In times of stress it is sometimes easy to keep one’s head down, to ‘get on with it’ and not take time to reflect. Organisations, teams and individuals can collude with this attitude for a variety of reasons, including external pressures and internal fears of exposing one’s own inadequacies. At times like this supervision can be very important. It can give us a chance to stand back and reflect.Hawkins and Shohet 2007: p3
What is supervision?
Supervision offers a confidential and reflective space to present, discuss, share and explore the dilemmas of the job. What’s unique to supervision, with Hidden Treasures, is that the reflective practice offers opportunities for supervisees to access their creativity; using art, images, stories and metaphors. This can create the necessary distance that enables a new perspective and different way of looking at things. From our experience, a creative approach can also strengthen resourcefulness and develop empathy, which in turn can support a more desired way of working or relating to others. But there is never any pressure to create; it’s absolutely okay just to talk.
Why supervision in Education?
In 2012 the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS 2012) made it mandatory for staff working in early years settings to attend supervision. This was in response to a serious case review by the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board in 2010. It was recognised that having supervision with a competent supervisor may have provided staff with a platform to share concerns about safeguarding issues at work.
Since then Ofsted have echoed this. Section 3 of ‘The Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements’ states:
- Providers must put appropriate arrangements in place for the supervision of staff who have contact with children and families. Effective supervision provides support, coaching and training for the practitioner and promotes the interests of children. Supervision should foster a culture of mutual support, teamwork and continuous improvement which encourages the confidential discussion of sensitive issues. (3.19)
- Supervision should provide opportunities for staff to:
- discuss any issues – particularly concerning children’s development or well-being;
- identify solutions to address issues as they arise; and
- receive coaching to improve their personal effectiveness. (3.20)
- The Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements
Through our work in schools and nurseries, Hidden Treasures have become acutely aware of how valuable supervision is for all staff in education; from early years up to college age. As dramatherapists, employed in and by organisations, we have always recognised the importance of working systemically with a child or young person; of understanding and supporting them in context. From our experience, the children and adults in school can often come to represent an extended family. This association carries with it the potential for both pupils and staff to feel challenged as well as supported by their school experiences. Supervision can offer a safe space to understand and explore these dynamics.
At Hidden Treasures, we strongly promote the value of enabling all staff to feel safeguarded, resourced, listened to and supported with the emotional, psychological and practical challenges / impact of their work. Our supervision service aims to support staff on all these levels, along with their own self care and collaboration with others. We believe - and it is widely recognised to be the case - that this support has a direct impact on the wellbeing of pupils.
The private and confidential space of supervision generates a host of benefits which trickle down to the pupils’ learning, growth and safety. These benefits include:
- reducing stress
- strengthening inner resources
- supporting emotional wellbeing
- nurturing creativity
- developing confidence
- ensuring best practice
These outcomes reduce staff absence and increase employee retention, which in turn ensures a school maintains sustainable, high quality educational experiences for pupils.
Who is supervision for?
Supervision can benefit anyone whose practice involves working with others and learning from experience. In the education sector, Jessie and Steph have supervised Headteachers, Senior Leadership Teams, Teachers, SENCos and Learning support assistants. In essence, a wide range of staff who have needed a safe and confidential space to bring and explore work related issues.
We tailor our supervision packages to the requirements of the school and staff by offering:
- Individual sessions, small group sessions or larger group sessions.
- Open or closed groups, for a set group of people.
- Fortnightly, monthly, half termly or termly sessions.
- Group sessions between 1½ - 2 hrs (depending on the size of the group).
- Individual sessions between 50 minutes - 1 hour.
- Spontaneous and improvised sessions, following the needs of the supervisee/s as they emerge in the session.
- Pre-planned sessions, to respond to particular themes or issues that are present for staff groups or teams; such as anxiety, stress, work place challenges and / or safeguarding.
If you are interested in having supervision at your school, please fill in the form on the CONTACT US page and one of us will be in touch shortly. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org