Lisa Lea-Weston of Talking Heads, Oak Practice explains her role and how it benefits schools.
What is supervision?
Supervision is standard practice in professions such as social work and psychotherapy/psychology; recently it is gaining more traction in educational settings. So what exactly is it, and how could it benefit you and your school?
Supervision is professional support for staff which allows them to discuss their work in a supportive, non-judgemental space. The focus of this support is for the supervisee to be their best at work. The pupils of the school are the main beneficiaries of supervision, as staff are supported and better able to fulfil their role. In addition, the risk of burn-out is reduced and job satisfaction is increased for the employee.
Supervision usually takes the form of a monthly session of about an hour. This can be in person, or via an online service such as Skype. One Assistant Head from Warwickshire said that it gives her “the chance to reflect holistically on my practice, understand and share the blocks that were/are hampering me being the best me I can be at work – and subsequently out of work – and finding a place to offload my worries with regard to safeguarding and the toll it can take physically and mentally.”
Why do people seek supervision?
Passion – People go into education because at some point they were passionate – it felt/feels like a calling. Over time this can get lost and one can become disconnected from this feeling under the weight of internal and external pressure.
Feeling Overwhelmed and Lost – Educationalists come to Oak Practice because they want to be the best they can be. They know the value of taking an hour a month to truly be with all aspects of their work and non-work self with a person they trust and feel safe with. It is only with such a person that we can risk sharing what is not feeling ok, what we feel is not going well, maybe how unsure and afraid we are.
Isolation – Those in senior leadership in schools work in a culture that is currently about managing. Having a monthly supervision session supports staff who may feel that their position in school makes them isolated from other professionals. Likewise those who carry a heavy workload of child protection issues benefit greatly from supervision.
What happens in a supervision session?
Firstly, I find out whether you would like a tea/coffee! I think this is very important and is the beginning of the welcoming and settling process. Much that is said whilst I make a cup of tea ends up being the returned to theme of the supervision! Really!
If we are meeting via Skype, I will still make sure you know you are welcome to have a drink and talk you through the process of settling into our respective unshared but shared space.
We then work together to reflect on and explore the issues in your practice, and identify how you can work towards the best outcomes for your pupils.
1.30pm – 4pm 21st September
The Cornish Room
Hannah’s at Seale Hayne