CRITICAL INCIDENT POLICY

ST. KEVIN’S NATIONAL SCHOOL

 

Introduction:

In St. Kevin’s National School we aim to protect the well-being of our pupils and staff by providing a safe environment based on mutual respect as outlined in our school ethos, mission statement and the Code of Behaviour.  The Board of Management through the Principal, the Staff and the Parents’ Association 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.  Types of incidents might include:

  • The death of a member of the school community through sudden death, accident, terminal illness or suicide.
  • An intrusion into the school.
  • Unauthorised removal of a student from school or home.
  • Serious damage to the school building through fire, flood, vandalism, etc.
  • An accident involving members of the school community.
  • The disappearance of a member of the school community.
  • An accident/tragedy in the wider school community.

Aims of the Critical Incident Policy:

St. Kevin’s National School has developed this policy in the hope that, in the event of an incident, it will assist us to react quickly and effectively and to maintain a sense of control.  It should also help us to return to normality as soon as possible.  The school has formulated a number of policies and procedures to ensure the physical and psychological safety of the school community and to lessen the probability of the occurrence of an incident.

Policies:

  • Code of Behaviour/Anti-Bullying Policy
  • S.P.H.E. Policy – Circle Time, Stay Safe Programme, R.S.E. and Walk Tall, etc.

Procedures:

–          Staff members are alert to students with difficulties and are vigilant to their needs.

–          Playground is supervised from 8.50 a.m. – 9 a.m. and during school break times.

–          Fire Drill – evacuation of pupils is practised regularly.

–          Fire extinguishers and the Fire Alarm are checked regularly.

–          An Emergency Contact List is displayed in Staff Room and Principal’s Office.

–          A Life Skills Class is facilitated by Gorey School Completion Programme.

–          A link is established with NEPS.

CRITICAL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM

 

  • Chaplaincy Role                                                                Rev. Fr. William Flynn
  • Team Leader                                                      Sinéad McDonald
  • Staff Liaison                                                        Paula Grey
  • Student Liaison                                                 Helen Furlong
  • Parent Liaison                                                    Sinéad McDonald
  • Media Liaison                                                    Niamh Ward-Carty
  • Administrative Role                                        School Secretary

In the event of a critical incident the responsibilities of each role-holder will be as follows:

Chaplaincy Role:

  • The Chaplain will liaise with the family to extend sympathy and clarify the family’s wishes regarding the school’s involvement in funeral/memorial service.
  • The Chaplain and/or the Team Leader will liaise with the Board of Management and convene a meeting if it is opportune to do so.
  • The Chaplain and/or the Team Leader will give all interviews to the media on behalf of the school.
  • The Chaplain will liaise with support agencies in the community.

Team Leader:

  • Liaises with the bereaved family and together with the chaplain will visit the family.
  • Alerts the team members to the crisis and convenes a meeting.
  • Coordinates the tasks of the team.
  • The Chaplain and/or the Team Leader will liaise with the Board of Management and convene a meeting if it is opportune to do so.
  • The Chaplain and/or the Team Leader will give all interviews to the media on behalf of the school.
  • Liaises with the Board of Management/Department of Education and Skills/School Inspector.

Staff Liaison:

  • Leads meetings to brief staff on the facts as known, gives staff members an opportunity to express their feelings and outlines the routine for the day.
  • Advises staff on the identification of vulnerable students.
  • Is alert to vulnerable staff members and makes contact with them individually.

Student Liaison:

  • Liaises with other team members to keep them up-dated with information and progress.
  • Alerts staff to vulnerable students.

Parent Liaison:

  • Facilitates ‘Questions and Answers’ meetings.
  • Meets with individual parents, if necessary.

Media Liaison:

  • In preparing for the role, she will consider issues that may arise during an incident and how they might be responded to (e.g. students being interviewed, photographers on the premises, etc.).
  • In the event of an incident, will liaise where necessary with the Communications Section in the DES.
  • Updates Team Members on the involvement of external agencies.

Administration Role:

The School Secretary maintains up-to-date lists of contact numbers of:

  • All parents and members of the Parents’ Association Committee.
  • Emergency support services and other external contacts and resources.

Each class will be provided with a “Ready To Go” pack for use in the event of a critical incident occurring.

Record Keeping:

In the event of an incident each member of the team will keep detailed records of phone calls made and received, letters sent and received, meetings held, persons met, interventions used, material used, etc.  The school secretary will have a key role in receiving and logging telephone calls, sending letters, photocopying materials, etc.

Confidentiality and Good Name Considerations:

The school has a responsibility to protect the privacy and good name of the people involved in any incident and will have to be sensitive to the consequences of any public statements.  The members of the school staff will bear this in mind, and will seek to ensure that pupils do so also.  [For instance, the term ‘suicide’ will not be used without the consent of the family involved or until it has been established categorically that the person’s death was a result of suicide.  The phrases ‘tragic death’ or ‘sudden death’ may be used instead].

Critical Incident Room:

In the event of a critical incident, the Staff Room will be the main room used to meet the staff, vulnerable students, parents and visitors involved.

Development and Communication of this Policy and Plan:

All staff were consulted and their views canvassed in the preparation of the draft plan.  Parent representatives were also consulted and asked for their comments.  Our school’s final policy and procedures in relation to responding to critical incidents has been presented to all staff.

Each member of the Critical Incident Team has a personal copy.

All new and temporary staff will be informed of the details of the plan by the Team Leader.

 

This Policy was ratified by the Board of Management of St. Kevin’s National School on: