Unsung heroes – who supports social work students on placement?

Diane Simpson, Ian Mathews, Adrian Croft, Gillian McKinna, Mary Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Downloads (Pure)


Since the introduction of the three year degree programme in 2003,
social work education has undergone a number of significant changes. The time
students spend on placement has been increased to two hundred days, and the
range of placement opportunities and the way in which these placements have
been configured has significantly diversified. A consistent feature over the years,
however, has been the presence of a Practice Educator (PE) who has guided,
assessed and taught the student whilst on placement. Unsurprisingly, the role of
the PE and the pivotal relationship they have with the student has been explored
in the past and features in social work literature.
This paper, however, concentrates on a range of other relationships which are
of significance in providing support to students on placement. In particular it
draws on research to discuss the role of the university contact tutor, the place of
the wider team in which the student is sited, and the support offered by family,
friends and others.
Placements and the work undertaken by PE’s will continue to be integral to the
delivery of social work education. It is, however, essential to recognise and value
the often over looked role of others in providing support to students on placement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57 - 71
JournalJournal of Practice Teaching and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Unsung heroes – who supports social work students on placement?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this