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Crisis management in a primary school

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Dunblane Primary School, Scotland, and Columbine High School, USA. Two headline tragedies that have led to trauma for their pupils and staff. Trauma that could be devastating because of the psychological impact and the practical requirements a crisis brings. Children's social and personal development can be negatively affected, their academic performance can suffer and schools as communities may never recover. Unfortunately, crises like these could hit any school, anywhere. So, how is your school prepared to face a major emergency? This article explains how a primary school staff worked collaboratively to develop, evaluate and improve their own emergency plan. A school which expects the unexpected and considers the practical and emotional implications of a crisis will respond more effectively and hence lessen the impact on the whole school. Planning included the formation of a crisis management team (CMT) and practical requirements such as a media statement. The evaluation of the plan took place using a simulation of a crisis over real time. The CMT had to react to the role-play using their emergency plan. It became apparent that this role-play was effective at consolidating the practical and emotional requirements of a crisis as well as a better understanding of the plan.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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