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info@croomns.ie +353 (61) 397416

Critical Incident Policy

Introduction:

St. Mary’s National School aims to protect the well being of its students by providing a safe and nurturing environment at all times. Our mission is to create a human environment which is conducive to the personal development of all.   

St. Mary’s National School has taken a number of measures to create a coping, supportive and caring ethos in the school. The school has also formulated a number of policies and procedures to be followed with a view to ensuring the physical and psychological safety of staff and students, both in ordinary time and in the event of a critical incident.

 

Definition of a Critical Incident:

St. Mary’s National School, Croom, recognises a critical incident to be ‘an incident or sequence of events that overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school and disrupts the running of the school’ Critical incidents may involve one or more pupils, staff, the school, or our local community. Type of incidents might include:

  • The death of a member of the school community through sudden death , accident, terminal illness.
  • An accident involving members of the school community.
  • A physical attack on staff member(s) or student(s) or an intrusion into the school.
  • Serious damage to the school building through fire, flood vandalism etc. . .
  • The disappearance of a member of the school community. An accident/tragedy in the wider school community.

 

Aim:

St. Mary’s National School hopes that in the event of an incident this policy will help staff react quickly and effectively and to maintain a sense of control. It should also help us to achieve a return to normality as soon as possible and ensure that the effects on the students and the staff will be limited.

 

Ethos — Assisted by Support Structures

We have put systems in place to lessen the probability of the occurrence of an incident. These measures address both the physical and psychological safety of both staff and students.    

 

Physical safety:

  • Adherence to the Health and Safety Policy
  • Evacuation Plan Formulated with Fire Drills each term
  • Fire exits and extinguishers are regularly checked.
  • School doors locked during class time
  • Adherence to the Code of Behaviour.

 

Psychological safety:

St. Mary’s National School aims to create an open and encouraging environment in the school where students can talk about their difficulties and seek help for the same.

  • Our SPHE programme addresses issues such as communication skills, conflict resolution, problem solving, help seeking, decision making, grief and loss.
  • Our Code of Behaviour in conjunction with our SPHE programme develops strategies for dealing with bullying.
  • Staff are informed of difficulties affecting individual students, therefore aware and vigilant to their needs.

 

Critical Incident Management Team:

St. Mary’s National School has set up a Critical Incident team in line with best practice and will meet once a year to review and update the plan.

The members of the Critical Incident Team are:

  • Principal and Deputy Principal- (Mr. Emmett Murphy & Mrs. Catherine Kennedy)
  • Health and Safety Representative-(Mr. Richard Murphy)
  • Representative from the Parent Association-(—)
  • Representative from the Board of Management-(Canon Fitzmaurice)
  • School Secretary- (Ms.Jackie Heddermann)
  • School Caretaker-(Mr. John O’Dwyer)

 
Critical Incident Rooms:

In the event of a critical incident, the Old School Building Hall will be the main room used to meet the staff, students, parents and visitors involved.

 

Contact Numbers/Emergency Numbers:

The Secretary has responsibility for maintaining an up to date list of contact umbers for students and their parent(s) / guardian(s). The school secretary has responsibility for maintaining an up to date list of contact numbers for the emergency support services is displayed in the Staff Room, the Secretary’s Office and the Principal’s Office.

 

Evacuation Procedures:

The Fire Safety Officer has responsibility for ensuring that the evacuation procedures are displayed near the door of every classroom. The evacuation procedures (fire drill) are practiced at least once a term.

 

Training and Staff Development:

The school will provide opportunities for staff and members of the Board of Management to attend information/training meetings on such issues such as suicide, grieving, first aid.

 

Visitors:

Visitors, including parents must report to the school’s secretary’s office, identify themselves and state their business in the school. Visitors will not be allowed beyond the school’s reception office except at the invitation of a member of staff.

 

The Media:

Members of the media must report to the school’s secretary’s office, identify themselves and state their business in the school. Members of the media will not be allowed beyond the school’s secretary’s office except at the invitation of the Principal or Deputy Principal.

Only the Principal or Deputy Principal in consultation with the Critical Incident Management Team if possible will prepare a brief written statement.

The Principal and Deputy Principal in consultation with the Critical Incident Management Team if possible, will prepare a brief, written statement to include;

  • The Sympathy of the school community for the affected/ bereaved family.
  • Positive information or comments about the deceased/injured person(s).
  • The facts about the incident (following consultation with the affected/bereaved families).
  • What has been completed?
  • What is going to be completed?

 

Some of the following procedures may be considered in the event of a critical incident:

Short Term Actions: (1st Day)

  • Ensure the safety of students staff and visitors
  • Convene a meeting of the Critical Incident Management Team and delegate responsibilities
  • GATHER ACCURATE INFORMATION (Incident Report Form)
  • Identify high risk students
  • Contact appropriate agencies to organise support
  • Contact the DES the BOM, NEPS and the Parent’s Association. Arrange the supervision of students Inform students and parents.
  • Make contact with the affected/bereaved family
  • Organise reunion of students with their parents
  • Respond to the media(Principal and Deputy Principal only)
  • Arrange visit to affected/bereaved family
  • Report to the Health and Safety Authority, if necessary.

As far as possible maintain normal school routine.

 

Medium Term Actions (24-72 hours)

  • Convene a meeting of the Critical Incident Management Team to review the events of the first 24 hours and to delegate responsibilities.
  • Arrange support for students, staff and parents.
  • Update staff and students
  • Update the Department of Education and Science, the Board of Management, the Parents’ Association and the relevant external agencies.
  • Update the media, if necessary(Principal and Deputy Principal only) Liaise with the family and clarify the school ‘s involvement in funeral/memorial services.
  • Plan visits to the injured
  • Plan for the reintegration of students and staff.
  • Assess the roles of the Board of Management and the Parents’ Association
  • Plan the restoration of normal school routine
  • Consider the legal and financial consequences.

 

Long Term Actions

  • Monitor students and staff for signs of continuing distress.
  • Plan the long term counseling needs of individuals
  • Plan for anniversaries and memorials
  • Evaluate the effect on the student/teacher relationship
  • Evaluate the long term effect on the educational progress of the students
  • Ensure that new staff are aware of the Critical Incident Policy and are informed of which students/staff were affected in any recent incident.
  • Ensure that a report is sent to the new school when a student is transferring.
  • Evaluate the legal and financial consequences.
  • Report to the Board of Management, the Parents’ Association and the Department of Education and Science.

 

Monitoring, Review and Evaluation

The Critical Incident Policy committee will review the policy every 3 years or before the formation of a new Board of Management. Ongoing review and evaluation will take cognisance of changing information, legislation, developments in the school based programme and feedback from parents/guardians, teachers and students. The policy will be revised as necessary in the light of such review and evaluation and within the framework of school planning.

 

 

Date: 21-2-2018

 

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