Supervision for staff working in schools and community contexts: working relationally and reflectively

Course overview

Supervision is a work-based learning relationship, characterised by relating and reflecting. It is a critical component of safe and effective practice across the human services, ensuring a containing and reflective space for practitioners to acknowledge and process the often stressful, uncomfortable and painful experiences of working with children, young people, their families and the systems around them. Through containment and reflection rooted in a dynamic and relational supervisory experience, both supervisor and supervisee are enabled to learn and grow across their professional career. This course is designed for practitioners experienced in providing supervision to colleagues in their own work contexts, as well as those planning to take up a supervisory role in future. 

This course is informed by the integration of theory and research- and practice-based evidence on supervision. It aims to ensure all participants understand the importance of ethical and anti-discriminatory supervision across their career, and in making use of various supervisory models to reflect on and review practice. It provides an opportunity to develop supervisory skills and competencies, including those outlined in the British Psychological Society’s Division of Educational and Child Psychology Guidelines for Professional Supervision Practice.


During the course, we explore evidence on supervisory models, relationships and processes using the literature and participant contribution to draw out some of the issues which arise in supervision. There is a particular emphasis on the consideration of systemic, attachment and psychodynamic perspectives on the supervisory relationship. Developing a supportive and reflective atmosphere within which to think about the meaning of the supervisory task and context, as well as the material brought to and from supervision, is critical to the success of the course. There is an experiential component to all sessions, were participants bring material from their own work contexts for exploration. 

At the end of Days 1 to 4, a task pertaining to developing supervisory competence is discussed and participants are expected to apply their learning in their work context and bring back the experience of doing so for small group reflection and feedback. For Autumn 2020, we have included a 5th day on the practice of group supervision, based on the high demand from previous participants for input on providing supervision to groups.

Upon successful completion of this course participants will have increased knowledge in: 

  • aims, functions and models of supervision
  • the professional, ethical and legal contexts within which supervision is provided
  • issues pertaining to difference and diversity in supervision.


Upon successful completion of this course participants will enhance their skills in: 

  • establishing, developing and ending a supervisory relationship, including contracting and reviewing the effectiveness for supervisee and supervisor
  • supervisory processes
  • communication within the supervisory context, including the provision and receipt of feedback [and evaluation where relevant].

This course has been designed for teachers and senior staff working in schools, children's services, or other care or educational contexts who either currently provide supervision as part of their professional role or who are interested in doing so. It is also suitable for applied psychologists engaging in supervisory practice in local government, public sector, child, family and adult services and alternative contexts (e.g., social enterprises, voluntary and independent private practice).  In particular, 

(i) Educational Psychologists involved in providing supervision to trainee EPs within the national Professional Practice Placement Framework and 

(ii) psychologists focused on enhancing HCPC proficiency standards pertaining to supervision may wish to attend.

This course is facilitated by:

Dr Emma-Kate Kennedy, a chartered psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Dr Kennedy is Deputy Director for the educational psychology doctoral training programme at the Trust, as well as team manager for the Autism Spectrum Conditions and Learning Disabilities Team in the Children, Young Adults and Families Department. She leads on the development of supervisory practice on the initial training course, including current research into the experience of supervisory relationships from the perspective of supervisee and supervisor and has presented at national and international conferences in this area. She provides supervision to trainees and staff in her training and clinical roles, as well as to staff in schools

Dr Chris Shaldon, a Senior Educational Psychologist in Islington local authority and an Academic and Professional Tutor on the educational psychology doctoral training programme at the Trust. Dr Shaldon has extensive experience as a supervisor for both trainees and qualified practitioners, including Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools and supervision is a core research area of interest. 

Caoimhe McBay is a chartered psychologist, Educational Psychologist in Lewisham local authority and an Academic and Professional Tutor on the educational psychology doctoral training programme at the Trust. Caoimhe has extensive experience as a supervisor of trainees and is completing her professional doctorate in educational psychology with a research focus on supervision. 

Lectures, workshops and reading seminars on supervision, with an online forum for exchanging questions, comments and dialogue across the four sessions. There is an emphasis on active participation and learning through reflection on experience, and participants bring practice experience from their own work contexts for reflection with the group.

 New dates will be advertised here in due course. Please contact us at to be added to the waiting list.

 New dates will be advertised here in due course. Please contact us at to be added to the waiting list.

Included in your course fee, you will receive online membership of the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection, plus reference access to all our print books. Our Information Skills Trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are also available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying).

Library staff curate various online resources, such as Audio/Video Playlists, and regularly share helpful news and research on Twitter and Facebook. Find out more on the Library website:

Certificate of attendance
The Tavistock Centre, London
Admission status:
Course lead:
Emma-Kate Kennedy

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 Approved by the British Psychological Society for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).