Supervision Toolkit for Early Years and Childcare Providers
This supervision toolkit is designed to support managers and supervisors in Early Years and Childcare settings with the supervision of staff they manage and undertaking safeguarding supervision.
The toolkit includes information about supervision and why it is important, as well as useful templates that you can adapt and use in your setting.
The introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage in 2012 made it a statutory requirement to undertake Supervision with staff and it has continued to remain a requirement in subsequent updated frameworks in 2017 and the current published in 2021 Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework.
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 practitioners 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.
Supervision should provide opportunities for staff to;
- discuss any issues – particularly concerning children’s development or well-being, including child protection concerns
- identify solutions to address issues as they arise
- receive coaching to improve their personal effectiveness
The Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision and Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings reference what inspectors will be looking for an inspection.
What is Supervision?
What is Supervision?
Formal supervision has been around for many years in Health, Social Work, Therapy and Counselling. Effective supervision is important for any practitioner, from any agency, involved in day to day work with children and their families, effective professional supervision can play a critical role in ensuring a clear focus on the child’s welfare.
All staff working in early years and childcare have a responsibility to safeguard the children in their care. Practitioners can only achieve this effectively if they:
- a clear about what is expected of them
- have the skills, knowledge, values and attitude’s to carry out their role
- are fully supported in their role and managed affectively
Supervision is one of the ways in which this can be achieved. It is a regular, planned, accountable two-way process which should offer support and develop the individual. Its purpose is to monitor the progress of practitioners and to help them improve the quality of their work they do which will improve outcomes for children. Supervision also provides an opportunity to discuss sensitive issues including the safeguarding of children and any other concerns raised about an individual’s or colleagues practice.
Lessons learnt from Serious Case Reviews have found that supervision is crucial for practitioners working in the Early Years and Childcare Sector, as supervision is essential to help them cope with the emotional demands of work with children and their families.
Recommendations from the Serious Case Review carried out by Plymouth Safeguarding Children’s Board in respect of nursery’s Z and Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board in respect of case number 201. 11/3 in Nechell’s. both reports found that there were members of staff who had concerns about the perpetrators, but the absence of proper staff supervision meant they did not have a formal opportunity in which they could raise concerns.
Supervision by a competent supervisor may have provided a forum where, within a safe environment, these feelings could have been aired (Plymouth Safeguarding Children’s Board Serious Case Review March 2010)
Effective supervision is important and this should support staff in reflecting on any concerns they may have about the behaviour of a colleague (Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board Serious Case Review 2013)
Good supervision give staff an opportunity to reflect on their practise explore worries or concerns about the welfare of children within the setting and contribute towards developing a confident and competent staff team. Supervision should foster a culture of mutual support, teamwork and continuous improvement and plays a crucial role in the development and retention of the Early Years and Childcare workforce.
Who should have supervision and how often?
Who should have supervision and how often?
All managers must receive regular supervision as they cannot support effectively if they are not being supported. Supervision must take place ‘on a regular basis’. Ofsted does not specify how often or how long supervision should last, but it must take place regularly whether the practitioner has just started or has been working in your organisation for some time. The level of supervision may differ, depending on the work they undertake within your setting. For example you will want to consider the nature of the individuals work and responsibility, a volunteer may need supervision less often for example once a term whereas a practitioner who is the designated safeguarding lead may require the opportunity more frequently i.e. monthly.
Having a written supervision agreement between all practitioners and supervisors in place that clearly establishes ground rules and expectations on both sides assists in creating a safe, secure an effective relationship, if this is not there from the beginning and the expectations of the session are different it could result in a breakdown in relationship. Each supervision agreement will be different and will be a working document that is changed to suit the needs of the practitioner.
Safeguarding supervision can be managed and recorded in the same way as general supervision but the agenda must be focused on the child, their safety and welfare must remain at the centre of all decision-making and, as highlighted in many multi agency case audits and serious case reviews now learning reviews the voice of the child must be at the centre.
Supervisors should have a professional curiosity and be prepared to ask probing questions, to challenge practitioners’ values and assumptions. Supervisors must always consider practitioners emotional well-being incompetence’s; however supervision is not counselling so be prepared to signpost to appropriate support services where necessary.
Recordkeeping is paramount and any safeguarding supervision that takes place discussing an individual child or family should also be stored in their safeguarding file.