professional people seated in a group, talking

Reflective Supervision in Education

Professional Learning for Facilitators
Reflective Supervision provides professional and confidential conversations over several sessions. It supports leaders in educational settings, including school principals, to understand and respond reflectively to challenges and opportunities for their leadership practice.

The role of the school principals in fostering educational achievement is critical, yet Australian schools are facing a crisis in recruiting and retaining educational leaders (Heffernan & Pierpoint, 2022).

Principals and other senior staff in schools experience complex, frequent demands on their time, energy and wisdom, and recent studies report they are facing unprecedented pressure on their mental health and wellbeing (DeMattews and colleagues, 2021).

Reflective Supervision provides one-on-one professional and confidential conversations (peer and group reflective supervision also exist) over several sessions to support leaders as they navigate their professional roles. The sessions also teach supervisees the basics of how to provide supervision to others, encouraging participants to understand and respond reflectively to challenges and opportunities for their leadership practice.

Reflective Supervision (based on the principals of Professional Supervision), with a clear and consistent emphasis of reflecting on practice, has a rich heritage in the helping professions in work with psychologists, social workers and therapists where supportive, formative, and normative dimensions are the main focus of the practice.

Participants in the Reflective Supervision program already have significant experience in education. The program recognises this experience, and the program involves significant self-directed learning through readings, intensive practical sessions, being supervised and supervising and reflective assessment tasks.

Participants' commitment

Compulsory individual requirements for participation in, and successful completion of, the Reflective Practice in Education course as both supervisor and supervisee include 10 hours of practice in the role of ‘supervisor’ and eight hours in the role of ‘supervisee’.

Supervisee sessions are to be arranged and paid for individually by participants and a list of recommended providers will be supplied.

Please ensure that you are available to attend all of the face-to-face sessions in Camperdown, Sydney, prior to registration as full attendance is required for successful completion.

Additional training is delivered through online course content, including readings. A reflective learning journal must be maintained by course participants.

Assessment requirements

  • Participant reflection on the supervision contract development process (1000 words)
  • 2 x 10min videos of supervision given, plus a 500-word critical reflection for each
  • Comparative research essay (2000 words)
  • One-hour video demonstration of supervision given  (incl. 2000-word critical reflection)
  • Reflective learning journal: critical reflection on development as a supervisor (2000 words)
  • Ethics / wellbeing research essay (2000 words)
  • Additional Supporting Documentation is required for AAOS membership

Course outline

  • Establishing and managing the supervision relationship
  • Providing Reflective Supervision
  • Facilitating structured reflection on professional practice
  • Providing industry (workplace) specific (schools) supervision (also: consultancy, coaching, mentoring)
  • Facilitating ethical and wellbeing conversations for educational leaders
  • Leading professional learning / professional development for self and other school leader
  • Implementing an education focused reflective supervision pedagogy.

Presenter biographies

Geoff Broughton PhD is the Associate Professor in Practical Theology at Charles Sturt University and currently Vice-President of the Australasian Association of Supervision. Geoff has been a pioneer in the professional / pastoral supervision sector, training hundreds of supervisors over the past decade, consulting, and supervising across a range of schools, churches and the armed services. Geoff’s leadership in supervision has been recognised by the UK’s Institute for Pastoral Supervision and Reflective Practice where he is the only non-European associate. Geoff founded the Professional/Pastoral Supervision Network, is Principal of Pastoral Supervision Australia, and has authored several books and articles on supervision in Australia.

Mary Ann Hunter PhD is Associate Professor in Education at the University of Tasmania and a leading professional supervisor with principals, educators, and artists. Originally a secondary teacher, Mary Ann has held educational positions internationally, including at the National Institute of Education Singapore, University of Queensland, and Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. She was a coordinator of IMPACT's global learning exchanges on creative approaches to conflict transformation and continues to work closely with schools as a Practice Leader with 4C Transformative Learning and coordinator of UTAS' Master of Teaching. Mary Ann is a recipient of numerous awards, including an Australian Council for Educational Leaders award.

Fees and registration

Cost of course: $6600 (including GST)

A list of recommended providers of reflective supervision will be supplied to course registrants who will need to contact the supervisor of their choice to arrange the time and payment for their individual sessions. 

Because full attendance at all face-to-face sessions in Camperdown is required for successful completion, intending participants are advised to ensure they can attend these workshops before registering (and paying) to take part.


In 2024, two cohorts with identical content are currently scheduled.

Cohort 1 February-to-July
(all Thursdays and Fridays, 9am to 4pm)
Intensive 1: February 22 & 23
Intensive 2: March 21 & 22
Intensive 3: May 2 & 3
Intensive 4: June 27 & 28
Cohort 2 September '24-to-February '25
(all Thursdays and Fridays, 9am–4pm)
Intensive 1: September 5 & 6
Intensive 2: October 24 & 25
Intensive 3: November 21 & 22
Intensive 4: February 13 & 14 


Frequently Asked Questions

The Reflectors are not (for the most part) clinically trained, and they are not able to support issues that are best supported by counselling psychologists. Reflective Supervision aims to support school leaders by providing frameworks and approaches to respond to their own specific challenges.

In Reflective Supervision, the focus on developing strong reflective capacities – rather than providing advice – so that school leaders may be able to think through their challenges with the benefit of a supportive colleague.

No. Psychologists and social workers have been involved in a process called Professional Supervision for several decades. This approach is based on the evidence and practice base of that approach.

There is strong evidence for the effectiveness of the processes this approach is based on, Professional Supervision. The following is extracted from a meta-analysis of the available evidence by Newcastle University in the UK: 

"It seems that benefits [from professional supervision] are evident for the individual, from reduction in stress and anxiety to improvement in job satisfaction. Effective supervision also benefited the team by creating a more supportive work environment, which in turn has led to improved patient care. There was also some evidence on the damaging effects for the individual when there is no or poor supervision in place." — Rothwell, 2019

Yes. All sessions are confidential and separate from any system-based accountability measures.

Participants are required to complete 10 supervisory sessions in the role of ‘supervisor’, and eight in the role of ‘supervisee’. After the first session, a second meeting will take place within the following fortnight with ongoing supervisory sessions approximately every four weeks thereafter. Time and venue will be negotiated between the parties.

Sessions may be held in-person, via zoom, or a combination of each. Each reflective practice session is 45-60 minutes duration. A quiet, uninterrupted and comfortable setting is best suited to facilitate a reflective practice session. Some school leaders prefer to engage in sessions off school site.

Academic lead

Professor Michael Anderson
Professor Michael Anderson
Academic profile


Nina Goodwin

Project coordinator
  • Professional Learning Sydney School of Education and Social Work Education Building A35 The University of Sydney NSW 2006