Critical Incident...

  • CBS Primary School, Wexford

Critical Incident Policy

Critical Incident Policy
C.B.S. Primary School Wexford

C.B.S. Primary School aims to protect the well-being of its pupils and staff by providing a safe and nurturing environment at all times. The Board of Management, through the Principal and teaching staff, has drawn up a critical incident management plan as one element of the school’s policies and plans.

Our aim is to establish a Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) to steer the development and implementation of the plan.
Definition of a Critical Incident
The staff and management of C.B.S. Primary School consider a critical incident to be-
‘An incident or sequence of events which overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school and disrupts the running of the school.’
Critical incidents may involve one or more pupils or staff members, or members of our local community. For example;
• The death of a member of the school community through accident, violence, suicide or suspected suicide or other unexpected death.
• An intrusion into the school.
• An accident involving members of the school community.
• An accident/tragedy in the wider community.
• Serious damage to the school building through fire, flood, vandalism, etc.
• The disappearance of a member of the school community.

Aim of the Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP)
The aim of the CIMP is to help school management and staff to react quickly and effectively in the event of an incident, to enable us to maintain a sense of control and to ensure that appropriate support is offered to pupils and staff. Having a good plan should also help ensure that the effects on the pupils and staff will be limited. It should enable us to affect a return to normality as soon as possible.

Creation of a coping, supportive and caring ethos in the school
We have put systems in place to help both staff and pupils cope with a range of events. These include measures to address both the physical and psychological safety of the school community.

Physical safety
Measures to address the physical safety of the school community include the following:
• An Evacuation Plan has been formulated.
• Fire drills are held at least once a term.
• Fire exits and extinguishers are regularly inspected.
• Parents are informed of the pre-opening supervision arrangements, whereby pupils can gain access to the school premises from 8.30 a.m.
• School rules and teacher supervision encourage good behaviour and provide a safe environment for all members of the school community.

Psychological safety
The management and staff of C.B.S. Primary School aim to use available programmes and resources to address the personal and social development of pupils, to enhance a sense of safety and security in the school and to provide opportunities for reflection and discussion.
For example:
• Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) is integrated into the work of the school, by addressing issues such as grief and loss; communication skills; stress and anger management; resilience; conflict management; problem solving; help-seeking; bullying and decision making. Promotion of mental health is an integral part of this provision.
• Members of staff have received training for the teaching of SPHE.
• Members of staff are familiar with the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures and details of how to proceed with suspicions or disclosures. The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Jos. Furlong and the Deputy Designated Liaison Person is Eileen Casey.
• Pupils who are identified as being at risk are referred to the Designated Liaison Person, concerns are explored and the appropriate level of assistance and support is provided. Parents are informed and where appropriate, a referral is made to an appropriate agency.
• The school has a clear policy on bullying and deals with bullying in accordance with this policy.
• Staff members recognise their role in the pastoral care of pupils and colleagues.
• The school has developed links with external agencies – Health Service Executive (HSE), National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) and National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB).

Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT)
A CIMT has been established in line with best practice. The members of the team were selected on a voluntary basis and will retain their roles for at least one school year. The members of the team will meet annually (in September) to review and update the policy and plan. Each member of the team has a dedicated critical incident folder. This contains a copy of the policy and plan and materials particular to their role, to be used in the event of an incident.

Preparation of CIMP (Critical Incident Management Plan)
A school Critical Incident Management Team has been put in place, with key responsibilities as follows:

Roles and Responsibilities

Team Leader – Jos. Furlong
• Alerts the CIMT and convenes a meeting.
• Co-ordinates the tasks of the team.
• Liaises with BOM, NEPS.
• Liaises with family.

Garda Liaison – Jos. Furlong
• Ensures that information is checked out for accuracy before being shared.
• Liaises with Gardaí.

In the absence of Jos. Furlong these roles will be taken by Eileen Casey.
Media Liaison-Bobby Cummings
• In advance of an incident, the Media Liaison anticipates issues that may arise and how they might be handled (interviews, photographers etc.)
• Draws up a press statement, gives media briefings and interviews (as agreed by school management).

Staff Liaison-Eileen Casey
• Leads briefing meetings for staff.
• Advises staff on procedures for identification of vulnerable pupils.
• Provides materials for staff.
• Keeps staff updated.
• Is alert to vulnerable staff members and makes contact with them individually.
• Advises staff of the availability of Employee Assistance Service 1800411057.

Pupil Liaison-Fiona Gilboy
• Outlines support services available in school.
• Alerts other staff to vulnerable pupils.
• Provides materials for pupils.
• Puts in place clear referral procedures.
• Arranges the provision of ongoing support to vulnerable pupils.
• Keeps records of pupils seen by external agencies’ staff.
• Liaises with class most affected.
• Looks after setting up and supervision of ‘quiet’ room.

Parent Liaison-Mary Turner
• Visits and supports the bereaved family with the team leader.
• Arranges parent meetings, if held.
• May facilitate such meetings, and manage ‘questions and answers’.
• Manages the ‘consent’ issues in accordance with agreed school policy.
• Ensures that sample letters are typed up, on the school’s system and ready for adaptation.
• Sets up room for meetings with parents.
• Maintains a record of parents seen.
• Meets with individual parents.
• Provides appropriate materials for parents.

Community and Agency Liaison-Lynn Ruddock
• Maintains up-to-date lists of contact numbers of key parents, such as members of the Parents’ Council, Emergency Support Services and other external contacts and resources.
• Liaises with agencies in the community for support and onward referral.
• Is alert to the need to check credentials of individuals offering support, co-ordinates the involvement of these agencies.
• Updates team members on the involvement of the outside agencies.

Administrator – Mary Goodison
• Maintains up to date telephone numbers of parents, guardians, teachers and emergency services.
• Takes calls and notes those that need to be responded to.
• Ensures that templates are available and ready for adaptation.
• Prepares and sends out letters, emails and faxes.
• Photocopies materials.
• Maintains records.

Record Keeping
In the event of an incident, each member of the team will keep records of phone calls made and received, letters sent and received, meetings held, persons met, interventions used, materials used, etc.

The school secretary will have a key role in receiving and logging telephone calls, photocopying materials and in sending and receiving all letters etc.

The management and staff of C.B.S. Primary School have a responsibility to protect the good name and privacy of the people involved in any incident and will 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 the pupils do so also. For instance the term “suicide” will not be used unless there is solid information that death was due to suicide and that the family involved consents to its use. The phrases “tragic death” or “sudden death” may be used instead. Similarly, the word “murder” should not be used until it is legally established that a murder was committed. The term “violent death” may be used instead.

Critical Incident Rooms
In the event of a critical incident, the following room allocation will be in place:

Staff Room Staff

Rooms 5 & 6 Pupils

Rooms 5 & 6 Parents

Computer Room Media

Room 2 Individual sessions with pupils

Room 3 Other visitors

Music Room Quiet Room




Consultation and Communication Regarding the Plan
• All staff members were consulted and their views canvassed in the preparation of this policy and plan. Parent representatives were also consulted and asked for their comments.
• Each member of the Critical Incident team has a copy of the plan.
• All new and temporary staff will be informed of the details of the plan by Eileen Casey.

List of Resource Materials in the Critical Incident Folder

1. Pupil Contact Record-to be used by school staff to record the details of pupils seen following a critical incident.
2. Sample Consent Letters-seeking parental consent for a child to be seen in a group or individually by a NEPS psychologist.
3. Sample Consent Letter-seeking advance consent (where parents cannot be immediately contacted).
4. Sample Sudden Death/Accident letter. (For Parents)
5. Sample Violent Death Letter. (For Parents)
6. Sample Announcement to Media.
7. Classroom session following news of a Critical Incident.
8. Children’s Understanding and Reaction to Death according to age.
9. Stages of Grief-handout for pupils.
10. Reactions to a Critical Incident-handout for pupils.
11. Grief after Suicide or Suspected Suicide-handout for schools.
12. Reintegration of the Bereaved Child-handout for schools.
13. Ways to Help Your Child Through This Difficult Time-handout for parents.
14. General Interview Guide-to explore a pupil’s reaction.
15. Checklist-Pupils at Risk. Handout for schools.
16. Exploring Suicide Risk-guidelines for schools and NEPS.
17. How to Cope When Something Horrible Happens.
18. Emergency contact list.
19. Useful contact numbers.
20. Summary checklist for Principals.
21. “When Someone Close Dies”.(Health Promotion Unit)
22. “You Are Not Alone”.(HSE)
23. “Death: Helping Children Understand.(Bardnados)
24. “Responding to Critical Incidents” Guidelines for Schools.(NEPS)
25. “Responding to Critical Incidents” Advice and Information Pack for Schools.(NEPS)
26. “When Tragedy Strikes”(INTO)
27. “Water Bugs and Dragonflies” – Explaining death to Young People.
28. “Goodbye Mog”
29. “A Pace in my Heart” – Understanding Bereavement.


Approved by the Board of Management
14th March 2012


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