The Spirit of Practice Education Conference

Thursday 6 May 2021

14:00 -16:30 [Microsoft Teams]

The Spirit of Practice Education conference will be a celebration and recognition of the incredible achievements of Practice Educators during pandemic. With a keynote address from Mark Doel, Emeritus Professor at Sheffield Hallam University who will discuss the Spirit of Practice Education. Following on from this keynote address you will hear from Shabnam Ahmed, Social Work England and Ani Murr, Senior Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton.



14:00 -14:10

Welcome and Introduction

The West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership

Mark Doel.jpg

14:10 -15:00

Keynote Address: The Spirit of Practice Education

Dr Mark Doel 

Registered Social Worker and Emeritus Professor at Sheffield Hallam University


Dr Doel has twenty years’ community-based social work practice, specialising in practice education and groupwork. He has experience as a social work teacher and trainer, practice teacher, head of school of social work (at BCU), a writer (21 books published plus many scholarly articles), academic researcher, project director and external examiner. He leads training workshops in practice education and groupwork. Mark has an ongoing project to create a Virtual Exhibition of social work (

Dr Doel has lived and worked in the US and has extensive experience in eastern Europe. He is Honorary Professor at Tbilisi State University, Georgia, as well as out-going Vice-President of the International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG). He is co-Chair of the Nether Edge Community Festival in Sheffield.

Shabnam Ahmed.jpg

15:00 -15:30

The Art of Becoming a Practice Educator

Shabnam Ahmed 

Shabnam Ahmed is an experienced Social worker and team manager and a passionate Practice educator and trainer. She has over twenty years of experience in Adult social care. She remains dedicated to contributing to agenda’s which promote social justice, equality, human rights and best and inclusive practice.  She expresses this regularly through her practice, writing and training.  She has also devised an online training on Modern Slavery for her council. Shabnam is well known for applying creative methods in the delivery of her training and describes herself being on a continuous quest for learning and growing.  She is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Professional social work.  She has her own YOUTUBE channel known as the School of Shabs which is currently focusing on supervision.

Catherine Witt.jpg

15:30 -15:50

Practice Education ; Art, Science or Regulation?

Catherine Witt

Regional Engagement Lead, Social Work England 

Catherine Witt is the Regional Engagement Lead for Social Work England in the North East and, more recently, the West Midlands. She has been a social worker for over 30 years spending the the first 15 years in criminal and youth justice and the second in children’s services and child protection. Prior to joining Social Work England Catherine was the principal social worker in Sunderland working primarily with Together for Children but also had a role in adult services. She has a deep interest in practice education and social work training, overseeing the student and NQSW programme in Sunderland and being part of the development of the Degree Apprenticeship programme at Sunderland University.


Catherine has a lead role for Continuous Professional Development in Social Work England and has a commitment to make sure that the role of practice educator is better understood and recognised.


15:50 -16:10

How a student Like this reached a final placement: A Practice Educator’s telling tale

Ani Murr

Senior Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton 

Ani Murr is a social work educator at the University of Wolverhampton where she lead on practice learning and practice education modules. Ani recently completed her Doctorate in Education during which she researched the experiences of social work practice educators.


16:10 -16:30

Panel Discussion, Summary and Close


*Programme details are subject to change and all participants will be made aware of any changes. 

**Programme will continue to evolve, look out for further updates on new sessions and speakers.