A critical incident is a sudden, unexpected and tragic event that causes significant and serious personal distress and disruption to children and staff. It may involve an individual or a group, but it potentially overwhelms normal responses and procedures. It will almost certainly impact upon the emotions and the organisation of school as a whole.

  • It happens fast
  • It happens ‘out of the blue’
  • It may involve large numbers of school members directly or indirectly
  • It is outside our usual experience
  • National disasters, especially those involving children, are often engraved on people’s memories for life

In our school this could be:

  • The death of a pupil or member of staff
  • A traffic accident involving a pupil or member of staff
  • A deliberate act of extreme violence
  • A fire
  • An explosion

Out of school:

  • Deaths or injuries on school journeys
  • Tragedies involving children from many schools, e.g. Hillsborough, Lockerbie
  • Civil disturbances e.g. bombings
  • Significant events within families involved in the school
  • Minimizing Risk

We act to minimise risk within our school setting and out of school through rigorous standards and expectations regarding:

  • Health
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Pupil conduct
  • Staff conduct
  • Parent/carer conduct

Please refer to the following policies:

  • Health and Safety
  • Behaviour
  • Educational Visits
  • Travel Plan
  • Emergency Policy
  • Fire Safety Policy

Communications

In a critical incident situation our school will work in partnership with Shropshire LA in communicating with the media. Our headteacher or deputy headteacher will act as spokesperson and all staff and governors are aware of this.

Communication with parents/carers will depend upon the nature of the incident.

Plan of Action

In a critical incident situation at school the following procedures are followed:

Fire, explosion, gas leak, violence on the premises etc

  • Assess the situation
  • Building evacuated if necessary and children bussed to The Marches SAchool if required
  • Emergency services alerted
  • Communicate with LA
  • Inform Chair of Governors
  • Inform parents/carers
  • Deal with the media
  • Staff offer support to children
  • Contact made with relevant support services

All through the incident it is important that staff act and remain calm and offer support to children, colleagues and parents/carers.

In a critical incident situation outside of school the following procedures are followed:

Death of a member of staff or child, critical incident in our local or wider community etc

  • Situation assessed
  • Headteacher and senior staff to decide upon how the information/situation is to be managed/communicated
  • Staff offer immediate support to children
  • Communicate with LA
  • Inform Chair of Governors
  • Deal with the media
  • Inform parents/carers
  • Contact made with relevant support services

In a critical incident situation outside of school involving children from this school the following procedures are followed:

Coach crash, accident during educational visit, losing a child, violence against a child or staff etc

  • Group Leader assesses the situation
  • Group leader manages the situation and communicates with the school**
  • Headteacher and senior staff to decide upon how the information/situation is to be managed/communicated
  • Communicate with LA
  • Inform Chair of Governors
  • Deal with the media
  • Inform parents/carers
  • Staff offer immediate support to children
  • Contact made with relevant support services

**REFER TO OUR EDUCATIONAL VISITS POLICY

Dealing with enquiries

If school communications are unaffected by the situation:

  • The head, deputy or a nominated senior member of staff manages enquiries
  • Full notes as the incident progresses
  • Accurate school lists of phone numbers and next of kin are available
  • Accurate school lists of children off the school premises (sick, on school trips) are available

Ensuring the safe return of children to their parents/carers

It is very important that children are reunited with their parents/carers as soon as possible after a critical incident in which they have been involved. Registers are checked to assess numbers and to highlight any children who may be missing. Staff record the name of any child who is taken by a parent/carer. It is important that the situation is managed as calmly and professionally as possible in order to reassure children and families.

Aftermath

It is important that the physical, mental and emotional well-being of all children and staff is paramount in the aftermath of a critical incident. Internal structures and outside support agencies are brought into operation to ensure that everyone within our school community feels supported through the fall out of a traumatic situation

Pre-emptive Organisation

Effective Health and Safety, Security and maintenance management minimise the risk of a critical incident occurring but we must prepare for the unexpected. The following measures are in place:

  • Registers are kept accurately and are accessible at all times
  • Names, addresses and contact numbers of all children and staff are accessible at all times
  • All staff are aware of this policy and know how to act in a critical incident situation
  • Our building is secure
  • Our site is secure and has CCTV
  • Evacuation procedures are practised regularly
  • Emergency radio call alerts are in place
  • Effective risk assessments are in place
  • All plant is regularly maintained
  • All services are regularly maintained
  • All staff and children conduct themselves in a safe manner
  • The following phone numbers are accessible at all times:
  • Emergency services
  • The LA
  • Chair of Governors
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Doctors’ surgeries
  • Arriva buses
  • The Marches School