Critical Incidents Policy

Critical Incident Management Plan

O’Connell Primary School

Table of Contents

O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL CRITICAL INCIDENT POLICY

Introduction

Review and Research

Definition of a ‘critical incident’

Aim

Creation of a coping supportive and caring ethos in the school

Physical safety -

Psychological safety

Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT)

Preparation of CIMP

Roles

Team leader (Principal Mr. Patsy O’Keeffe)

Chaplain:

Staff liaison – Rory Conlon

Student liaison – Individual Class Teachers

Media liaison – Principal

Community/agency liaison HSCL – Eoin Browne

Parent liaison HSCL – Eoin Browne

Administrator Joanne Wilson

Record keeping

Confidentiality and good name considerations

Critical incident rooms

Consultation and communication regarding the plan

Management Member Teams and Contact Numbers

Staff Phone Numbers

Emergency Contact List

Critical Incident Management Task Plan

Short Term Actions Day 1

Critical Incident Management Task Plan

Medium Term Actions Day 2 and Following Days

Critical Incident Management Task Plan

Follow Up – Beyond 72 hours

O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL CRITICAL INCIDENT POLICY

Introduction

O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL aims to protect the well being of its students and staff by providing a safe and nurturing environment at all times as per our school Mission statement.

The Board of Management, through Mr. Patsy O’Keeffe has drawn up a critical incident management plan as one element of the school’s policies and plans.

Review and Research

We consulted the resource documents below in devising the policy.

These include:

When Tragedy Strikes: Guidelines for Effective Critical Incident Management in Schools (INTO/Ulster Teachers Union 2000)

Responding to Critical Incidents; Guidelines for Schools (NEPS 2007)

Definition of a ‘critical incident’

The staff and management of O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL recognise a critical incident to be “an incident or sequence of events that overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school”.

Critical incidents may involve one or more students or staff members, or members of our local community.

Types of incidents might include:

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

Our aim is to help our 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 students, staff and parents. This plan should also help ensure that the effects on our students and staff will be limited. It should enable us to effect a return to normality as soon as possible.

This policy extends also to any and all summer camps run in the school, including specifically the Exploring Pathways to Literacy and Numeracy Camp which is run regularly in the school.

Creation of a coping supportive and caring ethos in the school

We have put systems in place to help to build resilience in both staff and students,

thus preparing them to cope with a range of life events. These include measures to

address both the physical and psychological safety of the school community.

Physical safety -

• We are a Health promoting school

• Evacuation plan formulated

• Regular fire drills occur

• Fire exits and extinguishers are regularly checked

• Pre opening supervision in schoolyard from 8.30 am

• End of day supervision in yard and at school gate

• We have implemented a school code of behaviour

• Children play in their class groups in designated areas within the playground and are supervised by Teachers and SNAs at all times before, during and after breaks.

• Three playgrounds offering different types of activities are available and children are encouraged to seek out an activity which suits their own needs.

• There are clear procedures for entering and exiting the school building in the morning, at break times and at home time.

• A Health & Safety policy has also been drawn up

• Anti Bullying Policy implemented.

Psychological safety

• The management and staff O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL aim to use available programmes and resources to address the personal and social development of students, to enhance a sense of safety and security in the school and to provide opportunities for reflection and discussion.

• Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) is integrated into the work of the school. It is addressed in the curriculum by addressing issues such as grief and loss; communication skills; stress and anger management, resilience; conflict management; problem solving; help-seeking; bullying; decision making and prevention of alcohol and drug misuse through both the Stay Safe programme and Circle Time.

• Promotion of mental health is an integral part of this provision

• Parents have access to the HSCL to assist their child in school and support their own development through classes, etc

• Staff have access to training for their role in SPHE as needed

• Staff are familiar with the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures and details of how to proceed with suspicions or disclosures

• Books and resources on difficulties affecting the primary school student are

available.

• The school has developed links with a range of external agencies –Public

Health Nurse, Cúram, NEPS, C.A.M.H.S., SWAN, Belvedere Club, NYP1, JLO Services, Social Services, Community Garda and have community assistance from TAP and Teacher Training Colleges in operating our own Homework Club and after school activities.

• Inputs to students by external providers are carefully considered in the light of criteria about student safety, the appropriateness of the content, and the expertise of the providers.

• The school has a clear policy on bullying and deals with bullying in accordance with this policy. A booklet on O’Connell Primary School’s Anti Bullying Policy has been drawn up in consultation between Staff and Parents and is subject to periodic review.

• There is a Care Team in place in the school implemented by teaching staff. O’Connell Primary School engages in a process of Class Consultation involving Class Teachers, Support Teacher, H.S.C.L. Teacher and Principal.

Students who are identified as being at risk are referred to the principal / Special Needs Coordinator / Learning Support / Resource Teacher. 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

• Staff are informed about how to access support for themselves through the EAS (Employee Assistance Scheme through the VHI)

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 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

Roles

The key roles which have been identified are as follows:

• Team Leader

• Staff liaison

• Student liaison

• Parent liaison

• Community liaison

• Media liaison

• Administrator

Outlined below are some points on the key responsibilities of each role.

Team leader (Principal Mr. Patsy O’Keeffe)

• Alerts the team members to the crisis and convenes a meeting

• Coordinates the tasks of the team

• Liaises with the Board of Management; DES; NEPS; HSE

• Liaises with the family or families concerned, visiting the family where appropriate

• Liaises with the Gardaí

• Ensures that information about deaths or other developments is checked out for accuracy before being shared.

• Identifies a replacement for absent team members.

• The Deputy Principal, will take the lead in the absence of the team leader.

Chaplain:

In the event of a pupil bereavement the chaplain

• Visits bereaved family with Team Leader.

• Liaises with bereaved family regarding religious supports

• Liaises with bereaved family regarding funeral arrangements

Staff Liaison - Rory Conlon.

• Leads briefing meetings for staff on the facts as known, gives staff members an opportunity to express their feelings and ask questions, outlines the routine for the day.

• Advises staff on the procedures for identification of vulnerable students

• Provides materials for staff (from the critical incident folder.)

• Keeps staff updated as the day progresses.

• Is alert to vulnerable staff members and makes contact with them individually.

• Advises them of the availability of the EAS (Employee Assistance Scheme) and gives them the contact number.

Student liaison – Individual Class Teachers

• Alerts other staff to vulnerable students (appropriately.)

• Provides materials for students (from their critical incident folder.)

• Keeps records of students seen by external agency staff.

• Looks after setting up and supervision of ‘quiet’ room where agreed and needed.

Media liaison – Principal

• In advance of an incident, will consider issues that may arise and how they might be responded to (e.g. students will not be interviewed, photographers on the premises, etc.)

• In the event of an incident, will liaise where necessary with the HSE and relevant teacher unions etc.

• Will draw up a press statement, give media briefings and interviews (as agreed by school management.)

Community/agency liaison HSCL – Eoin Browne.

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 (See policy on school visitors)

• Coordinates the involvement of these agencies

• Reminds agency staff to wear name badges

• Updates team members on the involvement of external agencies

Parent liaison HSCL – Eoin Browne.

• Visits the bereaved family with the team leader/chaplain.

• 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 – see sample letter at end of this document

• Sets up room for meetings with parents

• Maintains a record of parents seen

• Meets with individual parents

• Provides appropriate materials for parents (from the critical incident folder)

Administrator Joanne Wilson

Maintenance of up to date telephone numbers of

· Parents or guardians, Teachers and Emergency services

· Takes telephone calls and notes those that need to be responded to

· Ensures that templates are on the schools system in advance and ready for adaptation

· Prepares and sends out letters, emails and faxes

· Photocopies materials needed

· 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, material used etc.

These procedures will been overseen by the Deputy Principal

Confidentiality and good name considerations

The management and staff of O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL have a responsibility to protect the privacy and good name 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 students 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’ will be used instead. Similarly, the word

‘murder’ will not be used until it is legally established that a murder was committed.

The term ‘violent death’ will be used instead.

Critical incident rooms

In the event of a critical incident

· The staff room will be the main room used to meet the staff

· Room 1 or the school Hall and classrooms for meetings with students

· Room 1 for parents

· Principal’s Office for media.

· Teacher Counselor’s room for individual sessions with students

· Maths Resource room for other visitors.

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.

O’CONNELL PRIMARY SCHOOL’s final policy and plan in relation to responding to critical incidents has been presented to all staff.

Each member of the critical incident team has a personal copy of the plan.

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

The plan will be updated in September 2017 or earlier if required.

This Policy was ratified on __26-10-2016______________.

Signed : _Thomas Carroll___________________________________

Chairperson B.O.M.

Note:

Each member of the team will have a copy of this policy.

The original will be kept in the School Organisational Policy Folder.

Management Member Teams and Contact Numbers

Staff Phone Numbers

Numbers are kept on a separate contact list on school mobile.

Emergency Contact List

Critical Incident Management Task Plan

Short Term Actions Day 1

Critical Incident Management Task Plan

Medium Term Actions Day 2 and Following Days

Critical Incident Management Task Plan

Follow Up – Beyond 72 hours

Task

Gather accurate information

Who, what, when, where?

Convene a CIMT meeting – specifytime and place clearly

Contact external agencies

Arrange supervision for students

Hold staff meeting

Agree schedule for the day

Inform students

Contact/visit the bereaved family

Prepare and agree media statement and deal with media

Inform parents

Hold end of day staff briefing

Name

Team Leader

Team Leader

Community Liaison

Team Leader / Class Teacher

Staff Liaison

Team Leader

Team Leader / Class Teacher

Parent Liaison / Team Leader

Media Liaison /Chairperson of Board of Management

Parent Liaison

Staff Liaison

Task

Convene a CIMT meeting to review the events of Day 1

Meet whole Staff

Meet external agencies

Arrange support for students, staff and parents

Visit injured

Liaise with bereaved regarding funeral arrangements

Agree on attendance/participation at funeral service

Make decision about school closure

Task

Monitor students for signs of continuing distress

Liaise with agencies regarding referrals

Meet external agencies

Plan for giving ‘memory box’ to bereaved family(ies)

Decide on memorials and anniversaries

Review response to incident and amend plan as required

Name

Team Leader

Team Leader

Community Liaison

Team Leader

Team Leader

Team Leader

Team Leader

Board Of Management

Name

Class Teachers

Team Leader

Community Liaison

Support Teacher

Board of Management, Staff, Parents and Students

Staff and Board of Management