Critical Incident

Critical Incident Policy




Scoil Naomh Treasa aims to protect the wellbeing of all its students, teachers and ancillary staff by providing a safe and caring environment at all times.

Scoil Naomh Treasa has taken a number of measures to create a coping, supportive and caring ethos in the school environment. 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.


What is a Critical Incident?


Scoil Naomh Treasa recognises a critical incident to be ‘an incidence or sequence of events that overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of the school and disrupts the running of the school’ (NEPS-Responding to a Critical Incident). Critical incidents may involve one or more pupils, a staff member, the building or the local community.


Types of incidents might include:


  • The death of a member of the school community through sudden death, accident, suicide, or terminal illness
  • An accident or tragedy involving a member of the school community
  • An accident or tragedy in the wider school community
  • An intrusion into the school
  • Serious damage to the school building or property through fire, flood, snow, storms or vandalism
  • The disappearance of a member of the school community
  • An approach or attack of a sexual nature at or near the school
  • The arrest of a member of staff for a serious offence




Recognising that the key to managing critical incidents is planning, Scoil Naomh Treasa has developed this Critical Incident Policy. Our hope is that, in the event of a critical incident, staff will be able to respond quickly and effectively and to maintain a sense of ordered control. We would also hope that the implementation of the plan would ensure that the school returns to normality as soon as possible with minimum adverse effects to all concerned.


Creation of a coping, supportive and caring ethos

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


Physical Safety


The following procedures are already in place in Scoil Naomh Treasa:

  • Regular assemblies – these serve to remind students of the procedures in place for their safety and also to highlight school policies relating to the general wellbeing of each individual
  • Health and Safety Policy: Currently being reviewed (September 2011)
  • Fire Drills: Regularly practiced – see Fire Drills Policy
  • Evacuation Plan: In conjunction with the fire drill, all students know how to evacuate and where to congregate
  • Fire exits: These are clearly signposted. Fire extinguishers are checked regularly and the use thereof discussed at staff meetings.
  • Pre-morning Supervision: The school has a Supervision Policy in place. Parents are asked not to send their child to school before 08:50 to ensure that there is an adult in situ. Parents who notice the absence of a teacher’s car are asked to remain until a teacher arrives. The Principal is responsible for supervision until the bell rings.
  • The school’s Extreme Weather Policy is also a useful document to consult.
  • Gates: gates are closed during school time. Access cannot be blocked off entirely because of stiles.
  • School Doors: The front door is on an automatic mad-lock. It remains locked throughout the school day and can only be opened using the release button. Parents and visitors need to be buzzed in, or may enter via the entrance at the rear of the school. The fire emergency doors are to be used for access and egress of students.
  • Playground Rules: All students and staff are aware of the rules of the playground. Please see Behaviour Policy attached.
  • Medicine: See Administration of Medication Policy
  • Supervision: One teacher and a parent volunteer are on duty for each break each day. A list is included. In the event of a teacher being absent, cover is arranged. Children know that they can approach teachers on duty at any time.


Psychological Safety


Scoil Naomh Treasa aims to create an open and encouraging environment in the school where students can talk about their difficulties and seek appropriate help and support.

The following are helpful:


  • Staff members are informed of difficulties affecting individual students and are aware and vigilant to their needs.
  • SPHE programmes are included in the curriculum to address issues such as communication skills, conflict management, problem solving, help seeking, decision making.
  • Our Discipline Policy includes an approach to bullying and guidelines for students in how to deal with bullying
  • Staff members have access to books and resources on difficulties affecting the primary school child.
  • The school has developed links with outside agencies who may be contacted in the event of an emergency and for onward referral of students.


Critical Incident Management Team


Scoil Naomh Treasa has set up a Critical Incident Management Team in line with best practise and will maintain this team in future.


The purpose is to put together a team of individuals who know the community, the students and each other well enough to make the decisions required when an incident occurs.


Due to the size of the school¸ we at Scoil Naomh Treasa, all five teachers, are on the Team. The Team will meet for the first time on Monday, 12th September 2011 and the members will be issued with the Critical Incident Pack and all relevant materials required in the event of an incident. The Team will meet at least once a year to review and update the plan.




Team Leader:                                                 Mrs. Bernadette Mc Guinness

Staff Liaison:                                                   Ms. Martina Swinburne

Student Liaison:                                           Mrs. Eimear Deighton

Parent Liaison:                                               Ms. Katie Mc Grath

Community Liaison:                                  Mrs. Elaine Moroney

Media Liaison:                                                 Mrs. Bernadette Mc Guinness


In the absence of the Team Leader, Elaine Moroney will assume the role.


Responsibilities of Team Members:


Team Leader


  • Alerts the rest of the team of the crisis and convenes a meeting
  • Coordinates the tasks of the team
  • Liaises with the Board of Management
  • Liaises with DES and other organisations
  • Liaises with the family involved


Staff Liaison


  • Ensures that he/she has an up to date list of staff home/mobile numbers for easy contact
  • Leads meetings to brief staff on the facts as known, gives staff members an opportunity to express their feelings and outlines the routine / arrangement for the day
  • Advises staff on the identification of any vulnerable students
  • Is alert to vulnerable staff members and makes contact with them individually
  • Makes all useful resources available to staff
  • Carries the feelings of the staff to the Team Leader


Student Liaison


  • Alerts staff through a meeting of vulnerable students
  • Liaises with other team members to keep them updated with information and progress
  • Takes the duty of deciphering what students are involved in the critical incident
  • Producing a list of students starting with the one most in need of intervention
  • Possible meeting with The Student Council
  • Provides relevant materials to students from the Ready-To-Go Pack


Community Liaison


  • Liaises with agencies in the community for support and onward referral
  • Updates team members on the involvement of external agencies
  • Coordinates the involvement of these agencies
  • Maintains up to date lists of contact numbers of:
    • BOM members
    • Key Parents such as members of The Parents Council
    • Emergency support services and other external contacts


Parent Liaison


  • Meets with individual parents
  • Facilitates ‘questions and answers’ meetings
  • Provide materials for Parents from the Ready-To-Go Pack
  • Accompanies Team Leader on visits to parents / bereaved family
  • Has an up to date list of parents contact numbers
  • To liaise with Loretto Ludlow, school secretary, to ensure, contact lists are regularly updated
  • Familiarise self with the ‘text-a-parent’ facility which is currently in use


Media Liaison


  • Considers possible issues that may occur in the event of a critical incident-especially involving the press/photographers etc. and how they might be responded to
  • Will be able to liaise with the Communications Section of the DES
  • Is able to contact the various bodies by phone, e-mail, fax, text etc., and able to decipher which is the most appropriate


Administrative Tasks


  • Maintenance of up to date lists of contact numbers of
    • Parents or guardians
    • Teachers
    • Emergency support services
  • Emergency information for trips and overnight stays such as the Carlingford trip)
  • Ensure there is sufficient credit on the IPPN text-a-parent system
  • Telephone calls need to be responded to, letters sent and materials photocopied.


Record Keeping


In the event of an incident each member or the team will keep detailed records of phone calls made and received, letters sent (on headed paper) and received, meetings held, persons met, interventions used and materials used (including a log of those who were not contacted). The school secretary will have a key role in receiving and logging telephone calls, sending letters, photocopying materials etc.


Letters to Parents


Scoil Naomh Treasa 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 of the incident
  • What has been done
  • What is going to be done


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 be sensitive to the consequences of any public statements. The members of the school staff have a key role in seeing that pupils are aware of this also.


Critical incident Room

In the event of a critical incident, the staff room will be the main room used to meet the staff, students, parents and visitors. The prefab or Room 3, may be used for public meetings.


Development and communication of this policy and plans


All staff were consulted and canvassed in the preparation of the draft plan.

Parent Representatives were also consulted and asked for their comments.

The Board of Management will be asked to comment on the plan.

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 Staff Liaison teacher, and given a copy of the plan.


The team will meet before the end of the school year to review what each member has put together. Additions to the plan will be included at that time.  The members will work in the meantime n gathering and collating information for the Parent Pack.


Plan presented to staff:                  Monday 12th September 2011

Parents notified:                                September Newsletter 2011



Ratified by Board of Management: 2012

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