Balliol Day Nursery: Critical Incident Policy

At Balliol Day Nursery we understand that we need to plan for all eventualities to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all the children we care for. With this in mind, we have a critical incident policy in place to ensure our nursery is able to operate effectively in the case of a critical incident. These include:

  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Burglary
  • Abduction or threatened abduction of a child
  • Bomb threat/terrorism attack 
  • Dangerous dog roaming loose
  • Chemical, biological or radiological contaminants.
  • Warning of air pollution (smoke plume, gas cloud etc)
  • Intruder
  • Any other incident that may affect the care of the children in the nursery.

If any of these incidents impact on the ability of the nursery to operate, we will contact parents via email at the earliest opportunity, e.g. before the start of the nursery day.


There is always a danger of flooding from adverse weather conditions or through the water/central heating systems. We cannot anticipate adverse weather; however, we can ensure that we take care of all our water and heating systems through regular maintenance and checks to reduce the option of flooding in this way. Our central heating systems are checked and serviced annually by a registered gas engineer and they conform to all appropriate guidelines and legislation. If flooding occurs during the nursery day, the nursery manager will make a decision based on the severity and location of this flooding, and it may be deemed necessary to follow the fire evacuation procedure. In this instance children will be kept safe and parents will be notified in the same way as the fire procedure. Should the nursery be assessed as unsafe through flooding, fire or any other incident, we will provide care in another location (The University Nursery, in Woodstock Road) until parents are able to collect their children. 


Please refer to the fire safety policy


The management of the nursery follow a lock up procedure which ensures all doors and windows are closed and locked before vacating the premises. The manager will always check the premises as they arrive in the morning. Should they discover that the nursery has been broken into they will follow the procedure below:

  • Dial 999 with as many details as possible, i.e. name and location, details of what you have found and emphasise this is a nursery and children will be arriving soon.
  • Contain the area to ensure no-one enters until the police arrive. The staff will direct parents and children to a separate area as they arrive. If all areas have been disturbed staff will follow police advice, including following the relocation procedure under flood wherever necessary to ensure the safety of the children.
  • The manager on duty will help the police with enquiries, e.g. by identifying items missing, areas of entry etc.
  • Management will be available at all times during this time to speak to parents, reassure children and direct enquires.
  • Management will assess the situation following a theft and ensure parents are kept up to date with developments relating to the operation of the nursery.

Abduction or threatened abduction of a child

We have secure safety procedures in place to ensure children are safe while in our care, including safety from abduction. Staff must be vigilant at all times and report any persons lingering on nursery property immediately. All doors and gates to the nursery are locked and cannot be accessed unless staff members allow individuals in. Parents are reminded on a regular basis not to allow anyone into the building whether they are known to them or not. Children will only be released into the care of a designated adult. Parents are requested to inform the nursery of any potential custody battles or family concerns as soon as they arise so the nursery is able to support the child. The nursery will not take sides in relation to any custody battle and will remain neutral for the child. If an absent parent arrives to collect their child, the nursery will not restrict access unless a court order is in place. Parents are requested to issue the nursery with a copy of these documents should they be in place. We will consult our solicitors with regards to any concerns over custody and relay any information back to the parties involved.

If a member of staff witnesses an actual or potential abduction from nursery we have the following procedures which are followed immediately:

  • The police must be called immediately.
  • The staff member will notify management immediately and the manager will take control.
  • The parent(s) will be contacted.
  • All other children will be kept safe and secure and calmed down where necessary.
  • The police will be given as many details as possible including details of the child, description of the abductor, car registration number if used, time and direction of travel if seen and any family situations that may impact on this abduction.

Bomb threat/terrorism attack

If a bomb threat is received at the nursery, the person taking the call will record all details given over the phone as soon as possible and raise the alarm as soon as the phone call has ended. The management will follow the fire evacuation procedure to ensure the safety of all on the premises and will provide as much detail to the emergency services as possible. The police will be contacted as soon as all children and staff are safe.

Dangerous dog roaming loose

If the nursery is notified of a dangerous dog roaming loose the staff member will notify the Manager and call for all the children to be kept inside until we have been notified of the dog being captured or removed from the area.

Chemical, biological or radiological contaminants

If the nursery is notified of chemical, biological or radiological contaminants we will keep the children inside and close all windows and doors. We will follow instructions given to us. We will wait for instructions that it is safe before opening any windows or doors.

Warning of air pollution (smoke plume, gas cloud, etc.)

If the nursery is notified of a warning of air pollution we will keep the children inside and close all windows and doors. We will follow instructions given to us. We will wait for instructions that it is safe before opening any windows or doors.


If an intruder has been seen on the nursery premises all action will be taken to keep the children safe. All staff will be notified and the staff will collect the children in the room they feel would be safest. E.g if the intruder comes into the nursery garden the staff member will say aloud a confiditenal password code which instructs all staff members to take the children into the nearest safest room.

The Deputy Manager will call the register to ensure all children and staff are accounted for.

Other incidents

All incidents will be managed by the manager on duty and all staff will co-operate with any emergency services on the scene. Any other incident that requires evacuation will follow the fire plan. Other incidents e.g. no water supply will be dealt with on an individual basis taking into account the effect on the safety, health and welfare of the children and staff in the nursery.

The nursery manager will notify Ofsted in the event of a critical incident.

Lockdown procedure

We will use the lock down procedure when the safety of the children and staff is at risk and we will be better placed inside the current building, with doors and windows locked and blinds/curtains drawn.

We will activate this emergency procedure in response to a number of situations, but some of the more typical might be:

  • A reported incident or disturbance in the local community (with potential to pose a risk to staff and children in the nursery).
  • An intruder on the nursery site (with potential to pose a risk to staff and children in nursery).
  • A warning being received regarding a risk locally, of air pollution (smoke plumes, gas cloud etc).
  • A major fire or explosion in the vicinity of the nursery – as long as it is safer staying in the premises than leaving.

In this case the staff will be notified by the following action: A confidiential password code will be spoken to all staff members. Adults will immediately lock any doors and shut windows (where safe to do so) unless children are in the garden and need to get back into the building for their safety. The Manager on duty will decide on the safest area to congregate, this will be dependent on the outside situation. If the children are outside, staff are to promptly and calmly direct children into the building, if this will not endanger them. Staff will make efforts to close and lock doors behind them. All individuals will keep away from the windows and doors and children will be occupied in the centre of the room so they are not placed at risk or are able to see any situation developing outside.

The manager will ensure all children, staff and visitors are accounted for and safe before returning to the office area to keep up to date with the current situation via updates. The manager on duty will manage the situation dependant on the situation and the information available. If the nursery is in immediate danger of an intruder, the police will be called as a matter of urgency. In other cases where the situation has been called through by the police or local area authority, the nursery will await further instructions. Once the all clear has been given externally, the manager will issue the all clear internally. After this time the staff will try to return practice to normal to enable the children not to be disrupted or upset by the events. Any children showing worries or concerns will have one to one time with their key person to talk about these. Parents will be informed about the situation at the earliest safest opportunity and will be kept updated when the information changes.

After the event a post-incident evaluation will be conducted to ensure that each child and staff member was supported fully and the procedure went as planned.

19 October 2020

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