By Alyson Knowles on 13 May 2021
During this year’s Mental Health Awareness week its important to recognise that its not just about the children, the parents or the families we support and work with – It’s also about YOU & it’s also about ME!
One of the ways we here at One Education Support safeguarding teams and staff in schools is through Supervision.
What is Supervision?
Supervision is a regular & dedicated time for an individual or group to reflect upon, analyse and critique their practice. It gives the opportunity to discuss approaches, cases & events to develop critical learning for future practice under the guidance of a qualified safeguarding supervisor. It is the job of the supervisor to create a safe space for the supervisee to discuss concerns and create action plans and overcome any barriers which we may be facing in the course of our work.
Safeguarding and Child Protection work should at all times remain child-focused with needs of the child being the priority. It is very easy to become lost in the complexities of the needs of a family and the parents and carers – often we can find ourselves focusing solely on the needs of the parent rather than the needs of the individual child. Supervision allows us time to re-focus, take a step back from these confusing and complex groups and return to the needs of the child.
This is accomplished by providing a space to reflect upon the needs of the child, what is placing them at risk, what impact will our actions have and what are the views of the child. When we are rushing about we may forget this, miss something and need time to reflect with a professional supervisor.
Safeguarding and Child protection work in education is hard, we know this. It is often relentless and can impact on us all psychologically and emotionally – whether through managing and supporting children who present high risk behaviours or dealing daily with difficult, challenging and complex situations and incidents. Even with regular discussions, these things can have a long term and far reaching impact on all of us. While Supervision is not counselling or trauma care for staff, it is a space where the emotional impact of the complex and difficult cases you work with can be discussed safely. It assists in enabling the supervisee to process and understand the complex emotions connected to their roles. It may also highlight where more in-depth and therapeutic interventions are needed and can lead to referrals for staff being made at an earlier stage.
The benefit for the organisation of this emotional care is that staff members have a safe comfortable confidential space within which they can share this emotional toll and therefore are less likely to become overwhelmed and make mistakes and become ‘burnt-out’. This will result in better outcomes for your children, a higher standard of work from professionals without staff becoming demotivated or disillusioned and therefore reduce staff absence through stress and mental health difficulties.
Supervision is not training or formal professional development, however it should lead to the imbedding of good practice, and the development of skills and understanding through the reflective process. Simply, we cannot learn from our experiences without having the time to break them down and reflect upon them. Supervision may also highlight a gap in skills or knowledge which can be addressed and therefore increase the confidence of the supervisee.
With all this guidance and suggested good practice and the numerous personal, individual and organisational benefits it is difficult to see why supervision has not been made compulsory in all sectors of education and seen as an essential part of any good safeguarding practice.
Leadership in Education Virtual Conference – 8th July 2021
Join myself and James Traynor at the One Education ‘Leadership in Education’ Virtual Conference where we will be talking about Supporting Safeguarding through Supervision and how this can support the wellbeing of staff and student.
Catch up with our Virtual 2021 Safeguarding Conference!
Our workshop from our recent Safeguarding conference, ‘Understanding the Importance of Supervision’ is available in our Education Welfare & Safeguarding members zone, please contact us at One Education for further information.
Talk to us!
Contact the Education Welfare and Safeguarding Team at One Education to find out how we may support you and your school through Professional Supervision.
- The Munro Review of Child Protection: A child-centred system (2011)
- The Laming Report into the Death of Victoria Climbe (2003)
- Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (2017)