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Supervision Policy

N.b. any change



Policy details

  • Date Created        November 2023
  • Date Reviewed        23/11/23
  • Date Approved        25/1/2024
  • Next review date        November 2024
  • Policy Owner                Nina Carter


Introduction & Background        1

Definition of Safeguarding Supervision        2

Purpose of Safeguarding Supervision for (D)DSLs        2

Supervision Models and Tools        3

Safeguarding Supervision Contract        3

Entitlement to Safeguarding Supervision        4

Academy-specific supervision        4

Appendix A
Supervision Contract

Appendix B
Suggested Supervision Agenda        6

Introduction & Background

This policy is based on the model policy written by the Redbridge Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) for the provision of Safeguarding Supervision for the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).

The document, Working Together to Safeguard Children, HM Government, 2018, highlights the role of supervision for those with safeguarding responsibilities.

The Co-op Academies Trust identified through learning from safeguarding audits that there was a need for DSLs in schools to be provided with support and guidance specifically around their safeguarding role, separate from management supervision and that this was not always taking place.

As the member of school staff with specific responsibility and leadership in safeguarding children, there can be a risk of feeling isolated, particularly when first in the role. In response to this need this policy has been produced.

Definition of Safeguarding Supervision

Safeguarding supervision is the provision of professional support and learning which enables practitioners (in this case the DSL or Deputy DSL (DDSL)) to develop knowledge and competence. It facilitates the practitioner to be able to take responsibility for their own practice and respond to the needs and risks presented by children and young people. Safeguarding supervision is separate from line management supervision.

Purpose of Safeguarding Supervision for (D)DSLs

The purpose of Safeguarding Supervision for DSLs is to:

  • review workloads, if needed;
  • discuss and seek guidance on specific cases;
  • provide an opportunity where a member of staff can be challenged supportively and constructively within mutually agreed and accepted boundaries by a professional experienced in safeguarding children;
  • allow for issues relating to the workplace and to working practices to be identified and discussed;
  • identification of achievements; and
  • provide support with emotional well-being and resilience.

Safeguarding supervision is not related to appraisal, auditing or line management. It is therefore not essential that the Supervisor sits hierarchically above the supervisee, thus reciprocal arrangements can be used. It would usually be provided by a professional independent from the school or college.

Supervision Models and Tools

This part of the policy is concerned primarily with one to one safeguarding supervision for (D)DSLs that takes place in private at a pre-arranged time with an agreed agenda and preparation on behalf of both parties.

However, there is also a place for ad-hoc or unplanned supervision if the supervisee requires this, which is allowed for the Supervision Contract, and value in group safeguarding supervision with other DSLs.

There are many different tools that can be used during supervision, including:

  • processes that help to frame the dilemma or issue that the supervisee is facing;
  • Socratic questioning 1 (using questions that encourage the use of critical reflection on the supervisees thought processes and decision-making);
  • Wonnacott’s Discrepancy Matrix2 (looking at what is known, not yet known or unknown about a case from the point of view of the professionals and the family);
  • Supervisee anxiety scale to for use in helping to deal with stress, anxiety and workload pressure;
  • learnable skills of resilience and other resilience tools;
  • decision making hats (looking at how the supervisee makes decisions); and
  • Maclean’s head, heart, hands and feet3 which aids reflection and considering the range of skills, knowledge and experience used in a particular case.

1 Socratic questioning: Changing minds or guided discovery, Padesky, C. (1993)

2 Social Work in Practice

3 Research in Practice (RiP), Reflective Supervision Tools, 2017

Safeguarding Supervision Contract

It is good practice to agree to a Safeguarding Supervision Contract before supervision activities commence. The most important part of this is the discussions that take place before supervision has actually begun, which is the time for the supervisor and supervisee to consider expectations of each other, particularly the boundaries between safeguarding supervision and management supervision, and establish the basis for a strong and supportive relationship going forward.

The contract should outline the expectation, including the following elements.

  • frequency and length of safeguarding supervision;
  • location supervision should take place in a private and uninterrupted space during the working day;
  • recording it is the responsibility to take notes and make sure they are copied, circulated and filed. Both parties need to agree and sign that they are accurate.
  • Records must be kept in a secure location. The records themselves must be kept in a format that suits both parties; however a summary sheet of actions will be completed during or immediately after the session. Any discussion relating to a specific child will be recorded on CPOMS for that child. A sample session Recording Sheet is provided at Appendix C; and
  • confidentiality in general supervision is considered as confidential, however there will be occasions where confidentiality will be overridden, for example in the case of child protection issues or if not sharing information with senior school management could contribute in bringing the school into disrepute.

A sample contract is included at Appendix A. It is good practice to review the contract and the supervision arrangement annually to ensure that it is meeting the learning needs of the DSL and having a positive impact on their practice.

Entitlement to Safeguarding Supervision

It is important that safeguarding supervision is provided to the DSL. If a DSL is not receiving safeguarding supervision at the required frequency during the year they should:

  • in the first instance discuss any complaints or dissatisfaction with their supervisor and endeavour to reach an agreement within the normal supervision process; or
  • if a solution is not agreed, the supervisee should raise the issue with the Principal

Academy-specific supervision

In addition to the supervision provided for the DSL and DDSLs, there are a number of other occasions where all staff may receive a form of identified support. This policy refers to support which relates to safeguarding.

Staff attend training on recording and reporting using CPOMS. Where reporting on CPOMS falls below the expected standard, further training and guidance is provided by the DSL/a DDSL in the first instance and increased monitoring occurs. At Co-op Academy Failsworth we have specific counselling support available every Thursday to support our counsellor and any other staff e.g Heads of Year.

The DSL team meets weekly in a minuted meeting to discuss general safeguarding issues, including training. The DSL does case file supervision with the DDSL and Head of Year.

The DSL holds regular meetings with the Welfare team to discuss issues relating to students under their remit.

The DSL holds  regular meetings with the headteacher and other lead teachers to discuss issues relating to students in all key welfare areas.

In the event of a serious incident occurring in a class or with a student, the staff involved will receive a debrief from the DSL and any additional support required will be put in place in a timely manner.

Any staff member may approach any member of the DSL team for support with matters relating to safeguarding at any time.