Understanding behaviours of concern and responding to crisis situations

The Department of Education will publish their Understanding Behaviours of Concern and Responding to Crisis Situations – Guidelines for schools in Supporting Students in the near future. The guidelines will be supported with training and will include a statement on language noting that as the term SEN is used in Irish legislation, its use is unavoidable in the new guidelines. 

The guidelines introduction shares the core values that underpin the new guidelines, the legal context and the education context.  

The second section Understanding and Responding to Behaviours of Concern introduces positive behaviour support that promotes a more inclusive learning environment for all and provides multi­tiered responses that are interactive and cumulative in nature. 

The guidelines then consider the prevention and responses to Crisis Situations offering de-escalation techniques and highlight actions that may increase agitation. It provides a clear definition of Seclusion that should never be used in the school setting. Physical Restraint can only be used in crisis situations when there is a danger to the student or to the safety of others and staff should use the least amount of force for the shortest amount of time. 

The guidelines will also provide Resources for schools including sample records of incidents, staff reflection forms and case studies of effective practice. A quick overview of each section is provided in a Key Messages box. The guidelines will also provide an actions checklist and sample scenarios. The guidelines will also offer advice on how to engage with parents in the aftermath of an incident of Physical Restraint. 

The Department are considering a suite of supports and training to be rolled out as soon as possible after publication. 

Update provided by Keith Mooney (School Support Team)