Crisis management for schools

  • Wilson K. MacNeil

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology


    Initial modules review the literature on critical incidents or crises with emphasis on a school context where possible and appropriate. A widely accepted four-stage model is used as a basis for the review. In the field of crisis management, practice appears to be based mainly on clinical judgement and the related best practice literature provides valuable insights. A number of specific programs are discussed which do have some founding in research. For a range of reasons, mental health promotion in the school context is gaining attention and appears a particularly promising area that can be used effectively. A number of interventions are of questionable efficacy. Youth Suicide is considered as an issue of specific importance to schools. In module 4, a skills-based training workshop is developed around a scenario of an evolving crisis. With the intent of giving school staff the skills to undertake the multiplicity of tasks that may be required, the workshop uses evidence-based and best practice recommendations to create a coherent path through crisis situations. The following module takes this process further by creating a comprehensive, step-by-step process for producing a school crisis management plan that sets out how the Crisis Management Team will operate, the tasks it will perform and the support that will be available, Module 6 looks at school safety and the link to crisis management. Critical questions are considered in relation to the value of a safety audit to a school and to the Crisis Management process, and, whether taking actions based on an audit leads to a safer school. Finally, consideration is given to how the school can support recovery after a crisis. Practical actions are identified for immediate and ongoing actions based on particular models where there is some supportive evidence as to effectiveness. Limitations are noted, particularly that much of the research is based on disasters and focuses on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKeith Topping (Supervisor)

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