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Manage a Critical Incident

Critical Incidents

What is a critical incident?

A critical incident may be defined as any sudden and unexpected incident or sequence of events which cause trauma within a school community and which overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of that school.

The best preparation which schools can make is to have their own Critical Incident Policy and Management Plan in place. This will enable them to mobilise their resources promptly and effectively.

Ideally schools should have their own critical incident team with each member having clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

SELB Critical Incident Response Team

The role of the SELB’s Critical Incident Response Team is to enhance the school’s pastoral care support system by providing advice, support and resources to allow the school staff to successfully manage a critical incident.

The SELB Critical Incident Response Team is managed by Sheila Gamble, Adviser, Pupil Personal Development Services, and coordinated by the PPDS team. The team is multi-disciplinary in nature, comprising of staff from the following services: Pupil Personal Development Service, Education Welfare Service, Educational Psychology Service, Behavioural Support Team, the Communication Department and Staff Welfare Services.

All Critical Incident Response Team members are trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).

When a Critical Incident happens...

When a critical incident happens schools can contact the Board’s Critical Incident Response Team. The Critical Incident Response Team Coordinator will contact the Principal to gather the facts and arrange a school visit. On arrival to the school the SELB Critical Incident Response Team Coordinator will meet with the Principal, the School Critical Incident Coordinator and SMT to assess the school’s needs. On completion of the assessment the Critical Incident Response Team Coordinator will contact other members of the SELB Critical Incident Response Team as required.

The SELB Critical Incident Response Team will provide Critical Incident advice, support and guidance such as:

Critical incident management advice and resources.Assist with the media enquiries and press statements.Assist with staff briefings.Provide support to individual pupils, pupil groups and staff.Ongoing support and communication throughout the Critical Incident to the Principal, Critical Incident Response Coordinator and SMT as required.

Critical Incident Management Training

Developing a Whole School Response to Loss and Critical Incident’ INSET 2 day training is available for Senior Managers and Leaders from the Pupil Personal Development Services Team. This training provides clear advice and guidance on developing a comprehensive critical incident policy, management plan and procedures to provide an appropriate whole school response. The training also explores effective strategies to support children and young people through bereavement and loss. Further information about this training can be obtained from the Pupil Personal Development Services Department.

If a Critical Incident happens outside working hours or the SELB Critical Incident Response Team is on route to your school we have prepared some useful information for you to use.



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The Southern Education and Library Board (the ‘Board’) was established as part of Local Government reorganisation in 1973 and is the largest of the five area Boards. The Board's principle functions are the provision of education and youth services to the District Council areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Craigavon, Dungannon & South Tyrone and Newry & Mourne. It spans 1,450 square miles with a total population of approximately 390,300 including 75,767 pupils.


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Telephone number: 028 3751 2200 | Email: info@eani.org.uk