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Valuing Practice Education: Supporting the next generation of social workers

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

A conference to celebrate Practice Educators and Practice Education.

On the 27-28th April 2022 the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership hosted a series of seminars and workshops to celebrate the work of Practice Educators across our region. Across the 2 days we heard inspirational and motivational speeches and workshops from leading experts in the field of Practice Education. Please find below the recordings from each session, the slides presented where possible and further information.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the conference from the speakers, attendees and our Partners. We hope you find these resources both useful and informative.


Day 1:

Celebration of Practice Education

Delivered by Ani Murr, Senior Lecturer from University of Wolverhampton

Keynote Speech: Teaching Anti-discriminatory Practice: Pitfalls to Avoid

Delivered by Dr Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser and a visiting professor at the Open University. He is also currently working with Vigoroom UK to develop effective employee wellness support for overstretched organisations. His recent books include How to Survive in Social Work (with John McGowan), The Spirituality and Religion Practice Manual (with Bernard Moss) and Anti-racism for Beginners. His website is at

Watch the session here:

Download the presentations:

0. WMSWTP Conference April 2022 Opening Speech final
Download PDF • 906KB
1. Anti-discriminatory practice 1
Download PDF • 721KB

The Positives of Practice Education

In this reflective and interactive session we will hear first-hand accounts of the positive impact students and practice educators have on each other, and experiences and tips about how to develop and maintain a positive student/PE relationship. There will be an opportunity to ask questions to both PEs and students, and join in the discussion. This could be a great session to use as a peer reflection for the new Social Work England CPD requirements.


Debora Stewart, Consultant Social Worker, West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership

Ani Murr, Senior Lecturer, University of Wolverhampton

Rebecca Taylor, Team Leader- Children and Families, Warwickshire County Council

Lauren Coleman, Team Manager, Nuneaton's Children's Team, Warwickshire County Council

Linda Campbell, Social Work Student, Birmingham City Council (Adult Social Care)

Watch the session here:

Download the presentation:

3. Positives of PE
Download PDF • 294KB

How and why do Practice Educators play a vital role in the Quality Assurance of Practice Learning (QAPL)?

Delivered by: Amanda Fitchett

Amanda is an Assistant Professor in Social Work at Coventry University. She is a registered social worker with Social Work England who qualified in 1994 where her practice was focused on working with disabled children and child protection. Amanda moved into academia in 1997 at the University of Leicester where she was initially the Practice Co-ordinator and later, the Course Director. After the closure of the School of Social Work at Leicester she took up the position of the Course Director for the PG Cert Practice Education at Coventry University.

Amanda’s key interest is Practice Education and the promotion of social work education both locally and nationally. She is Chair of the West Midlands Regional Social Work Network, Vice- chair of the Joint Universities Council Social Work Education Committee (JUCSWEC), Co-Chair of the JUCSWEC Teaching and Learning Committee, Chair of the West Midlands ASYE Regional Moderation Panel and an active member of the West Midlands Teaching Partnership.

Amanda has been a Practice Educator since 1996 and has been involved in evaluating placements from the perspectives of a PE, a practice learning assessment panel member, and a chair of practice assessment panels. She has completed rather too many QAPL forms or similar over her 25 years as an academic and a Practice Educator but strongly believes in the necessity of ensuring excellent quality Practice Education and placements as a route to best quality in SW practice.

Watch the session here:

Download the presentation:

4. QAPL PE Conference - final
Download PDF • 838KB

Day 2:

The Impact of Working with a Struggling or Failing Student in A Practice Learning Setting

Delivered by Dr Jo Finch

Session overview

National and international research, from social work and comparator professions with assessed practice learning requirements, overwhelming conclude that working with a struggling or failing student can be a very stressful and emotionally demanding experience (Finch, 2017). The aftermath may also be stressful, and can lead to practice educators not wanting to undertake this role again, or teams not willing to take on students again. Relationships can also become strained between the agencies and the universities. This session focuses on the emotional impact of working with a struggling or failing student on placement, considers what might be the range of challenging but “normal” emotional responses and explores why such emotional responses may emerge. The session highlights the psychodynamic theory of projective identification as one explanatory factor in why the experience can be painful. The session also focuses on how organisations, i.e local authorities, agencies and universities should respond to support PEs in this situation and lastly considers strategies to enable self-care during and after the experience.


Jo is a Professor of Social Work and Post Graduate Research at the University of Suffolk. She was formerly Professor of Social Work at UEL, where she led the Professional Doctorate in Social Work . Jo became interested in the issue of what happens when social work students fail on a placement when she began work as a lecturer in social work in 2002. Jo initially explored this in her Professional Doctorate in Social Work and has since published widely on the issue of assessing struggling or failing students on placements. She also publishes on the issue of PREVENT and social work. Jo is the author or “Working with Struggling Students on Placement: A Practical Guide” (2017, Policy Press) and is co-author of “SHARE: A New Model of Social Work” (2018, Kirwan Maclean associates).

Watch the session here

Download the presentation:

5. Jo Finch WMSWTP - April 2022
Download PDF • 949KB

Connecting with your ART of Supervision as a Practice Educator Delivered by Shabnam Ahmed

Session Overview

The session will introduce the idea of a practice educator as an artist practising the Art of Supervision. Shabnam will demonstrate practical tools throughout the session on how she practices this art, whilst inspiring fellow practice educators to connect with their own art. The short session will touch upon the importance of beginnings, and endings of supervision and a little bit in between.

The presenter

Shabnam Ahmed is an experienced Social worker, manager and a passionate Practice educator and trainer. She has twenty three years of experience in Adult social care. She remains dedicated to contributing to agenda’s which promote social justice, equality, equity, human rights, and best and inclusive practice. She expresses this regularly through her practice, writing and training and her YOUTUBE channel known as the School of Shabs which is currently focusing on supervision.

Watch the session here:

Download the presentation:

6. Connecting with the Art of supervision - Coventry 28th April 2022
Download PDF • 2.88MB

The Atypical Social Worker - Why are we talking about Neurodiversity

Delivered by Jenni McCabe

The session aimed at practice educators working with neurodiverse students will introduce the topic of neurodiversity, the real-life challenges and strengths associated, how it looks in practice and how to work towards a more inclusive workplace culture. The workshop will be interactive and aims to create curiosity, awareness and a safe space to really explore what it means to be neurodiverse. We will look at those difficult conversations, and how to ensure placements are a positive experience, providing appropriate support and celebrating the skills of the neurodiverse student.

Watch the session here:

Download the presentation and additional documents:

Social working publication doc
Download PDF • 305KB
7. Atypical Social Work Neurodiversity
Download PDF • 2.39MB

Principles for gaining meaningful feedback from people who use services and those who care for them

Delivered by Lesley Parish and David Gowar

Session Overview

The session will look at the importance of gaining meaningful feedback from people students work with and will provide an opportunity to listen to and share ideas about methods of gaining feedback from people students work with.

Session Aims

  • To give students and observers a range of tools to support them in gaining meaningful feedback from people the students work with

  • To consider the principles which underpin and inform the process of gaining the feedback.

  • To explore ways in which to gain meaningful feedback that both meets the needs of people the students are working with and those of the students.

Session Outcomes

  • To enable observers to offer creative and appropriate suggestions in supporting the students to gain meaningful feedback.

  • To provide an enhanced understanding of the importance of the feedback process for the student, for the observer and for the person with lived experiences.

The speakers

Lesley Parish is a social worker currently working with the University of Worcester with BA and MA students on the practice elements of the social work degree courses. She is passionate about improving the quality of student practice, including the communication between students and those with whom they work, including how they gain the feedback that is required for the e-portfolio. Lesley enjoys working in partnership with IMPACT members to enrich the presentations for e-portfolio.

David Gowar is a person with lived experience of social work (PWLESW) who has been a member of IMPACT (the PWLESW and carer group at the University of Worcester) since 2013. He is an active musician and ex-music lecturer who also spent 8 years as a residential social worker. He has received multiple apologies and compensation for errors made by social workers over a ten year period. He is a passionate advocate for change in the way male victims of DV are treated by legal and human services professionals and for the voices of lived experience to be embedded into Social Work training and ongoing CPD.

Watch the session here:

Download the presentation:

8. Principles for gaining meaningful feedback
Download PDF • 461KB

All videos have been added to our YouTube account with all of our Practice Education video resources view our Practice Education resources

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