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A day in the life of a Place2Be Peripatetic Project Manager

A day in the life of a Place2Be Peripatetic Project Manager

Gail Samuels

Gail Samuels

Gail started working as a child counsellor 11 years ago. She has since worked as a School Project Manager, and a Peripatetic Project Manager, before moving into her current role as an Area Manager for Greater Manchester.

Gail Samuels, an Area Manager in Greater Manchester, worked as a Peripatetic Project Manager before moving into her current role. She shares some insight into the role, and the impact our Peripatetic Managers have on school communities across England, Scotland and Wales.

Life as a Peripatetic Project Manager is varied and exciting, each day can be different from one day to the next. Based across an area of schools – as opposed to in just one school – our Peripatetic Project Managers work wherever support is most needed.  

As a vital source of additional support and expertise, our Peripatetic Project Managers can:

  • support with the set-up of new school projects
  • help new starters get up to speed with Place2Be’s approach and processes
  • be an extra pair of hands at a school event
  • provide additional mental health support in schools. 

Supporting the whole school community 

Place2Be’s whole school approach means working with everyone in the school community – pupils, staff, and families. Our School Project Managers and Mental Health Practitioners are embedded in schools and are a key part of the community. Sometimes it can be helpful to bring in additional support for key in-school events.

Our Peripatetic Project Managers often act as an extra pair of hands by attending events such as: 

  • coffee mornings: engaging families, promoting the Place2Be service, and helping to break down any preconceptions about in-school mental health support
  • parents evenings: having a presence – perhaps a stand with a banner - and providing general information about Place2Be to families, whilst our school-based colleague answers any school-specific questions
  • school fairs: a chance to use our creative talent! Children and families are often looking for interactive activities at Christmas or Summer Fairs – so this provides an opportunity to break down barriers and show families (and children) some of the Place2Be room resources
  • assemblies and staff meetings: public speaking isn’t for everyone, and sometimes our Peripatetic Project Managers will step in to support school-based colleagues with the delivery of assemblies, or training for school staff.

Supporting a new school or colleague 

We love bringing on board new Place2Be partner schools and colleagues. For our Peripatetic Project Managers, this can be a great opportunity to use their knowledge and skills to help support this process.  

We all know what the nerves can be like when starting a new job. Our Peripatetic Project Managers are on hand to support colleagues – whether new to Place2Be, or to a school – as they settle in. Sometimes our Peripatetic Project Managers will visit schools once a week for their first term to provide additional support and answer any questions. 

Peripatetic Project Managers have seen Place2Be embedded across many schools. They can share their insights and advice with school-based colleagues who start their role in a new school. This could be how best to set up the Place2Be room (sand pits, art materials, posters, puppets and more!), or how to build key relationships within the school. My top tips for any new colleague trying to embed themself in a new school were always:

  • meet and greet families in the playground during the morning and at the end of day at pick up
  • engage with children during after school clubs or breakfast clubs - and try being out on the playground at lunch and breaks
  • enjoy some time out for yourself too! Go to the staff room and grab a well-earned coffee – good for your wellbeing, but also a great opportunity to meet school staff during their breaks and better get to know them too.

Supporting children and young people 

Sometimes our Peripatetic Project Managers are called on to provide in-school mental health support too. Our school-based colleague may be unwell, or the demand for support may be so great that they need additional support to deliver our services. 

If a colleague is absent, Place2Be’s in-school support doesn’t just stop – our brilliant Peripatetic Project Managers are a crucial source of support. Stepping in to cover their school-based colleagues, Peripatetic Project Managers are fully equipped to:

  • deliver our in-school support
  • support Counsellors on Placement
  • facilitate Place2Talk drop-in sessions
  • liaise with the school on referrals or additional needs.

By providing that vital cover, Peripatetic Project Managers help ensure the school continues to receive the same excellent standard of Place2Be service. 

Even when schools have a dedicated, embedded colleague – sometimes additional support is needed. Demand for therapeutic interventions can be so great that a Peripatetic Project Manager needs to support the school-based staff with additional Place2Talk sessions. They might also step in to deliver our universal sessions (whole class workshops). Sometimes our school-based colleague hasn’t delivered our Journey of Hope groupwork before and is grateful for the additional support as they deliver their first programme. Regardless of the situation, our Peripatetic Project Managers can be a lifeline for colleagues and schools – and ensure children and young people get the support they need.

Peripatetic Project Managers have a highly varied and dynamic role, covering a broad range of responsibilities and working with the whole school community. They play a vital part in supporting our school-based colleagues in delivering our in-school support and helping embed them within a school setting.  

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