Scope of Policy

This policy relates to critical incidents involving staff and pupils and seeks to ensure that such incidents can be dealt with effectively and promptly, and that appropriate systems and responsibilities are in place to do so. The school places no obligation on members of the school community to intervene in any critical incident if this action places their own or another person’s safety at risk.


Policy Statement

The school recognises that critical incidents can greatly affect people and that co-ordinated and systematic procedures are necessary to facilitate the provision of a rapid, appropriate and comprehensive response at the immediate time of the incident as well as post-incident support to members of the school community affected by the incident. Details relating to any critical incident will be treated in a confidential manner.

St. Marnock’s N. S. aims to protect the well-being of its pupils and staff by providing a safe and nurturing environment at all times. The school has formulated a number of policies and procedures to be followed with a view to ensuring the physical and psychological safety of both pupils and staff during the normal course of the school day and in the event of a critical incident.

Such policies would include:

  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Anti Bullying Policy
  • Code of Behaviour Policy
  • S.P.H.E. Programme


Definition of a Critical Incident:

A critical incident may be defined as: “an incident or sequence of events that overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of the school, and disrupts the normal running of the school”.

Critical incidents may involve students, staff, the school or the local community.


Examples of a critical incident might be:

  • The death of a member of the school community, through sudden death, accident, suicide or terminal illness
  • A serious accident or tragedy in the school community
  • The disappearance of a member of the school community


Aim of Plan:

The aim of the Critical Incident Plan is that in the event of such an incident the plan will help staff and management to react quickly and effectively and to maintain control of the situation. The plan will also help the school to return to normality as soon as possible and limit the affects of the incident on staff and students.


Critical Incident Management Team

St Marnock’s N.S. has set up a Critical Incident Management Team consisting of the following personnel:

  • The Principal, and the Deputy Principal
  • The School Chaplain
  • Nominee of the Board of Management
  • Nominee of the Parents’ Association


The Critical Incident Management Team may co-opt other members of staff to assist them, should they deem it necessary.


The Principal will act as Team Leader or in his absence the Deputy Principal.


Role of Team Leader:

  • The team leader alerts team members to the crisis and convenes a meeting of the team
  • Co-ordinates/delegates tasks of the other team members.
  • In case of bereavement, liaises with the bereaved family


Other areas of responsibilities, which may be delegated by the team Leader to members of the Critical Management Team would include:

  • Contacting Emergency support services
  • Briefing and advising the staff and noting their feelings and concerns.
  • Organising the supervision of pupils in the school
  • Keeping staff updated on information/developments /progress
  • Meeting pupils to brief them on the situation
  • Liasing with external agencies for support or referrals


Record Keeping:

All team members will keep written records of phone calls, letters, meetings interventions etc.



The school is conscious of its responsibility to protect the privacy and good name of people involved in any incident and will be sensitive to the consequences of any public statements.


Critical Incident Management Plan

Management Team

Principal                                             Anthony Fitzgerald                  

Deputy Principal                                 Gerry Greene                 

Board of Management Nominee           Elizabeth Crilly              

Parents’ Association Nominee              Orlaith Tully & Elaine O’Hanlon 

NEPS Psychologist                              Sinead Hearne


The Critical Incident Management Team may co-opt other members of staff and the board of management to assist them, should they deem it necessary.



Short Term Actions and Roles Assigned

Day 1
  • Convene meeting of Critical Incident Team and allocate tasks.
  • Gather accurate information
  • Make contact with effected parties
  • Contact appropriate agencies
  • Convene a meeting of key staff
  • Arrange supervision of pupils
  • Hold staff meeting
  • Organise a time table for the day
  • Inform parents
  • Inform pupils
  • Deal with the media

Medium Term Actions and Roles Assigned

Days 2 & 3

  • Review the events of the 1st day
  • Arrange support for individuals/groups as required
  • Plan the re-integration of pupils and staff
  • Plan visits to injured
  • Liaise with family regarding funeral arrangements
  • Plan the school’s involvement in the funeral service
  • Plan attendance of school community at funeral service
  • Arrange for school to be closed if necessary


Long Term Actions and Roles Assigned

Beyond the 3rd Day:

  • Monitor pupils and staff for continuing signs of stress
  • Evaluate response to incident and amend Critical Incident Plan appropriately
  • Decide on appropriate way to mark anniversaries


Emergency Contact Numbers


Gardai 6664600
Ambulance 999   
HSE (Health Service Executive) 6352500
Presbytery, Portmarnock 8461081
St. Anne’s Parish Centre 8461561
Fire Brigade 999
N.E.P.S. Psychologist (Sinead Hearne) 0872633264
Doctor Madden 5676300
Doctor O’Flynn 8461335
Doctor Flanagan 8461300
Department of Education & Science 8734700



This policy was formulated by the Principal in consultation with the staff, Board of Management and Parents’ Association and ratified by the Board of management. It will be reviewed at intervals and amended in the light of experience.