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New guide to help schools manage critical incidents

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, today launched the ‘Guide to Managing Critical Incidents in Schools’.

The guide was commissioned by the Department of Education as part of the ‘iMatter’ Programme. It provides guidance to schools on how to be prepared for a critical incident and on ensuring effective management before, during and after the event.


Mr O’Dowd said: “Schools here have been affected by a number of different critical incidents in recent years, including civil disturbance, serious damage to school property caused by fire and vandalism, or the sudden death of a pupil or teacher.


“Such incidents happen when least expected and staff in our schools have an important role to play in supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of their school community and in maintaining control of the situation.


“The effects of a critical incident on a pupil or staff member can be wide-ranging and can impact on the wider community including pupils and staff from other schools.


“Although it is not possible to prepare in detail for every situation the guide is intended to help schools be prepared and to ensure effective management in a difficult situation. I believe that the Principals and staff involved in all types of critical incident will welcome this very useful resource.”


The ‘Guide to Managing Critical Incidents in Schools’ was developed by a working group representing school-based staff and external statutory and voluntary agencies. The guide is accompanied by a DVD produced by ESaGS.tv.


The guide will be distributed today to all grant-aided schools and made available on the Department’s website at http://www.deni.gov.uk The DVD materials will also be available on the ESaGS.tv website.


Notes for editors:


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


2. Support is provided to schools by the relevant Board’s critical incident response team during an incident. Contact details and information about the teams is available on each board’s website.


3. More information on the Department’s iMatter Programme can be found at: http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/pupils-and-parents/pupils/your-emotional-health-and-wellbeing.htm


4. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/education-works for more information.


Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/thedeptofeducation


5. View photos from the Department of Education in our collection at http://www.flickr.com/niexecutive

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