropriate agencies
H.S.E. Psychology Departments/Community Care Services
6. DES/Schools Inspector
Convene a meeting with Key Staff/Critical Management Team
Organize a staff meeting, if appropriate
Ensure any absent staff members are kept informed
Organise timetable/routine for the day. (Adhering to the normal school routine is important, if this is possible)
Class teachers to take note of any absentees who might need to be contacted, list of friends etc, or any other relevant information. This is to be given to the Student Liaison person
Arrange supervision of students
Liaise with the family regarding funeral arrangements/memorial service
The Chaplain/Principal will liaise with the family, to extend sympathy and clarify the family’s wishes regarding the school’s involvement in funeral/memorial service
Arrange a home visit by two staff representatives within 24 hours, if appropriate. (Student Liaison person + Class teacher)
Have regard for different religious traditions and faiths
MEDIUM-TERM ACTIONS (24-72 HOURS)
Preparation of students/staff attending funeral
Involvement of students/staff in liturgy if agreed by bereaved family
Facilitation of students/staffs responses, e.g. Sympathy cards, flowers, Book of Condolences, etc.
Ritual within the school
Review the events of the first 24 hours
Reconvene Key Staff/Critical Incident Management Team
Decide arrangements for support meetings for parents/students/staff
Decide on mechanism for feedback from teachers on vulnerable students
Have review of Critical Incident Management Team meeting
Establish contact with absent staff and pupils
Arrange support for individual students, groups of students, and parents, if necessary
Hold support/information meeting for parents/students, if necessary, in order to clarify what has happened
Give any teacher who feels uncomfortable with involvement in support meetings the choice of opting out
Arrange, in consultation, with outside agencies, individual or group debriefings or support meetings with parental permission
Plan for the re-integration of students and staff e.g. absentees, injured, siblings, close relative etc)
Student Liaison person to liaise with above on their return to school.
Plan visits to injured
Family Liaison person + Class Teacher + Principal to visit home/hospital
Attendance and participation at funeral/memorial service (To be decided)
Decide this in accordance with parent’s wishes, school management decisions and in consultation with close school friends
School closure (if appropriate)
Request a decision on this from school management
LONGER TERM ACTIONS
Monitor students for signs of continuing distress
If over a prolonged period of time, a student continues to display the following, he/she may need assistance from the Health Board. Constant communication with family is essential.
Deterioration in academic performance
Physical symptoms — e.g. weight loss/gain, lack of attention to appearance, tiredness, restlessness
Inappropriate emotional reactions
Evaluate response to incident and amend Critical Incident Management Plan appropriately
What went well?
Where were the gaps?
What was most/least helpful?
Have all necessary onward referrals to support services been made?
Is there any unfinished business?
Formalise the Critical Incident Plan for the future
Consult with NEPS Psychologist
Inform new staff/new school pupils affected by Critical Incidents where appropriate
Ensure that new staffs are aware of the school policy and procedures in this area
Ensure they are aware of which pupils were affected in any recent incident and in what way
When individual pupils or a class of pupils affected by an incident are transferring to a new school, the Principal should brief the Principal of the new school
Decide on appropriate ways to deal with anniversaries (Be sensitive to special days and events)
Anniversaries may trigger emotional responses in students/staff and they may need additional support at this time
Acknowledge the anniversary with the family
Need to be sensitive to significant days like Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day
Plan a school memorial service
Care of deceased person’s possessions. What are the parent’s wishes?
Update and amend school records
Drawn up by the Board of Management of St Patrick’s N.S on 22th January 2014.
This policy was discussed and ratified at a board meeting on Jan 28th.
January 2016 or if the need arises.