How to ensure students and staff are supported by others

Being connected to, and supported by, other people that they already know can help most of your students and your staff cope with critical incidents.

Provide time to foster connections and lean on supportive relationships

Following critical incidents, providing more time to foster and rely on existing connections and benefit from them is a good use of time. Students and staff may already have multiple connections. They may need encouragement or allowances help them make the most of them. For example, some students may benefit from having a friend accompany them to a therapy appointment, even if that means that they will also miss some of a lesson.

Existing relationships may be more useful in recovery than expecting staff and students to develop new relationships with new people. So, if you receive support from outside agencies such as an Educational Psychology Service, then think carefully about how best to use that support and help and consider how they can support you and your staff to support the students.

Some families and other social networks may look to the school or college for guidance on how they can best support the students. You may end up taking on a role that extends into the community.

Key actions

  • Provide information to staff and social networks about how important relationships are and how to enhance social support.
  • Allow time to make the most of supportive interactions between students, staff and their social support.
  • Adjust timetables or expectations on the students to allow for more social support and connection.

Identify students and staff who are isolated

You want to look out for students and staff who are isolated. For example, a new student or staff member without a network of friends, or who tend to be more of a loner. But it is the quality of the connections rather than the number that is important. Some students may appear popular and to make friends easily, but their connections may be shallow and not particularly supportive. There may be other students who appear to have a small number of connections, but they are supportive and nurturing.

Key actions

  • Find staff who may be lacking strong, positive social support.
  • Work with staff to find students lacking strong, positive social support.
  • Help staff and students find and link with sources of support.