Practice Education Learning Partnership (PELP)


Who are the PELP members?

PELP members:

  • Fiona Cusack, Placement Coordinator, Bournemouth University Social Work Qualifying Programmes
  • Lou Bartlett, BCP Social Work Academy Lead , CYP Social Care, BCP Council
  • Annie Draper,  Learning and Workforce Development Manager, CYP Social Care, BCP Council
  • Michaela Barrow , Organisational Development – Social Care, Wiltshire Council
  • Nina Akhter,  Professional Development Officer, BCP Council
  • Emma Evans, L&OD Advisor – Adults, Dorset Council
  • Rosslyn Dray, Lecturer in Social Work, Bournemouth University
  • Lou Oliver, Lecturer in Social Work, Bournemouth University
  • Danielle Hetherington-Parker, Professional Development Officer – Workforce, BCP Adult Social Care (Commissioning)
  • Louise Downes, LPC/Teaching Partnership, Wiltshire Council
  • Colline Murphy, Team Manager – Workforce Development, Dorset Council
  • Lisa Pickard, Learning and Development Advisor, Dorset Council
  • Liz Wood, Principal Social Worker, Dorset Council
  • Hayley Heasford, Professional Development Officer, BCP Council
An introduction to Practice Education

  • Thinking of getting involved in Practice Education?

    Are you passionate about social work and interested in working with others to promote best practice? Are you an experienced practitioner with skills and knowledge that you would like to share? Do you enjoy supporting others to learn and grow in confidence? Do you want to be a practice leader? If you have answered yes to these questions you might be just the sort of person who would make a good practice educator.

  • What is a practice educator?

    A practice educator is the person who takes overall responsibility for a student’s learning and assessment in a practice placement. They can either work in the same team as the student (an on-site practice educator) or in a different team / workplace (an off-site practice educator). They will normally be supported in their role by other members of the team and often by an on-site supervisor who will manage the day to day activity of the student and contribute towards their assessment.

  • Why might I want to be a practice educator?

    Practice placements are often cited as the most significant part of the social work learning journey and practice educators are the people with the greatest role to play in making those placements an effective and positive experience. Being a practice educator is hard work – you will need to develop new skills, gain specialist knowledge and will certainly need lots of empathy and patience! You will need to juggle your day job with all of the additional demands of supporting and assessing a student. You will need to spend at least 1.5 hours in formal supervision with the student each week, plus time for supporting learning in practice and undertaking assessment activities. You will be responsible for providing written feedback on the students practice and writing reports which include an overall assessment of their practice in the placement against the PCF. However, although this can be quite demanding for an already busy practitioner, the rewards you can gain are enormous. Find out more about the role as well as the challenges and benefits that it can bring by talking to experienced practice educators in your organisation.

  • Who can be a practice educator?

    To begin formal training as a practice educator you must be a  

    • registered social worker who is  
    • practicing at PCF experienced social worker level with at least  
    • two years post qualifying experience  

    Before applying for a practice education course you will need to   

    • demonstrate your interest and commitment to practice education through activities such as supporting students and other new staff.  

  • How can I demonstrate my interest and commitment to practice education?

    The first step you need to take is to demonstrate your interest and commitment through informal involvement in activities such as; 

    • providing shadowing opportunities 
    • helping with the induction of new staff / students 
    • supporting students with specific aspects of their learning in a placement 
    • supporting newly qualified workers to learn specific skills / develop confidence 
    • supporting learning within your team.  

    Once you have gained experience of supporting learning informally and have decided that you are interested in getting more involved in practice learning you can consider taking the first formal step towards being a practice educator. This can be through taking responsibility for a student as on site supervisor, which you can do without undertaking formal CPD study or by applying for the Practice Educator Course at Bournemouth University. At this stage of your development as a practice educator you will be starting to work towards meeting the National Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) BASW, 2019: 

    https://www.basw.co.uk/resources/basw-england-practice-educator-professional-standards-social-work-peps-refresh-2019  

  • Being a work-based supervisor

    The Placement Supervisor workshop is offered bi-annually(July and December) as a two day workshop hosted by Bournemouth University (BU) Practice Learning Team. It is designed to be an interactive workshop for anyone who is new to supporting social work students in the workplace, for those looking to refresh their knowledge on being a work-based supervisor, or practitioners considering applying for the Practice Educator Graduate Certificate qualification.  The workshop gives an overview of Bournemouth University practice learning roles, responsibilities and assessment processes. In addition it reflects on core themes such as supervision requirements, supporting social work students, and being an effective placement supervisor. It is an informal and reflective session where peers can discuss and exchange ideas, as well as developing their knowledge on supporting social work students at BU. There is no charge to attend.  

    If you have any questions and you can email the following contacts: 

    Bournemouth University: rosdray@bournemouth.ac.uk, fcusack@bournemouth.ac.uk 

    BCP Council: Nina Akhter  nina.akhter@bcpcouncil.gov.uk  

    Dorset Council: Emma Evans emma.evans@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk 

    Wiltshire Council: Louise Downes Louise.Downes@wiltshire.gov.uk 

  • The Practice Educator Course at Bournemouth University

    https://ncpqsw.com/cpd-framework/ 

    The Bournemouth University Practice Educator consists of two 20 credit CPD Units which can be undertaken at either level 6 or level 7. Most candidates complete both units consecutively in approximately 15 months. It is however possible to exit at the end of Unit 1 as a stage 1 qualified practice educator and either end your studies there or take a break before completing Unit 2. 

    Unit 1:  Enabling Work Based Learning (H and M level options)provides a general introduction to work-based learning, including an introduction to the basic skills and knowledge needed to teach and assess social worker students / newly qualified social workers.  On successful completion of this Unit you will have met the PEPS at Stage 1 and be able to take full responsibility for first placement students and responsibility (with support and ratification from a Stage 2 practice educator) for final year placements. 

    Unit 2:  Supervising a Student in Practice (H and M level options)builds on knowledge gained in the first Unit and focuses more specifically on teaching and assessing social work students in final practice placements.  On successful completion of this unit you will have met the PEPS at Stage 2 and be able to take full responsibility for students at all stages and levels. 

  • Application and Selection Processes

    Within the Teaching Partnership all Local Authorities put practitioners forward and you will need to: 

    1. Complete a Personal Statement – An Expression of Interest. 
    2. Your Line manager will need to complete the testimony attached.  
    3. Complete the university application form.  
    4. An internal interview selection process will apply. 

    Social workers may want to consider this as part of meeting the PCF requirements for Professional Leadership (level 2/ Level 3 / Senior Practitioners). You will be able to take responsibility for a SW student as a work based supervisor or mentoring NQSW’s by completing Unit 1 and for assessing a final year SW student or ASYE NQSW with the full award.  

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