The supervision of undergraduate social work students on placement is fundamental to their development as 50% of the BSc (Hons) social work degree in the UK comprises practice learning, which is widely acknowledged as the signature pedagogy of the profession. In Northern Ireland practice learning opportunities are supervised by practice teachers. To ensure a consistent quality and supply of practice teachers a Master’s programme offering approximately 35 places per year is delivered at Ulster University. The trainee practice teachers had to navigate working on the front line through the COVID 19 pandemic, post graduate study and the professional supervision and assessment of undergraduate social work students on placement. This article presents evidence from a small scale qualitative study evaluating the practice teaching programme conducted with 22 trainee practice teachers. Respondents were asked to complete a semi structured online survey. The evaluation sought their perceptions regarding the duality of their unique experience as a gatekeeper to the profession and student managing the unprecedented challenges of assessing the competence of social work students on placement. Several themes emerged including assessing competence, the student experience and support from the practice assessor. A further outcome was the creation of a Peer Learning Bubble Model.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 British Association of Social Workers.
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Peer Learning Bubble Model
- practice teacher
- social work education
- social work placement
- student competence