SWK-7025A PRACTICE EDUCATION IN SOCIAL WORK (Essex and Thurrock) 2019-20

Module Leader:Richard Brook (richard.brook@uea.ac.uk)

Module Teacher: tbc

Credit value: 60 MA credits

Module fee:£1,800 for groups of up to 20 participants. £1600 for groups of 20 or more participants



The programme supports experienced social work practitioners in supervising, mentoring, and assessing social work students and newly qualified social workers. Candidates will evidence the requirements of the Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS 2) and successful completion will entitle you to register as a Practice Educator with the local authority.

Candidates will, as part of the programme, act as Practice Educator for a student on a qualifying programme or a supervisor of a newly qualified social worker on the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme, with the support of a mentor.

This module can be taken as a stand-alone postgraduate certificate, as part of a postgraduate diploma, or as part of the MA Advanced Social Work.



Social workers who have been qualified and practising for at least two years and can work at Masters level academically.



The programme will equip participants to;

  • Manage social work placements and create learning environments in which students can achieve the aims of their practice-based learning periods.
  • Support learners to evidence their capability under the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), Standards of Proficiency (SoP) and Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS), and to understand how these standards inform the work of Practice Educators.
  • Understand adult learning theories and apply evidence-based approaches in order to support, challenge and empower students to achieve their professional goals and requirements.
  • Deliver high quality reflective supervision which enables students to think critically and learn by reflecting on their practice experience. 
  • Assess student’s practice in relation to the PCF, SoP and KSS, and to make professional judgments about learner’s performance.
  • Give constructive feedback and be equipped to deal with concerns, supporting students to have the best learning experience possible.
  • Work with students of all abilities, including those who are struggling, where it is necessary to have challenging conversations and design and implement action plans to encourage progress.
  • Write clear, well-evidenced placement reports with justifiable recommendations. 
  • Demonstrate the requirements of the Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) level 2.



The curriculum will address the following areas:

Managing and supporting placements (PEPS domain A).

Supervision, mentoring, coaching skills and adult learning theory.(PEPS domain B) 

 Assessment skills and application of professional judgement to assess the capabilities of qualifying students (PEPS domain C).

Anti-oppressive practice (PEPS values statement)



Candidates are assessed via three discrete summative assessment events. A ‘pass’ grade must be attained for each element.

  • Assignment 1. Adult learning theory and reflection on a recorded supervision session. Participants will plan a supervision session with a focus on the ‘development’ or ‘mediation’ function, to address a specific learning goal for the student. They will share this plan with their mentor, and then make a video recording of the session. The mentor will view the recording and give written feedback. The participant will also view the recording and reflect on the outcome, and how their goals were achieved. They will then write a structured critique of the session, indicating how the literature on adult learning and supervision informed their practice, and on the learning they can derive from the exercise.
  • Assignment 2. Self-assessment report. At the end of the programme each candidate will write a self-assessment report. This will show, with reference to relevant literature, how they have achieved of the four domains and values of the Practice Educator Professional Standards for Social Work, and how their practice has been informed by other social work standards such as the PCF, KSS and SoP.
  • Practice Portfolio assessment. Candidates will compile a brief portfolio containing evidence of their practical ability as a practice educator, including feedback from the learner, written feedback from the mentor’s direct observations of their practice and their final summative report.


The programme is delivered via a blend of face to face whole-group teaching, locally based workshops, mentor support and independent study. Whole-group teaching sessions will take place in Chelmsford. Workshops will be in venues in North and South Essex. Support is available for mentors in the shape of briefing meetings in local areas with the programme director, a comprehensive handbook and any additional support as required. Mentors are invited to attend the first workshop, and will be given details of the teaching programme, handouts and reading materials that support the candidate’s teaching. Teaching programme. Dates and venues to be confirmed.

Introductory day. (Whole group – one day session)

5 Sept 9.30 to 16.30

Prior to the student/NQSW commencing their placement with the candidate the introductory session will prepare candidates to work with learners, especially concerning the ‘early placement’ processes; Content to include;

  • Beginning placements well. Pre-placement meetings, induction programmes and making learning agreements which clarify how students will be able to meet their learning needs as defined by the PCF and KSS.
  • Understanding the standards so candidates can see how the work of Practice Educators is governed by Practice Educator Professional standards. Links will be made with the other standards governing social work practice (PCF, KSS, SoP) so candidates can see how social work education standards inter-relate and promote a holistic approach to professional development.
  • Establishing learning goals. A supervision exercise, using a solution focused approach, helping one another to set goals and anticipate success. Taking ownership of our learning.

Beginning the online conversation. Using technology to connect with one-another via networks and an online discussion forum. Encouraging everyone to participate.

Foundational skills for Practice Educators. (Whole group – 2 day )

8-9 Oct 9.30 to 16.30)

We explore the practice areas and the underlying knowledge that are essential for Practice Educators getting started in the role. Topics to include;

Beginning the supervisory relationship.

  • Establishing rapport and understanding. Supervision histories and learner’s goals 
  • The importance of a learning curriculum. How it differs from a learning agreement. How learning opportunities can be moulded around the learner. 
  • Assessing student’s learning styles. Why and how? And how we can use this information to maximise learning.

Essential Knowledge

The models of supervision. Introduction to the 4x4x4 model. What each element means, how it can be effectively applied in practice in your own organisational setting

Supervision in practice. The director and the facilitator. How to incorporate different styles of supervision.

Principles of adult learning. Exploring the how adults become capable and skilled in new practices. How we can use this knowledge to become more efficient and effective educators.

Focus on practice

  • Demystifying theory. Helping candidates become confident to build bridges with students – letting theory inform practice.
  • Introduction to assessment. Why assessment of a student’s capability needs to begin at the outset of a placement, not at the end. What is meant by ‘holistic’ assessment? How we can empower students to assess their own progress.

This session aims to include input from students, either in person or on video, to bring the ‘service user’ voice to the fore, and inspire participants with positive accounts of supervision.

Enriching learning and managing difficulties (Whole group – 1 day) 1

2 Nov 9.30 to 16.30

We look at two essential ingredients in successful placements. Assessment and teaching through direct observation, and managing placements where students may be encountering difficulties or at risk of failing. 

Working with marginal and failing students. A half-day session looking at principles and practice, with Dr Ann Anka

Models of direct observation – the ‘direct teaching’ and the ‘collaborative’ model

The spirit of enquiry. How to use observations for teaching and learning, as well as assessment

Giving constructive feedback. How to avoid resistance, defensiveness, anxiety and other barriers to learning. 

Making supervision count (area-based workshop – half day)

25 and 27 Nov 9.30 to 13.00

The first half-day group workshop will support participants with the tasks involved in the first assignment, and explore the knowledge that underpins them.

  • The ‘development’ and ‘mediation’ functions of supervision. What they look like in practice.
  • The reflective learning cycle. How to stimulate reflective learning and critical thinking. What these terms actually mean.
  • Evidence-informed practice. How the literature can help us supervise effectively.
  • Preparing for assignment 1. Planning the recorded supervision/teaching session and viewing extracts from past participant’s videos.

Motivation and building resilience (Whole group – one day)

12 Dec 9.30 to 16.30

This session will focus on issues that are particularly relevant around the mid-point of placements when induction is completed and students are expected to be developing greater autonomy.

  • The midway review. How to make the most of the interim review to address problems, restore motivation, and set realistic goals especially when students are struggling or coasting.
  • Learning from service-users. A session designed by, and with contributions from, the UEA service-user and carer group. Why service user feedback means more than questionnaires. How we can help students to seek authentic feedback, and learn from it.
  • Emotional intelligence and building resilience. (Dr Laura Biggart). Acknowledging and managing the emotional impact of social work practice.

The team as a secure base. How research on helping traumatised children can also help students experience a safe environment to learn and grow.

Coaching skills for Practice Educators. (Whole group teaching – one day)

15 Jan 9.30 to 16.30 Using facilitation skills in supervision.

  • Definitions of mentoring and coaching. Why and when coaching is more effective than instructing. How adult learning theory supports non-directive teaching techniques. Coaching as a ‘strengths-based’ method.
  • Coaching basics. The core skills of listening, playing back and questioning 
  • Being creative. Coaching models and interactive resources.
  • Coaching for performance. How and why coaching skills can help us address concerns with student’s practice
  • Coaching for learning. How Practice Educators can support students with reflective learning exercises 

Power, influence and fair assessment (area-based workshop – half day)

28 and 30 January 9.30 to 13.00

The second workshop focuses on the values for practice educators, as set out in the PEPS.

  • What were they thinking? Looking behind the values statements. What problems are they designed to address?
  • What are we like? The first of the values statements requires Practice Educators to identify and question their own values – so we will help one another to do that.
  • How to influence people. The responsible use of power and authority in a PE/student relationship. How to avoid game-playing. Being reflexive – recognising our own impact in supervision.
  • Courageous conversations. How to challenge students assertively and constructively when there are issues to address. 

Creativity and clarity. (Whole group teaching – one day)

25 Feb 9.30 to 16.30

The final day of teaching for the whole cohort together consists of two interactive workshops.

  • Theory, diversity and contemporary issues. Dr Christine Cocker will lead a session where we discover creative ways of teaching important but difficult concepts. We will draw on some tried and tested social work theories, and some up-to the minute issues that are occupying social worker’s Twitter feeds on the day in question.
  • Summative assessments. We look at the important process of drawing together the evidence that has accrued during the placement, evaluating it, triangulating it and using it to make clear and justifiable recommendations. We practice the art of effective report writing.
  • Positive endings. How to conclude relationships between learners and service-users, and between supervisors and learners.

Standing by our standards (Area based workshop – half day)

21 and 23 April 9.30 to 13.00

We spend the last of our workshops reviewing our experience of being a Practice Educator, and trying some reflective learning exercises on ourselves.

  • Experience / reflect / analyse / plan. We will use Kolb’s reflective cycle to draw maximum learning from our experience so far, and set our sights on the next opportunity to be a Practice Educator.
  • Reflective writing and critical thinking. Given that the final assignment is a reflective and critical account of our learning and performance as Practice Educator, we will consider what these concepts actually are, and how they can help us.
  • Self-assessment. In preparation for the self-assessment report we will use our powers of clarity and judgement to determine how and when our practice has exemplified the standards that guide our practice, namely the PCF, KSS, SoP and most importantly the PEPS. A final exercise involving some mutual coaching will help us achieve this.


PROGRAMME FEE (60 academic credits) 

  • £I800 for groups of up to 20 participants
  • £1455 for groups of 20 or more participants

Please note that mentoring fees must be met by the employer (or by the candidate) and are not included in the programme fees.



For employment-based applications, please contact your staff development officer. For independent applicants, please contact the Learning and Teaching Service, Postgraduate Learning and Teaching Hub (ZICER Building): 01603 592071.

Applications for 2019-20 should be submitted to UEA by Tuesday 13th August.

Please be aware that teaching, assessment dates and venues, are subject to change. All up to date information will be available via your UEA Evision account once you are enrolled onto the module.