Key Facts

Course Title: Postgraduate Practice Education (Social Work)
Course type: Modular
Mode of Study:Part Time
Contact Details:Helen Franklin
Contact or, Sarah Babb
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Subject Area: Social Science and Public Policy
Duration of study:September - July


The Social Work Department at Keele University is part of the North West Midlands Teaching Partnership (NWSWTP), one of the original four teaching partnerships commissioned by the Department of Education.   The Teaching Partnerships are employer-led, sponsored by the Department of Education, and driven by a commitment to the continuing professional development of both registered social workers and social work students; thus raising the quality of social work in direct practice.   This module has been developed by the North West Social Work Teaching Partnership to offer a combined route to attain qualification of both stage 1 and stage 2 of the Practice Educator Standards (PEPS), within one academic year.     Candidates on this module will learn how to develop a quality placement within their setting, and how best to support, teach and assess students as they develop their professional practice. 

This course is aimed at qualified and registered Social Workers, who wish to develop and assess the professional practice of students whilst out on placement.  Social Workers undertaking the course should have at least two years of post qualifying experience, and be supported by their employer to host a social work student for the duration of a full practice placement.   Attainment of stages 1 and 2 of the Practice Educator Professional Standards, are currently linked to the social worker, and experienced social worker levels of the Social Work Professional Capabilities Framework.

Aims of the Course

The course aims to provide candidates with a solid introduction to practice education within social work.  Candidates will be prepared to undertake the Practice Educator role within a social work student’s placement, working either as an on-site practice educator, or off-site alongside a work based supervisor.  The course is designed to meet the Practice Educator standards for both stage 1 and stage 2 of the Practice Educator Professional Standards.

Candidates on this course should leave with the ability to:

  • plan and manage learning opportunities within a placement for a social work student
  • supervise a student in practice
  • make judgements and assessments on a social work student’s level of professional capability
  • assess social work students and others against the domains and indicators of the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work
  • prepare reports about social work students which meet professional requirements
  • apply their knowledge about the ethical issues in practice education
  • meet stages 1 and 2 of the Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS).

Entry Requirements

Entrants for this programme must be registered social workers, with at least two years post qualifying experience.  Entrants need to be able to demonstrate that they will be able to study at a Masters level (ideally with a BA 2:2 or above), and substantial post qualifying experience. 

Entrants must be in a position to work with a social work student for the full duration of a placement, in order to meet the requirements of this programme.

Course Content

The module will cover:

  • an overview of current themes in social work education
  • approaches to adult learning
  • designing a learning curriculum and offering learning opportunities
  • teaching critical reflection in practice
  • teaching how to relate social work theory to contemporary practice
  • good practice in supervision
  • assessing through direct observation
  • working with struggling students
  • working with students with additional needs
  • undertaking holistic assessment against a set of defined standards (PCF)
  • giving constructive feedback.

Teaching and Assessment

The course comprises 50 hours of scheduled teaching over a 7 day programme.  There is an expectation of approximately 170 hours of guided independent study and a further 80 hours, which will be completing work with and for a social work student.  This will generate the evidence that a candidate has met the requirements of the Practice Educator Professional Standards.


Formative assignment – 1000-1200 words, reflection on learning from the first part of the course, in relation to current themes within social work education.  This does not count towards the final grade of the module, but is given an indicative grade and constructive feedback, aimed at easing candidates back into academic study.

Summative Assessment is in the form of a portfolio which comprises:

  1. A learning agreement between the candidate and their assessor
  2. A final report by the assessor, that the candidate has demonstrated capability against the Practice Educator Professional Standards
  3. Evidence that the candidate has undertaken two direct observations of their work with a social work student on placement
  4. A 1,000 word review of their professional development in working with another learner, at any stage of the social work curriculum (from entry level up to and including ASYE)
  5. A 3,000 word assignment demonstrating a critical analysis of challenges faced in undertaking the role of a practice educator in current social work practice.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-Library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post-graduate programme.

All candidates will need an assessor who will usually be provided by their employer.  Where this is not possible, a list of assessors can be provided, who can be commissioned by employers.  In exceptional cases, a candidate may be asked to bear this cost.

Each candidate on this programme requires an assessor who will observe their practice on two occasions, work with them to design a learning plan, and appraise the quality of the candidates work with a social work student, to map against the domains of the Practice Educator Professional Standards.

Assessors should be registered social workers, who have achieved a stage 2 Practice Education qualification themselves, and had experience of working in the practice educator role with at least 2 other students.

Social workers undertaking this module tend to progress to roles including practice education, teaching, mentoring or workforce development, or progress on to senior social worker or team manager roles.

Stage 1 practice educator is listed as an indicator under the social work level of the Professional Capabilities Framework, and stage 2 under the Senior Practitioner level.