How it all started

On 26th January 2017, the launch of the D2N2 Teaching Partnership’s Social Work Academy of Excellence took place at Nottingham Trent University’s Conference Centre. This partnership brings together six local employers of social workers – Nottingham County Council, Nottingham City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council, Rampton NHS, and Framework Housing Association – who will work in a joint endeavour with our three local universities – Nottingham Trent, and the University of Nottingham, and the University of Derby. In addition, the Partnership involves two service user organisations – SEA Participation, and Making Waves.

Funded by the Department for Education and Department of Health, teaching partnerships have been rolled out nationally to help raise the quality of social work trainees and the teaching they receive.

The Chief social workers for adults and children in England Isabelle Trowler and Lyn Romeo have said;

“Teaching partnerships offer a great opportunity for working together to invest in the highest standards of social work education and practice. They provide the chance to ensure that we have more good placements available for students, more support for practice educators and more input from practising social workers and people with lived experience in educating social work students.”

The Partnership’s structure consists of an Executive Group (strategic leads from all of our organisations), a Partnership Board (practice and training leads from all of our organisations), and two Hubs – the Pre-Qualification Hub, and the Post-Qualification Hub (regularly monitoring our training and support offer to the workforce, and to students). We also have a Research Champions Group, and a Black Lives Matter Group.

The D2N2 Teaching Partnership will improve the quality of practitioners coming into social work – by providing them with appropriate training, placements, and high quality practice-focussed tuition; allowing social work academics to enhance their own knowledge of frontline practice – through the provision of shadowing opportunities with social work teams, and provide excellent CPD opportunities for existing social work professionals through a series of knowledge exchange events, and more joint engagement with our universities.

Ultimately, the work done by the Partnership, will embed a more joined-up and practice-focussed approach to social work training across the region, and members of the Partnership are hopeful of continued collaboration, so that our social work workforce is better equipped to deliver a quality service to the communities it serves, and better supported on a professional, practical and personal basis.

What we've achieved

The D2N2 Teaching Partnership is a very organic entity – constantly developing and adapting to the changing social work landscape, and creating initiatives that help improve the quality of practice and education. Below is just a brief snap-shot of some of the work that we’ve done to date:

  • Delivery of a programme of over 30 CPD events each year, across Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire – aimed at frontline social workers and social work students – looking at a range of topics, relevant to current practice.
  • Development of two new initiatives to address practice education:
    • The Placement Learning System(PLS) which takes a more holistic approach to social work student placements, to ensure that they receive appropriate support and development opportunities, and are ready for the transition from studentship into practice. This has included a review and update of the existing QAPL system
    • The Practice Development Programme (PDP) which focusses more on our development of Practice Educators and practice education – ensuring that we provide the right development input for our P.E.’s and that practice education is promoted as a viable career option to the social work workforce/seen as part of a practitioners professional development
  • Development of the D2N2 website – providing information about the Partnership, news from across the social care sector, and useful CPD resources and events
  • Development of a Health & Wellbeing Hub within the D2N2 website – providing a range of advice and guidance on issues that can impact on the health and wellbeing of our social work practitioners and students – finances, family, parenting, mental health, addictions etc. Whilst we know that our partner organisations all have their own staff and student support infrastructures – our Hub is still a useful one-stop-shop for information, and useful support links – for individuals, and for managers.
  • Creation of our own Black Lives Matter Group which has developed an Action Plan for the Partnership, helping us to find ways of embedding and sustaining anti-racist practice within our organisations.
  • Bringing research into practice, through our Research Champions initiative – with nominated staff from each organisation, taking a lead on supporting research activity at the frontline, and acting as the link between our social work practitioners and our academic partners.
  • Development of a Return to Children’s Social Work programme, which has been piloted over the last year by Nottinghamshire County Council. There is potential for this programme to be adapted into a Return to Adult’s Social Work programme, and for it to also act as a vehicle for social workers who wish to transfer specialisms from Children’s social work into Adult’s, and vice versa.
  • Enhancing the degree to which academics engage with frontline practice – to help keep their knowledge of practice up to date, but also to allow for the exchange of knowledge and research to inform practice, and feed back into social work training.

Our priorities

Our ongoing mission is to deliver excellent social work practice and education in the East Midland’s region. Our vision is for social work excellence that we can co-produce, recognise, and evidence - improving the quality of Social Work, through:

  • Training high quality Social Workers to address local need and aspirations;
  • Enhancing opportunities for ongoing learning and career development; and
  • Using research to understand “what works” and achieve good outcomes.

Over the next 12 months we will be focussing on the following elements of work:

  • Implementing the Black Lives Matter Working Group’s Action Plan across the Partnership. See our Black Lives Matter page for more information.
  • Reviewing our workforce planning data and drawing up a robust forward plan that maps out likely supply and demand across the next 5 years
  • Assessing the impact of Covid-19 on the social work workforce, and on social work students – with a view to creating a Pandemic Action Plan for use by the Partnership in the event of future pandemics, or an extended/renewed lockdown situation
  • Engaging more with our service user organisations and delivering a suite of training for social workers that broadens their understanding of service user needs and how our service user partners can support them in their work
  • Training a cohort of Mental Health First Aiders – who will be embedded within all of our organisations – to help support staff/students in the aftermath of the pandemic, and beyond
  • Training a nominated cohort of practice leaders to deliver the Practice Supervisors Development Programme within each of our employer organisations, and utilising this resource to create a Management Development Programme for Black Workers
  • Reviewing the impact of the PLS and PDP initiatives
  • A further programme of CPD events across 2022-23
  • Development of a suite of blended learning resources that will be available via the website, including webinars, talking heads, e-learning links

Get In Touch

General Enquiries

For general Teaching Partnership enquiries, please email the Project Manager for the D2N2 Teaching Partnership, Catherine Williams cath.williams@nottingham.ac.uk

News & Events

Having an effective and vibrant partnership depends on everyone taking part – it’s about communication, about sharing, and about YOU! We’re really keen to get as many people as possible involved in our work, to share what they’ve learned, what they’re doing, and what they think

So, here’s your chance to tell us about:

  • a new piece of research you’ve discovered
  • a new project that you’re working on
  • some new training that you’ve undertaken
  • a conference you’ve heard about, or attended
  • anything else that your social work colleagues, or students, might be interested in.
  • Simply drop an email to cath.williams@nottingham.ac.uk, including “T.P.” in your email title.

If you have a query about any of our events, you can email:

Practice Education

We have eight Practice Educator Leads, who you can contact if you want to know more about practice education – they are based within each of our employer organisations, as detailed below:

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