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Practice Placements for Social Work Students

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					Practice Placements for Social Work Students
       Guidance for Practice Educators




              September 2008




                                     Lorna Fitzpatrick
                        Practice Learning Coordinator
                         Workforce Development Unit
                                     St Peter’s House
                                     1 Forster Square
                                             Bradford
                                             BD1 4TY

                                        01274 434835
                                 Contents

Introduction                                         3

Local Social Work Programmes                         4

Practical Issues                                     5
   Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
   Insurance
   Car Insurance
   Travel Expenses
   ID Cards
   Computer Access
   Integrated Children’s System (ICS)
   Attendance
   The Social Work Programme’s Placement Handbook

Role of the Practice Educator                        7
   Placement Application
   Initial Meeting
   Preparation
   The Learning Agreement Meeting
   The Induction Programme
   Allocating Appropriate Work
   Supervision
   Assessment
   Formal Observation of Practice
   Facilitating Learning
   Reflective Practice
   Mid Way Meeting
   Mid Way Report
   Final Meeting
   Final Report
   Problem Solving

Roles and Responsibilities                           12

Support                                              15
   Support from Colleagues
   Workload Relief
   Honorarium
   Training

Appendices                                           18

   Honorarium Claim Form
   National Occupational Standards
   Induction Checklist
   Structure for Induction Programme



                                        2
                             Introduction

This is intended as an ‘at a glance’ guide for individuals and work
settings that are providing a practice placement for social wok
students.

The qualification for social workers is now at degree level. Depending
on the Higher Education Institution (HEI), students will be doing either
a BA in Social Work or BSc in Social Work over 3 years. In addition,
there is now a post-graduate route to the social work qualification -
those with a relevant first degree can undertake a 2 year MA in Social
Work.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the degree is that the
Department of Health has made a clear commitment that social work
education should be practice led:

    ‘Practice is central to the new degree with academic
   learning supporting practice’.
                                                DOH 2002

Practice placements and practice education are, therefore, crucial in
the process of social work education. Local authorities and voluntary
sector agencies work in partnership with social work education
programmes in the delivery of the programmes, particularly through
the provision of practice placements.




                                   3
           Local Social Work Programmes/Partnerships

Bradford Local Authority works in partnership with three local social
work programmes – the configuration of the placements is laid out
below:

Bradford College

BA in Social Work
100 day placements in years 2 and 3 of three year degree
3 days per week November to December
4 days per week January to May

University of Bradford

BA in Social Work
90 days in year 2 of three year degree; September to March
110 days in year 3 of three year degree; September to April
4 days per week

MA in Social Work
80 days in year 1 of two year post graduate degree; May to August
120 days in year 2 of two year post graduate degree; January to July
(This is in the process of changing to a 80/120 days split0
5 days per week

University of Huddersfield

BSc in Social Work
80 day placement in year 2 of three year degree; January to May
120 day placement in year 3 of three year degree; January to July
5 days per week




                                  4
                          Practical Issues

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)

All students will have been CRB checked by the programme (currently
against POVA & POCA), prior to their first placement. In the event of a
student having a conviction, each programme consults with partner
agencies in both the statutory and voluntary sector.

Insurance

Students are covered by the authority’s Public Liability Insurance
whilst on placement.

Car Insurance

Students who use their own cars in the course of their work on
placement are responsible for ensuring that they have business use
insurance cover.

Travel Expenses

Since November 2006, the Department of Health has required
placement providers to reimburse students for travelling expenses
incurred whilst carrying out work on behalf of the agency. The student
can either claim small regular amounts via petty cash, or a cheque can
be requisitioned for a lump sum. The payment is at casual user rate.

ID Cards

Students must be provided with a local authority identification card,
showing their name and their status as a social work student. This
needs to be organised by the practice educator at the start of the
placement.

Computer Access

Students should have access to a PC, in the same way as any worker
in the agency. They will require a login.

Integrated Children’s System (ICS)

Students who are on placement in Services to Children & Young
People are required to undertake training on ICS at the start of the
placement. Attendance on this training is organised jointly by the ICS

                                  5
Implementation Team, the practice learning coordinator and the
practice educator prior to the start of the placement.

Attendance

Students are expected to work full agency days and this may include
some evenings or shift work. Students who have carer responsibilities
will not normally be placed in a setting where out of hours or shift
working is regularly required. The placement’s normal time accounting
system e.g. TOIL or flexi will also apply to students.

Students have to complete the full number of placement days and any
absences have to be compensated for. The practice educator should
ensure this. Some social work programmes require a signed register.

The Social Work Programme’s Placement Handbook

Each social work programme will provide the practice educator with a
Placement Handbook, at the start of the placement, which will outline
the programme’s processes and expectations. Practice educators are
advised to read the handbook each time they take on a student, as
each programme varies and there may be updates and amendments
from year to year.




                                  6
                  The Role of the Practice Educator

The role of the practice educator is to teach the student how to do the
work of a qualified, professional social worker.

This section outlines the skills and knowledge that will support the
educational process. It also describes the areas of work that the
practice educator is required to carry out during the course of the
placement. The training for practice educators will explore all of these
areas in much greater depth and it is strongly recommended that new
and potential practice educators undertake this training.

Placement Application

It is the student’s responsibility to complete a placement application
form, in which they outline their experiences to date and identify their
learning needs.

The applications are looked at by the programme’s practice learning
coordinator, who works in partnership with the local authority’s
practice learning coordinator to match students to appropriate
placements. These forms are then sent to individual practice
educators, who should invite the student to the placement setting for
an initial meeting.

Initial Meeting

This is a relatively informal meeting that takes place prior to the
intended placement start date. The purpose is to ensure that the
placement is appropriate and will meet the student’s learning needs.
The practice educator can tell the student about the work of the
service, including special areas of interest or expertise. It may be
useful to provide the student with written information about the service
and, possibly, a practice educator profile, which gives the student
some more in-depth information about the practice educator.

The start date should be agreed and the local authority’s placement
coordinator informed that the placement has been set up. This
confirmation is then relayed to the programme.

Once the placement is confirmed, it is the student’s responsibility to
convene the Learning Agreement Meeting (see below), which should
take place before the placement starts, or with in the first two weeks.

It is quite reasonable to ask a student to do some preparation before
the placement starts, usually in the form of reading in relation to the
                                   7
service. Practice educators may have a reading list specific to their
service that they can provide, or the social work programme may be a
source of information

Preparation

Having agreed to the placement going ahead, the practice educator
should seek to ensure that team members have an understanding of
their role in relation to the students. This will not only be helpful for the
student but may also assist the practice educator to identify their own
sources of support.

The practice educator should then start preparing for the student’s
arrival – desk; ID; PC access; compiling an induction programme;
relevant training; relevant policy documents etc. There is a checklist in
the appendices, which will assist the practice educator to consider
practical issues. There is a sample structure of an Induction Checklist
in the appendices of this handbook.

The Learning Agreement Meeting

This is the first of (usually) three formal meetings that involve the
student, the tutor, the practice educator and, when appropriate, the
workplace supervisor. They are collectively, sometimes, referred to as
three-way meetings.

The learning agreement (sometimes referred to as the placement
agreement) is effectively the contract that underpins the placement. Its
purpose is to clarify the aims and objectives of the placement in order
to meet the learning needs of the student, so that the student can learn
to be an effective social worker.

The Induction Programme

The purpose of an induction programme is to give some structure to
the student’s introduction to the agency. Some settings may have a
standard induction plan for students but it is important to treat each
student as an individual and tailor that induction depending on how
much the student already knows about the agency’s work and related
services. It is also helpful to involve the student in devising their own
induction to some extent, for example identifying useful visits and
taking responsibility for setting them up.

The training for practice educators includes input on the induction
process. There is a sample structure of an Induction Programme in the
appendices of this handbook.
                                     8
Allocating Appropriate Work

It is the responsibility of the practice educator to identify work that will
meet the student’s learning needs but this is best done in consultation
with the team manager in order that they have some oversight of the
student’s work.

Supervision

Social work education requires that students receive 1.5 hours per
week formal supervision.

The training for practice educators will look in depth at the supervision
process and its role in social work education.

Assessment

Students are assessed against the Key Roles of the National
Occupational Standards for Social Work.

Practice educators will use their assessment skills to gather evidence
of the student’s ability, ensuring that the student is given clear and
specific feedback about their practice.

The National Occupational Standards can be found on the Skills for
Care website www.topssengland.net - follow the link on the
homepage. A copy is contained in the appendices of this handbook.

Formal Observation of Practice

It is a requirement of the degree in social work that each student be
formally observed in practice on at least three occasions. This should
be undertaken by the practice educator on at least two of those
occasions but a colleague can carry out the third. It is usual to have
had one observation of practice by the mid point of the placement and
this will normally be agreed at the placement agreement meeting.

Each programme offers some guidance and a pro forma for the formal
observation of practice in the programme’s placement handbook.

Facilitating Learning

A student is on placement to learn how to be a social worker and it is
the job of the practice educator to support that learning. The first
element of the learning process is for the practice educator to provide
                                     9
practice learning opportunities that will meet the student’s learning
needs, taking into account the student’s experience, knowledge and
learning style.

Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is fundamental to social work practice. Developing
this life-long skill will include looking at values and ethics; legislation
and policy frameworks; linking theory to practice - students need to be
able to demonstrate that they understand what informs their practice.
The supervision session is the forum where the student can be
supported to reflect on, or analyse, their practice.

Mid Way Meeting

Each placement requires a formal mid-way meeting (sometimes
referred to as a midway review), so that the student’s progress to date
can be evaluated. The date for this will usually be agreed at the first
formal meeting.

The meeting will look at whether the student’s learning needs are
being met and at how the student is demonstrating their ability against
the NOS. There should be planning for the remainder of the
placement, including how to meet any identified gaps in learning.

If there are any problems with the student’s progress, that they are not
learning or developing as anticipated, this should be made explicit at
this point and a detailed Action Plan drawn up.

Mid Way Report

Each programme requires a mid way report, which will provide a
formal record of the student’s progress. Programmes usually have a
pro forma for the structure of the report.

The mid way report will provide evidence that the student’s learning
needs are being met and at how the student is demonstrating their
ability against the National Occupational Standards. There should be
planning for the remainder of the placement, including how to meet
any identified gaps in learning and how any specific problems are
being addressed.

Final Meeting

The final meeting should be used to revisit the student’s learning
needs and determine if they have been met. The meeting should also
                                    10
be used to discuss and confirm the student’s ongoing learning needs,
either in relation to the next placement or in relation to practice as a
newly qualified social worker.

Arrangements for the completion and submission of the final report
and the student’s portfolio should be clarified at this meeting.

There is a quality assurance aspect to this final meeting – an
opportunity to review and reflect upon the arrangements for the
placement, identifying successes and areas for development.

Final Report

It is crucial that the final report provides clear evidence, citing specific
examples, to support the practice educator’s recommendation of either
‘pass’, ‘fail’ or ‘refer’ – the programme’s placement handbook will
clearly outline the criteria for each recommendation. Again, there will
be a pro forma available.

Problem Solving

A placement usually starts with the expectation that it will be quite
straightforward and the majority of placements are. It would, however,
be unrealistic not to consider that there may, sometimes, be a
problem. Although some of these difficulties may take up extra work
and time on the part of all concerned (especially the practice
educator), they are rarely insurmountable and may well be a significant
aspect of the student’s learning.

We do have to remember, however, that a student may fail the
placement and practice educators will have to clearly account for their
decision, providing clear and specific evidence.

The practice educator’s team, their line manager, the local authority
placement coordinator and the student’s tutor are all sources of
support in the event of either the student or the practice educator
struggling.

Very rarely, a student’s practice may cause sufficient concern for the
PE and/or their manager to believe that the placement should not
continue. In such an event, the placement should be suspended,
pending a meeting with the student and the tutor.




                                    11
                      Roles and Responsibilities

There are several parties involved in the placement process

     Senior managers in the service
     The programme’s placement coordinator
     The local authority placement coordinator
     The practice educator
     The practice educator’s manager
     A work place supervisor (sometimes)
     The rest of the team
     The tutor
     The student

Senior Managers

Senior managers are responsible for agreeing the overall level of
placement provision and ensuring that systems are in place to support
that provision. Numbers of placements to be provided are agreed at
the start of each financial year.

The Social Work Programme’s Placement Coordinator
The programme’s placement coordinator is responsible for finding
placements for all the students on the programme.

The placement coordinator will distribute copies of the programme
handbook to the practice educators in advance of the placement
starting

The Local Authority’s Placement Coordinator

It is the role of the local authority’s practice learning coordinator to
match students to appropriate placements.

The local authority’s practice learning coordinators is a source of
support/advice/information to practice educators, should they require
it.

Practice Educators

A student is on placement to learn how to be a social worker and it is
the job of the practice educator to support that learning. The role is
more fully described in the previous section



                                   12
Line Managers of Practice Educators

Managers will be aware of the agency’s expectations in relation to the
provision of placements and should have an understanding of when
they are expected to provide a placement. They will be in a position to
identify who in their team is at point where they can take on the role of
practice educator.

Day to day management of the student is the responsibility of the
practice educator but managers have overall responsibility for the work
of the student, as they would for any worker. In relation to the
placement this includes supporting the practice educator to allocate
appropriate work; having an overview of the work being undertaken by
the student; identifying support for the student in the event of a long-
term absence on the part of the practice educator.

Workplace Supervisors

In some placements, usually when there is not a qualified social
worker available to act as practice educator, there will be an off-site
practice educator, supported by a workplace supervisor. This requires
rather more planning but is an effective model.

Bradford Local Authority employs a specialist practice educator, who
has developed placements in residential settings, using this model.

The Rest of the Team

Although the practice educator has the main responsibility for the
student, the student is coming into a team. Preparing to take on the
role of practice educator should include preparing the other team
members to think about their role in relation to the student. This should
include obvious things like being welcoming; including them in team
meetings or other events. Some team members might be willing to
take on a more active role, such as ‘shadowing’ at the start of the
placement; co-working opportunities; direct observation; input into the
assessment of the student; supporting the practice educator.

The Tutor

Each student is allocated a personal tutor by the programme. The
tutor’s role is to act as a link between the programme and the
placement. They should be able to provide practice educators with
information about the social work degree course and requirements.
Their main responsibilities are to facilitate the placement meetings.

                                   13
In the event of the student struggling in placement, the tutor would be
expected to facilitate additional meetings and, if deemed necessary,
guide the practice educator through the programme’s procedures for
failing students.

The Student

The student is on placement to learn and it is unrealistic to expect that
students will be competent at undertaking the work of the agency
immediately. It is, however, expected that students will show a
commitment to working towards developing their competence. With
support from the tutor and the practice educator, the student should be
able to identify their learning needs and make the most of the learning
opportunities offered to them, the expectation being that students take
on responsibility for their own learning.

From the start of the placement, there is an expectation that students
act in a professional manner, as accountable representatives of the
agency. To assist this, students should be made aware of relevant
policies and procedures. This will include, for example, requirements in
relation to record keeping, confidentiality, signing in and out of work.

Students are expected to work a full day of agency hours and this may
include some evenings or shift work. Students who have carer
responsibilities will not normally be placed in a setting where out of
hours or shift working is regularly required. The placement’s normal
time accounting system e.g. TOIL or flexi will also apply to students.

Students have to complete the full number of placement days and any
absences have to be compensated for.

Students are supernumerary. For example, students should not be put
on a rota, unless the work is related to an identified learning need, nor
should they be used to cover gaps in services. Students are on
placement as accountable team members, however, and it is
reasonable to expect that they respond as such in the event of urgent
service situations.




                                   14
                  Support for the Practice Educator

The local authority has an interest in developing competent and
effective professional social workers and ensuring that practice
educators are well trained and supported will aid that interest.

Most practitioners who take on the role of practice educator thoroughly
enjoy the experience. It is an opportunity to reflect on and analyse
one’s own practice, including values and theory – students ask
questions!! It is also an opportunity to develop new skills, such as
supervising, mentoring and managing and is clearly a valuable aspect
of continuing professional and personal development.

Although the student is coming into a team, it is the named practice
educator who has responsibility for the student and it can sometimes
feel like quite an isolated role. Practice educators should give some
thought to who will support them through the placement.

Line Manager

It is usually through the practice educator’s own supervision, with their
line manager, that it is identified that they are ready and willing to take
on the role of practice educator. Practice educators should be able to
discuss the progress of the placement/student in their own
supervision, although some line managers will be more familiar with
practice education than others and may want to direct the practice
educator to other sources of support.

Team Members

Team members who have already acted as practice educators may be
in a position to act as a mentor for a new practice educator. It would be
useful to establish this in the planning stages of the placement and
confirm with the line manager that this is appropriate. The support
available may be on an ad hoc basis, or be in a more formal process,
akin to supervision.

Other team members, who don’t have practice educator experience,
may also be sources of support, offering the practice educator an
opportunity to talk things through. Again it is helpful to establish this
prior to the placement starting.

Some team members, whether experienced practice educators or not,
might be willing to take on a role more directly related to the student,
such as ‘shadowing’ at the start of the placement; co-working

                                    15
opportunities; direct observation; input into the assessment of the
student.

‘Buddying’

As the demand for placements and practice educators has increased,
some teams are developing their approach to supporting new practice
educators. There have been a number of successful examples of
‘buddying’, whereby an experienced practice educator and a new
practice educator share the role. The experienced practice educator is
able to support and teach the new practice educator, with a view to
them undertaking the role independently in the future.

Workload Relief

Taking on responsibility for a social work student should not be in
addition to a practitioner’s existing workload. Five hours workload relief
is the standard and practice educators will need to discuss this with
their line manager.

Honorarium

The core work of practice education, such as supervision, preparation
for supervision, observation of practice, takes place in the practice
educator’s work time. Bradford Local Authority, however, is aware that
practice educators do use their own time in respect of developing an
understanding of the programme’s requirements and in writing the
mid-way and final report. An honorarium of £300 per placement, is
paid to the practice educator in recognition of that.

This is paid when the placement has ended. There is a claim form for
the honorarium included in this document. This form should be sent to
the agency’s practice learning coordinator, for counter signature. It will
then be sent to payroll for payment direct to salary. (Tax & NI deducted
at source)

A workplace supervisor, who is not a practice educator and who
doesn’t write the reports, is not paid an honorarium.

Occasionally, two practice educators share the role, in which case they
each receive 50% of the honorarium




                                   16
Training

Most practitioners will have transferable skills and knowledge that will
enable them to be effective practice educators. It is, however, highly
advisable that those who wish to become practice educators book on
to the available training, where all aspects of the role are explored in
detail.

Although aimed primarily at new practice educators, this modular
training is also open to experienced practice educators, who might
want to ‘dip into’ modules as a refresher.

Each module is certificated by the Bradford Local Authority’s
Workforce Development Unit, enabling practitioners to demonstrate
continuing professional development.

Details of the training programme are in the Workforce Development
Unit’s Training Prospectus, which can now be found online at Did you
know that our training prospectus can now be found online at
www.bradford.gov.uk @ Adult Services & Services to Children and
Young People

To book on to all or any of the modules, please contact Naina Shah on
01274 433784, or email naina.shah@bradford.gov.uk

For any further information, contact:

Lorna Fitzpatrick
Practice Learning Coordinator
Workforce Development Unit
St Peter’s House
1 Forster Square
Bradford
BD1 4TY

01274 434835

lorna.fitzpatrick1@bradford.gov.uk




                                     17
                                  Appendices




Honorarium Claim Form

National Occupational Standards

Induction Checklist

Structure for Induction Programme




                                      18
      REQUEST FOR PAYMENT - PRACTICE EDUCATOR ALLOWANCE

Practice Educator’s Name


Post Title


Workplace


Payroll Number


Student Name


Dates of Placement


Please make note of any significant periods of absence that the student had


Please confirm that the student’s final report has been submitted to the
programme    
To: Payroll Unit, City Exchange
Please arrange to include an allowance of £300 in the next salary of the
above member of staff. Thank you.




Lorna Fitzpatrick, Workforce Development Unit              Date




                                       19
THE NATIONAL OCCUPATIONAL STANDARDS FOR SOCIAL WORK

Key Role 1: Prepare for, and work with individuals, families, carers, groups
and communities to assess their needs and circumstances

Unit 1: Prepare for social work contact and involvement

Unit 2: Work with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to help
them make informed decisions

Unit 3: Assess needs and options to recommend a course of action

Key Role 2: Plan, carry out, review and evaluate social work practice, with
individuals, families, carers, groups and communities and other
professionals

Unit 4: Respond to crisis situations

Unit 5: Interact with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to
achieve change and development and to improve life opportunities

Unit 6: Prepare, produce, implement and evaluate plans with individuals, families,
carers, groups, communities and professional colleagues

Unit 7: Support the development of networks        to meet assessed needs and
planned outcomes

Unit 8 Work with groups to promote individual growth, development and
independence

Unit 9: Address behaviour which presents a risk to individuals, families, carers,
groups, communities

Key Role 3: Support individuals to represent their needs, views and
circumstances

Unit 10: Advocate with, and on behalf of, individuals, families, carers, groups and
communities

Unit 11: Prepare for, and participate in decision making forums

Key Role 4: Manage risk to individuals,             families,     carers,   groups,
communities, self and colleagues

Unit 12: Assess and manage risks to individuals, families, carers, groups and
communities

Unit 13: Assess, minimise and manage risk to self and colleagues

Key Role 5: Manage and be accountable, with supervision and
support, for your own social work practice within your organisation

Unit 14: Manage and be accountable for your own work

                                        20
Unit 15: Contribute to management of resources and services

Unit 16: Manage, present and share records and reports

Unit 17: Work within multi – disciplinary & multi-organisational teams,
networks and systems

Key Role 6: Demonstrate professional competence in social work practice

Unit 18: Research, analyse, evaluate, and use current knowledge of best social
work practice

Unit 19: Work within agreed standards of social work practice and ensure own
professional development

Unit 20: Manage complex ethical issues, dilemmas and conflicts

Unit 21: Contribute to the promotion of best social work practice




                                         21
                                Values and Ethics

As a social service worker you must protect the rights and promote the
interests of service users and carers:

Treating each person as an individual

Respecting and, where appropriate, promoting the individual views and wishes of
both service users and carers

Supporting service users’ rights to control their lives and make informed choices
abut the services they receive

Respecting and maintaining the dignity and privacy of service users

Promoting equal opportunities for service users and carers

Respecting diversity and different cultures and values




                                        22
                   Planning the Placement – a Checklist
Provide
Stationery                                    
Map of area                                   
Plan of building/room                         
List of colleagues’ names                     
Diary                                         


Relevant Documents
Team Philosophy                               
Induction Programme                           
Health and Safety Guidelines                  
Code of Conduct                               
Equality Statement                            


Explain
Signing in procedures                         
Parking facilities                            
Lunch facilities                              
Location of toilets                           
Name of First Aider                           
Fire drill                                    
Smoking policy                                
Security                                      
Car insurance requirements                    


Ensure
Desk                                          
Phone access                                  
Clerical support                              


Arrange
Parking permit                                
Identity card                                 
Personal alarm                                
Secure filing                                 
Personal storage area                         
Computer login                                
Useful phone numbers                          
IT training                                   


Any other requirements                        




                                    23
              MODEL FOR INDUCTION PROGRAMME

Date &                             With
         Activity   Why   Where           Arranged   Completed
 Time                              Whom




                              24

				
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