In order to help you to understand and customise our service, we have created a few examples of ways that schools may wish to take up our service. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note these are only hypothetical examples to illustrate approaches you may wish to take.
Example 1: Large Primary School
In this large inner-city primary school, which recently expanded from 2- to 3-form entry, the SLT felt that there was a need to focus their attention on the rapidly expanding staff body as retention rates were low, and many teachers were reporting that they were suffering with stress. Much of the senior-team's time was taken up with supporting and managing these stressed staff-members, and as a result their focus on school-improvement was slipping. In addition, some of the school staff felt that as it expanded, their school was losing its distinct identity - it didn't feel like a community to them any more.
In this situation we would suggest offering counselling during the school day to any teacher who wished to take this up, on a self-referral basis. We would also offer out-of-hours referrals for a limited number of staff so that they could access counselling without other members of staff knowing about this.
In addition we would organise two fortnightly reflective practice groups: the first, during the school day, would involve senior- and middle-leaders reflecting on their relationships not only with children but also with each other. The second group, set up during non-contact time after school hours, would be open to any teaching staff who wished to attend. It was hoped that these groups would enable staff to re-establish a sense of shared identity from the bottom-up, and find their voices again.
We would offer Bring a Child to Therapy to those who wished to take it up, but this would not be a key part of the initial plan.
In total, two members of staff would be in school for one day (8:30am - 5pm) per fortnight.
Example 2: 'Good' primary school
In this successful primary school, the new-in-post headteacher felt that although the school was rated 'good', the staff were overly-reliant on direction. This, he felt, was holding back his teachers from finding their own voices as teachers, and also from reaching the 'outstanding' standards that his School Improvement Plan aimed for. Further, in a school which had vacancies unfilled for its middle-leadership, no-one seemed interested or to have the confidence in their own abilities to fill these roles.
In discussion with the SLT, we might identify the key area that we could support as being Bring a Child to Therapy, in which teachers could be given structured time and space in which to explore their own beliefs and experiences in the classroom. We would offer one session per fortnight for every teacher, running in blocks of 6 sessions per teacher. We would also offer the service to other staff, with a view to supporting the headteacher's desire to further professionalise the whole staff body.
In total, we would offer 10 sessions per day, one day per week, so two members of staff would be in school one day per week (8:30am - 5pm).
Example 3: Changing demographics
In this final example, the senior team were keen to explore ways to help their staff deal with a rapidly changing demographic in their catchment area. This previously lower-middle-class area was now housing increasing numbers of displaced people from Africa and the Middle East, and this was proving difficult for some of the staff and families to adapt to. Some staff were concerned that they were not able to offer the education these new learners - many of whom spoke little or no English - required, and felt that their increased focus on the children with EAL meant that they were letting down those children who did have a good grasp of English. Others reported increased levels of stress regarding the expectations of progress and attainment for those newly arrived in the country, and feared they would be unable to help these children meet their targets.
In this situation we would focus our work on 1-to-1 counselling, and on Bring a Child to Therapy, so that we could support teachers to process their feelings regarding the difficult situation they were working. We might agree that now was not a good time to begin group work, but that we would look to begin this after a term or two, once we had had a chance to establish some trusting relationships with staff.
In this school we would begin working at fortnightly intervals with those staff who self-referred into 1-to-1 counselling, and begin to take on Bring a Child to Therapy clients as the need arose.