Does practice learning make better practitioners? The need for research into practice learning in social work education in the UK.

Authors: Parker, J. and Ashencaen Crabtree, S.

Editors: Gómez-Jiménez, M.-L.

Publisher: Aranzadi, Thomson Reuters

Place of Publication: Barcelona


The modernising agenda, which characterised New Labour social policy in the early 2000s, engendered significant change in the social and health care sector in the UK. Since then, social work practice education has been significantly affected by this striving for improvement and transformation that continued through inquiries into tragedies, enhanced learning and overt political interference. Ostensibly, the intention of the changes was to enhance the quality of practice and competence of practitioners. However, the necessity of practice education is not often questioned nor is a clear explication of its purposes presented. Rather, it has been accepted as integral to social work education and represents an unquestioned ‘given’. The nature of ‘practice learning’ is also rarely explored and the various types, models, duration and so on are often assumed rather than clearly stated. After reviewing some of the changing historical policy context for social work education and practice learning in the UK, this chapter begins to explore the some of the reasons suggesting that practice education is necessary and posits some reasons that require further exploration and research if we are to develop and maintain a robust justification for this major requirement in social work education.

Source: Manual