Supervising Students in Social Work Placements in Wales and the U.K. Paula McCreary. Tutor and Placement Coordinator, Dept. of Applied Social Science,
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Supervising Students in Social Work Placements in Wales and the U.K. Paula McCreary. Tutor and Placement Coordinator, Dept. of Applied Social Science, Swansea University, Wales. UK
Contents A background to the degree in social work Structure of the work based placement The assessment process Criteria for pass or fail Registration and continual development
Introduction of the Degree The Care Council for Wales was established in 2001 under the Care Standards Act. It is the regulating body for Social Care in Wales. In 2004 the new three year social work degree was introduced. (Previously a 2 year diploma) Under the Care Standards Act all social workers and social work students must be registered with the Care Council.
Organisation of the Placement (Practice Learning Opportunity) The university works in partnership with designated Social Services Departments. Each Social Services Department is allocated a number of students. It is the responsibility of each department to find these students a social work placement. Each department is paid by the Welsh Assembly Government through the Care Council to provided these placements and provide training for supervisors. These can be in the statutory sector, the voluntary or independent sector.
Some examples of where placements are provides The Statutory sector: Childcare and child protection Adult services Mental health services Disability and learning difficulty services The voluntary or Independent sector Domestic violence National society for protection of children Housing support services and services for the homeless Refugee organizations And many others
How the practice learning opportunity is assessed The Care Council has laid down clear criteria the student must meet in order to “pass” the placement and qualify as a social worker. They must show they have the skills required by meeting the National Occupational Standards. They must demonstrate they have the values and ethic required to be a social worker by working within the “Code of Practice”
National Occupational Standards Key Role 1: Prepare for and work with service users, assess their needs and circumstances, Key Role 2: Plan, carry out, review and evaluate social work practice, with service users and other professionals, Key Role 3: Support individuals to represent their needs, views and circumstances,
National Occupational Standards Key Role 4: Manage risk to service users, self and colleagues, Key Role 5: Manage and be accountable, with supervision and support for their own social work practice within their organisation, Key Role 6: Demonstrate professional competence in social work practice.
Code of Practice Standards for Social Care Workers Social Care Workers must: Protect the rights of service users and carers. Maintain the trust and confidence of service users and carers. Promote the independence of service users while protecting them from danger or harm. Respect the rights of service users whilst ensuring their behaviour doesn’t harm themselves or others Uphold public trust and confidence in social care settings Be accountable for the quality of their work
Structure of the Practice Learning Opportunity The student must undertake 200 days of practice learning over the three years. This makes up 50% of the course. At Level 1 there are 20 days in practice. At Level 2 and 3 there are 180 days. There is an option of undertaking 80 days at level 2 and 100 days at level 3, or two 90 day placements. (Swansea University)
The Role of the Assessor (supervisor) The assessor must be a registered social worker, of been qualified for 2 years and have obtained a P.Q. 6 (the teaching element of the post qualification award) The assessor must have undertake the 5 day practice teacher training, an observed practice of student supervision and submitted written work. The assessor is responsible for providing student supervision on a weekly basis 1 ½ hours, overseeing the placement, the observed practice, the mid-point review, verifying the students work, the final report where they will make a pass or fail recommendation. They can be a member of the team the student is placed in or they may come in form outside to assess. They are paid by the local authority as it the agency who is providing the placement.
Practice Learning Opportunity Level 1 The 20 day level 1 placement is observational. The student is not allowed to undertake individual work with service users. The student is being assessed as “fit to practice”. The student must demonstrate and evidence they have the basic abilities and skills (National occupational Standards 1, prepare for social work and 6, professional competence, this standard introduces to the student the idea of supervision and reflective practice.) and demonstrate the values (all elements of the Code of Practice) needed to practice social work.
Level 2 and 3 Students must demonstrate: the 6 elements of the National Occupational Standards and the Code of Practice; the ability to prepare, asses and work with service users; an understanding of how theory underpins social work. At level 3 more emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to critically evaluate and apply theory.
Key elements of level 2 and 3 Observed Practice there are six observed practices; four of these must be with service users or carers; the service user is invited to feedback on the student. The assessor will feedback as to whether the students work is poor, good or excellent. From this feedback the student is expected to learn and develop their practice Mid point review The university tutor, assessor and student meet: to assess the student’s progress; provided a link between the university and the placement; to clearly identify future goals and actions.
To pass the practice element of the degree The student must evidence they have: met all elements of the required key roles; (National occupational standards) worked within the Code of Practice; practiced in anti-discriminatory and anti- oppressive way; demonstrated the ability to apply theory to practice; demonstrated an understanding of Welsh culture and language; (Wales only) Submit written work to the standard required.
A student not meeting the required standards. A student can fail a placement if: They do not meet the National Occupational Standards. They contravene the Code of Practice in some way. They do not complete the days required. A student may fail outright and be required to withdraw from the programme or it can be recommended they retake the placement.
Students that have failed Since the beginning of the degree out of 210 students there have been: Four fails at level 1. Three fails at level 2. Five of these student have had the chance to re-take the practice placement. This has been recommended by the practice assessment panel and the exam board.
What happens next If the student passes both the practice and academic elements of the programme they graduate and will be awarded a Degree in social work They must register with the Care Council this is renewable every 3 years They will be expected to follow a process of continual development. They need to complete 15 days training every 3 years to maintain there social work qualification.