Student social workers in school settings
Keywords:therapeutic and statutory work, supervision, complementary learning opportunities
Much has been written about the experiences of student social workers who are based in schools for their practice learning opportunity (Hafford-Letchield & Spatcher, 2007: Wilson & Hillison 2004: Craddock 2006: Fielding 2006). This article sets out to record the experience from the perspective of two Practice Assessors, who were employed by Newcastle City Council. Each Practice Assessor worked with approximately six students per year who were placed in a range of schools including primary schools, secondary school, schools for children with special educational needs and behavioural units. During the school holidays the students were placed in Children’s Social Care Services teams, which provided valuable experience of working in statutory settings. These are complex practice learning opportunities and the role of the Practice Assessor is pivotal. Students need to be motivated and pro-active, which has implications for careful matching of students to the learning opportunities available. This article examines the role of the Practice Assessor in relation to preparing students and link workers, identifying learning opportunities and supervising students.