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Practice support

Roles and Responsibilities During Placements

Last updated: 6 September 2022

The training team

The degree caters for students from a variety of backgrounds and experience and fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership in the student for their own learning.

The training team is a supportive and collaborative body of registered social workers and other professionals trained in the teaching and assessment of student social workers. The training team specifically includes the student, the Practice Educator, the Placement Supervisor (if there is a separate one) and the Link Tutor. The student will participate as a full partner in the training team and in supervision with the Practice Educator and Placement Supervisor but other members of the training team will work closely with them to help them identify their learning needs and to enable them to take most advantage of the learning opportunities available.

Whilst the training team does not specifically include the placement/agency manager they have a significant role and key responsibilities for the quality of the learning opportunity. This includes ensuring that supervision and support systems are in place to allow the Placement Supervisor and/or Practice Educator to provide a high quality learning environment. It is not expected that the team/agency manager attend training team meetings unless there are significant changes to the placement arrangements or there are performance concerns which need to be addressed.

Confidentiality in the training team

Discussions between members of the training team are generally confidential. The exceptions are:

In the event that information does need to be shared, any service-user/carer details must be kept confidential. Students and placement providers are directed to guidance within other elements of the placement requirements, e.g. Whistleblowing.

Roles and responsibilities

The student

The placement supervisor

Provides support to the student on day to day issues to ensure that there are sufficient learning opportunities provided. Where the Practice Educator is a separate role, there is a requirement for regular liaison and communication between them and the Practice Educator. This is particularly important in preparing for the midpoint and final placement reviews and the final assessment report.

The practice educator

The role of the Practice Educator is to ‘thoroughly test the competence, capability and suitability of the student against professional standards’ (Finch, 2017, p.12), acting as a gatekeeper of professional standards. They facilitate the integration of learning in practice and assess ability to demonstrate the core skills of social work. The Practice Educator may also act as the Placement Supervisor working in the agency providing the placement or may work elsewhere and visit on a regular basis as an “off-site”. It should be noted that where a Practice Educator is undertaking the dual role ‘on-site’ the Placement Supervisor tasks also apply.

The Placement Supervisor and Practice Educator provide key pieces of evidence within direct observations, at the mid-point and final meetings and within the final report. The professional judgement of a Practice Educator is crucial evidence in enabling the University assessment and marking processes to be completed. However, the final judgement about progression is the responsibility of the Module Board of Examiners and it should be noted that the Practice Assessment Panel can overrule the recommendation made by a Practice Educator.

The team/agency manager

Link Tutors work in partnership with placement providers to ensure that the best learning opportunities are provided to the student.

The personal tutor

The role of the PT is substantively different to that of the placement Link Tutor as they are the student’s main point of contact for the whole academic year. Their responsibilities are generally campus based.

The module tutor

The course leader

The academic subject leader

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