Critical Incident Policy

Critical Incident Policy

Critical Incident occurs – School Response

April 2018



Crisis can create a crisis response but a clear framework which is purposeful and co-ordinated is required by schools in the aftermath of a critical incident involving a student or member of staff.

These structures must be in line with clearly formatted procedures if we are to respond coherently and flexibly to a critical incident. This has the effect of containing the aftermath of the incident for the student or member of staff.

The critical incident is a serious matter for the whole school community, especially the student’s member of staff’s close friends and peers in the school. Thus it is important that the school reacts to such an event in a way that recognises what has happened and deals sensitively with the aftermath and also supports those most seriously affected by the incident.

On receipt of notification of a critical incident, the Principal or Chaplain should be the first point of contact and he/she will notify the following people:

Principal => Deputy Principals => Pastoral Care Team => Year Heads => Tutors => Other Relevant Members of Staff

Immediate Tasks

  • Establish the facts:
      • What is the nature of the critical incident?
      • Who has been involved in the incident?
      • How is he/ she doing?
  • Convene a meeting of key people: Counsellor, Chaplain, Home School Liaison Co-ordinator, Year Head and any other relevant member(s) of the staff.
  • Contact appropriate outside agencies for support should the need arise, e.g. Counselling Service, etc.
  • Contact support staff.
  • Make immediate contact with family.
  • Consult with the family regarding appropriate support from the school.
  • Student/staff briefing.
      • By whom? Principal, Chaplain, Year Head
      • What Information? Facts
      • Be sensitive to the family’s wish for privacy.

D – TRIAGE => Closest Friend(s) – Staff/Class – Year Group

  • Anticipate student/staff questions and responses.
  • Review school opening hours in conjunction with care team/management/caretakers- providing safe space – tea/coffee etc.
  • Ensure that a quiet place can be made available for students/ staff.
  • Media Briefing
  • Designate a spokesperson.
  • Prepare a brief statement.
  • Protect the family’s privacy.
  • (Principal/ Pastoral Care Team).

Medium Term Tasks

  • Facilitation of students’/staff’s responses, e.g. get well cards, flowers, etc.
  • Monitoring of distressed students/staff and follow up on this.
  • Ensuring counselling service is available to identified students and staff.
  • What other services are required/available, e.g. Health Board, Accredited Counsellors from I.A.C.P. and I.A.H.I.P.
  • Provide ‘reflective’ services for both staff and students within a month of incident if applicable.

Long Term Tasks

  • Review overall school response. Help the students/staff to acknowledge the critical incident.
  • Review the support structures available, e.g. Support Group, etc.
  • Be aware of the impact on the Primary Carers. Provide appropriate support.
  • Continue to monitor/provide support for students/staff


Relevant Services and Organisations offering Support

I.A.C.P. Counselling Service                                  01-2300061

I.A.H.I.P. Counselling Service                               01-2841665

Health Board: Catherine Brogan                       01-6707987

Bereavement Counselling                                     01-8391766

Compassionate Friends (Dublin)                        01-8322197

The Samaritans                                                             0850-609090

SÓLÁS (bereavement counselling for children)    01-4540355

NEPS                                                                                   0761108438

Muireann Fingleton                                                   0877031177