Practice Education in Social Work: Achieving Professional Standards

Practice Education in Social Work: Achieving Professional Standards

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Overview

Now fully updated to reflect the changing social work landscape and with an expanded section on improving emotional resilience, this book is an invaluable guide for Practice Educators and Practice Supervisors undertaking learning and assessment to gain and maintain Stage 1 or 2 status under the Practice Educator Professional Standards for Social Work (2013) and for those involved in facilitating the learning, support, assessment and CPD of Practice Educators.

Intended to enhance the learning and assessment of Practice Educators, it covers all key areas within Practice Educator training and offers guidance on the application of key skills and knowledge in supporting, assessing and teaching social work students and managing the placement. It will particularly assist Practice Educators to: 

  • Understand and implement effective supervision of social work students
  • Understand holistic assessment of practice; assessing in line with capability levels expected at the end of first and final placement
  • Deal with weaker or failing students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781911106128
Publisher: Critical Publishing
Publication date: 06/13/2016
Series: Critical Skills for Social Work
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 216
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Pam Field is a registered social worker with a background in probation, youth offending and substance misuse work. Having become a Practice Educator in 1998, she was Practice Learning Coordinator for a NW Local Authority from 2005-2009, when she moved to the School of Social Work, Care and Community at UClan as part of the Practice Learning Team. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Work-based Learning Team Lead. Pam holds the Practice Teaching Award and is a Stage 2 Practice Educator. She has been on the Committee of the National Organisation for Practice Teaching since 2007.

Cathie Jasper is a registered social worker and has practised with children and families, mainly with young people leaving care. While working as a practitioner, Cathie gained the Child Care Award and the Practice Teaching Award and was a Practice Educator of social work students. Since leaving direct social work practice, Cathie has been involved in the training of others, as a training officer for a NW local authority, a voluntary organisation, and as a member of MMU's social work department since 2009. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Social Work where she teaches qualifying and post-qualifying students.

Lesley Littler is a registered social worker with a professional background in the Probation Service, Youth Offending and Family Court Welfare. Lesley has been a Practice Educator since 1986 and, while working in professional practice, took on the role of Specialist Practice Educator demonstratng her longstanding commitment to the professional development of others. She holds the Practice Teaching Award and is currently a Stage 2 Practice Educator. Lesley has worked in Higher Education for over 17 years. She is currently an Academic Advisor at the University of Central Lancashire.


Pam Field is a registered social worker with a background in probation, youth offending and substance misuse work. Having become a Practice Educator in 1998, she was Practice Learning Coordinator for a NW Local Authority from 2005-2009, when she moved to the School of Social Work, Care and Community at UClan as part of the Practice Learning Team. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Work-based Learning Team Lead. Pam holds the Practice Teaching Award and is a Stage 2 Practice Educator. She has been on the Committee of the National Organisation for Practice Teaching since 2007.


Cathie Jasper is a registered social worker and has practised with children and families, mainly with young people leaving care. While working as a practitioner, Cathie gained the Child Care Award and the Practice Teaching Award and was a Practice Educator of social work students. Since leaving direct social work practice, Cathie has been involved in the training of others, as a training officer for a NW local authority, a voluntary organisation, and as a member of MMU's social work department since 2009. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Social Work where she teaches qualifying and post-qualifying students.


Lesley Littler is a registered social worker with a professional background in the Probation Service, Youth Offending and Family Court Welfare. Lesley has been a Practice Educator since 1986 and, while working in professional practice, took on the role of Specialist Practice Educator demonstratng her longstanding commitment to the professional development of others. She holds the Practice Teaching Award and is currently a Stage 2 Practice Educator. Lesley has worked in Higher Education for over 17 years. She is currently an Academic Advisor at the University of Central Lancashire.

Read an Excerpt

Practice Education in Social Work

Achieving Professional Standards


By Pam Field, Cathie Jasper, Lesley Littler

Critical Publishing Ltd

Copyright © 2016 Pam Field, Cathie Jasper, Lesley Littler and Liz Munro
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-911106-12-8



CHAPTER 1

Introduction and overview


Welcome and thank you for reading this book. This is a book for Practice Educators (PEs) in social work education. It offers guidance on the key skills and knowledge that PEs need in order to support and assess social work qualifying students, to enable their learning, and to manage their placements. It has been written by practising PEs, all of whom have the Practice Teaching Award (CCETSW, 1989) and who have been involved in Practice Education and developing and delivering Practice Education courses for a number of years.

The book was initially prompted by the pleasure and satisfaction the authors gained from teaching and delivering Practice Educator training courses and witnessing the enjoyment and learning that participants demonstrated. We wanted to ensure that such learning was nurtured and developed when the participants went back to their day jobs, as newly trained PEs and facing the responsibility for their first student. This book is meant to equip such PEs – to be a 'handy guide' to all that Practice Education and working with a student involves and a reminder (with a little more detail) of what they have covered in their initial Practice Education training course.

The emphasis in this book is thus on the application of key skills and knowledge embedded within the PE role; the what a PE needs to consider within the placement and the how of accomplishing it. Many of the theoretical considerations and objectives underpinning practice learning and education and the role of the PE that are mentioned in this book are covered in greater detail in other practice education texts, some of which are classics, and we have referred to them in this book. Please read these books for further insights and ideas as many of these texts cannot be bettered and remain as relevant to Practice Education today as when they were initially published.

While aimed primarily at those PEs who have just completed their training and who are putting into practice what they have learned with a student on placement (and are hoping to submit for Stage 1 of the Practice Educator Professional Standards for Social Work (PEPS) (BASW, 2013), the book will also be helpful for more experienced PEs. Such PEs may be submitting for Stage 2 of the PEPS (BASW, 2013) or may be involved in facilitating, supporting and assessing the professional development of post qualified practitioners such as Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs). More experienced PEs may also view this book as a 'refresher' and it may be helpful for them in considering the requirements of the Professional Capabilities Framework (BASW, 2015a) and the PEPS (BASW, 2013) in maintaining and developing their practice.

You may be reading this introduction and overview before reading other chapters in the book, or you may have dipped into and used the book and are reading this at a later point. However you are using this book, this introduction and overview will inform you of the structure of each chapter and an explanation of terms used to help your navigation.


Structure of each chapter

» Each chapter will begin with a reference to the PEPS (BASW, 2013) and will outline how the content of that chapter links to the PEPS (BASW, 2013) and the Learning Outcome Domains required for Stage 1 and Stage 2.

» Chapter aims – each chapter will indicate the aims for the chapter.

» Critical questions – at the beginning of each chapter some key 'critical questions' will be outlined. These critical questions are the 'philosophical' questions that a critically reflective PE will be asking themselves throughout their reading of the chapter and during their practice. They encapsulate some of the challenges, dilemmas and complexities of the PE role in relation to the subject covered in the chapter.

» Within the chapter, there will be a mixture of the following.

Professional development prompts – These are reflective activities that the PE can carry out on their own or with a colleague. They act as a 'note to self' and are about issues and aspects of the PE role to consider in more depth and detail.

Exercise – These are exercises that a PE can undertake with a student.

Case example – For illustrative purposes.

» What does the research say? Where there is related research or one or two small research studies that have been carried out about an aspect of practice learning relevant to the subject covered in the chapter this section will outline the key messages highlighted in the research.

» Taking it further – This will indicate helpful further reading and include book/ chapter references with brief details of content and particular areas covered.


Practice Education – where we are now

The first edition of the book (March 2014) was prompted by the reforms to social work education in England driven by the Social Work Reform Board (DfE 2010); the revised Practice Educator Professional Standards for Social Work PEPS (BASW, 2013) and the development of The College of Social Work (TCSW) and the introduction of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) as the overarching framework of standards and professional development in social work. The reforms and the professional standards outlined below relate to requirements for social work education, training and registration in England. Different requirements exist for the other UK countries.


Social work reform and the PCF

The Social Work Reform Board originally developed the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) (BASW, 2015a). It is now held by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and is the overarching framework of standards and professional development in social work. The PCF is divided into nine domains of practice/capability and nine levels of the social work career ladder – from entry to training as a social worker; the level students should be at the point of leaving university; after their first year of practice; at social worker, experienced social worker and advanced practitioner level; and at the strategic social work level. The PCF is a progressive framework – the capability levels relate to the knowledge, understanding and complexity of work that someone at that level in their career would be expected to manage, and progression between levels is determined by the practitioner's increasing abilities to manage issues such as complexity, risk and responsibility in a range of professional settings.

The PCF is represented as a 'rainbow' or a 'fan' – see overleaf – each 'colour' corresponding to one of the nine areas of capability:

The levels relating to student social workers are of particular interest to PEs. These represent the 'level' of capability a social work student should be demonstrating at different points in their social work training.

» By the end of the first placement students should demonstrate effective use of knowledge, skills and commitment to core values in social work in a given setting in predominantly less complex situations, with supervision and support. They will have demonstrated capacity to work with people and situations where there may not be simple clear-cut solutions.

» By the end of last placement/the completion of qualifying programmes NQSWs should have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and values to work with a range of user groups, and the ability to undertake a range of tasks at a foundation level; the capacity to work with more complex situations; they should be able to work more autonomously while recognising that the final decision will still rest with their supervisor; they will seek appropriate support and supervision (BASW, 2012b).


Progression between levels is characterised by development of the student's ability to manage complexity, risk, ambiguity and increasingly autonomous decision making across a range of situations and within each of the nine domains.

There have also been changes to the placement structure brought about within the reforms, and not only will all students be assessed under the PCF but the 200 days of practice learning will be as follows:

» 30 days skills development training, delivered within the university, across the degree course;

» first placement – 70 days;

» final placement – 100 days.


It is expected that placements are different at first and final level, ensuring that the student is provided with a broad, generic experience and to ensure that students have experience of different service user groups; different types of tasks in terms of the approaches and methods employed at the placement setting; and experience of different levels of complexity and professional autonomy between the first and final level placement. Further, the final placement should prepare students for the statutory aspects of social work, although this is defined by the nature of tasks involved rather than the setting.


The Practice Educator Professional Standards for Social Work (BASW, 2013)

The PEPs are national minimum requirements for PEs, fully effective from October 2013, which outline two stages of professional development and progression 'commensurate with the different levels of responsibility in teaching, assessing and supervising social work degree students' (BASW, 2013). The two stages are described as:

Stage 1. Practice Educators will be able to supervise, teach and assess social work students on a first placement. From October 2015, Practice Educators must be qualified and registered social workers.

Stage 2. Practice Educators will be able to supervise, teach and assess students up to and including the last placement and the point of qualification. Stage 2 Practice Educators must be qualified and registered social workers.


The PEPS (BASW, 2013) define the knowledge, skills and values that PEs need to demonstrate at Stage 1 and 2, and which are outlined within Domains A–D and the Values for Practice Educators and Supervisors. Local and regional partnerships can decide how PEs can demonstrate and meet the domains requirements and learning outcomes outlined at each stage. There must be guidance and support available to PEs who are undertaking Stage 1 and 2 from an appropriately qualified mentor (who must be Stage 2 qualified). When undertaking Stage 1 and Stage 2, PEs must also be observed in their practice with a student teaching, supervising and assessing against the PCF (BASW, 2013) and this must be carried out by a Stage 2 qualified, registered social worker. Reference will be made to the PE's own observation of their practice in Chapter 9. Since the demise of The College of Social Work (see below), the PEPS (BASW, 2013) can be found on the BASW website.


Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Currently, since 2012, the HCPC has been the regulating body for social workers in England. The HCPC defines the standards that social workers must meet and adhere to in order to register and remain registered with the HCPC and be considered fit to practise as a social worker. The HCPC states that these are:

» HCPC Standards of Proficiency (SOPS) – These are the threshold standards necessary for safe and effective practice within the profession. They set out what a social worker in England must know, understand and be able to do following the completion of their social work degree;

» HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics;

» Standards for continuing professional development (CPD).


The HCPC does not register student social workers. However, students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with HCPC Guidance on conduct and ethics for students (HCPC, 2012c).


How do these reforms and professional requirements affect PEs?

These various reforms and professional requirements will affect PEs in a number of ways and they are mentioned throughout the book.

» All Practice Educators, newly qualified or otherwise, are required to assess prequalifying social work students on traditional social work programmes according to the relevant domains of the PCF and to make holistic judgements about a student's progress and development while on a first or final placement (BASW, 2015c; BASW, 2015d). All of the chapters in this book make reference to the requirements of the PCF as they relate to the support and assessment of social work students at first and final placement level.

» The PCF is relevant to PEs not only because it is currently the developmental framework within which they support and assess social work students, but also because it is also the framework within which social workers currently operate and progress and the role of PE can play a part in this progression. Thus, at Social Worker and Experienced Social Worker levels, Domain 9 requires that practitioners contribute to the learning of others and assess and manage students. For some employers it is a requirement of progression that social workers undertake PE training and become PEs; for other employers the role of PE/assessor/mentor is specifically written into job descriptions. The particular requirements regarding PEs' CPD are outlined in Chapter 9.

» The PEPS (BASW, 2013) require that PEs are assessed at either or both Stages 1 and 2 and that PEs maintain their currency once they have achieved these stages, in line with HCPC requirements for re-registration. There are references to the requirements of the PEPS (BASW, 2013) and what PEs need to do to meet these requirements at Stage 1 and 2 throughout the book.

» the current regulator, the HCPC, requires that social workers re-register every two years and provide evidence of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Undertaking the PE role is an example of CPD which can be recorded within the social worker's 'scope of practice' as evidence of development of their skills and knowledge and their ongoing ability to practise effectively as a social worker.


Update – the second edition – 2016

Since the first edition, social work education in England has been subject to further reforms, reviews and policy initiatives, and the landscape has altered significantly; this is the background against which this second edition is produced. The major changes to the policy and professional environment impacting or potentially influencing practice education are detailed below.


1. The College of Social Work and the PCF

TCSW closed in September 2015, after three years in existence and following a government announcement in June 2015. Since its inception in 2012, the PCF, held by TCSW, had been incorporated into social work education programmes; had provided the framework for holistic assessment of social work students on placement; and many employers had aligned the developmental framework of the PCF with their employment progression structures for social workers and with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. The publication of additional guidance and statements, in particular the Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) for Child and Family Social Work (DfE, 2014) and the KSS for Social Workers in Adult Services (DoH, 2015), prompted TCSW to review the PCF and the completed review was published in August 2015 (curtailed by the announcement of the closure) (BASW, 2015e). The final review report (BASW, 2015e) indicated strong support for the PCF across the profession, acknowledging its flexibility and applicability to a wide range of settings and social work roles and its strength as a generic professional framework for the development of social workers at all stages of their career. The review put forward a number of recommendations for consideration, including the development of joint statements to explain the relationships between the Knowledge and Skills Statements (DfE, 2014; DoH, 2015), the PCF and the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers (SOPs) (BASW, 2012c) and that specific specialist roles and qualifications (such as PEs) should be incorporated into specific levels of the PCF. Since September 2015, the British Association for Social Workers (BASW) has hosted the PCF. The PCF currently remains as the assessment framework for social work students undertaking their training at universities – from entry, to assessed readiness for direct practice, to end of first placement and end of final placement (BASW, 2015c, 2015d). It also remains (but is allied also to the Knowledge and Skills Statement for social workers in Adult Services (DoH, 2015)) as the assessment framework for NQSWs undertaking their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) in Adult Services. It is expected (and hoped) that BASW will take forward the recommendations of the review, and the particular recommendation regarding the integration of specific roles and qualifications into particular levels of the PCF could have great significance for the PE role.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Practice Education in Social Work by Pam Field, Cathie Jasper, Lesley Littler. Copyright © 2016 Pam Field, Cathie Jasper, Lesley Littler and Liz Munro. Excerpted by permission of Critical Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction and overview

Chapter 2 – Preparation, planning and induction

Chapter 3 - Enabling learning

Chapter 4 – Supervision

Chapter 5 - Reflective practice

Chapter 6 - Assessment

Chapter 7 - Values

Chapter 8 - Dealing with difficulties

Chapter 9 – Development and assessment of the Practice Educator

Chapter 10 – Practice Education in the workplace and CPD

Appendices

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