What is a Practice Educator?
The quality of practice placements for social work students is dependent on the input from Practice Educators. The Practice Educator (P.E.) is vital to raising standards in social work education. They need to ensure they provide high quality practice placements, which will educate, supervise and assess the social work student. We want to ensure our P.E.’s will maintain placements that are of a high standard. P.E.’s need to meet the student’s needs and offer the best opportunities to enhance their learning experience.
The P.E. is also a gatekeeper for the profession and she/he needs to be vigilant about not allowing students to pass, who are unsuitable for practice. There can be a difficulty in managing the competing roles of nurturer/enabler and assessor – so you do need to be aware of this challenge when considering a P.E. role.
To gain the P.E. 1 status the P.E. needs to complete the training, take full responsibility for a student with the support of a mentor, have a successful direct observation of her/his practice with a student and complete a portfolio.
The P.E.2 course looks in more depth at assessment, promoting critical reflection, supervisory skills and supporting students to relate theory to practice. To gain P.E. 2 status the P.E. needs to attend the training, take another student, be observed again in practice and complete a portfolio. Student feedback is also a significant factor in both P.E.1 and P.E.2.
How do I become a Practice Educator?
You need to be two years post qualified to apply for the Practice Educator Stage 1 course. You need to be three years post qualified to undertake the Practice Educator Stage 2 course.
Developing Practice Education
A student social worker’s experiences whilst on placement are crucial to their professional development and, as employers and workforce development leads, we therefore have a key responsibility to ensure that we provide high standards of Practice Education. To this end, the D2N2 Social Work Teaching Partnership have established a Practice Development Programme (PDP) that will ensure high standards of practice education and robustly support the learning and professional development of our Practice Educators and, through them, the quality of our social work student placements. Alongside this, we have implemented a Placement Learning System (PLS) that embeds a more holistic approach to placements and practice learning across Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire and Derby City and Derbyshire.