School of Social and Political Science

‘Community of Practice Learning’ Event

20 May 2021
09:30 - 14:00


Online delivery via Microsoft Teams - see description for registration details.


Online delivery via Microsoft Teams, to book your place please email: 

We appreciate not all the sections will be relevant and please join us for those session that of are interest to you.

Programme of event

9:30 – 10:00 First placement submission details
Avril McIvor – Director of Practice Learning, The University of Edinburgh Social Work
This session is open to all first placement Practice Educators who are currently supervising University of Edinburgh students on placement.

10:15 – 12:15 Working Positively with Struggling Social Work Students in Placement
Dr Jo Finch – Guest speaker

This session is open to all Practice educators/Academics and onsite supervisors who have or are considering supporting University of Edinburgh students on Placement.

Practice placements are an often taken for granted feature in numerous professions training requirements. Indeed, it would be unthinkable for students not to have an opportunity to put into practice what they have learnt in the classroom setting. A particularly challenging aspect of the role of practice educator, is that of gatekeeper. International research across professions highlights the challenges faced by practice educators when faced with students who are struggling to meet the required standards of that particular profession. This interactive workshop will enable participants to:
• Identify the indicators or behaviours that suggests a student is struggling or at risk of failing a placement.
• Reflect on why practice educators might find it challenging to fail students.
• To critically consider why failing students can be an emotionally painful experience and consider the possible implications for the assessment process
• To develop confidence in giving feedback and having courageous conversations.
• To develop useful strategies in working with struggling students.

13:00 – 14:00 Social Work students – Part of the recovery of Covid-19
Avril McIvor – Director of Practice Learning – The University of Edinburgh Social Work
This session is open for agencies who currently do not offer social work placements, but would like to consider offering a future opportunity to University of Edinburgh students & for those agencies who have not been able to offer a placement in the current academic year
The session will include an overview of the University of Edinburgh Social Work Practice Learning.
A brief introduction to what placements currently look like for our students – range of placements currently being offered.

The impact of Covid19 and some of the strategies that have been put in place by agencies and Practice educators to support agencies and students on placement. To discuss how agencies have adapted to these changes and are utilising social work students as part of their service recovery.


Dr Jo Finch is a Reader in Social Work, Deputy Director of the Centre of Social Work Research and Programme Director of the Professional Doctorate in Social Work at the University of East London, and Professor (PGR Supervision) at the University of Suffolk. Jo became interested in the issue of what happens when social work students fail on a placement when she began work as a lecturer in social work in 2002. Jo initially explored this in her Professional Doctorate in Social Work and has since published widely on the issue of assessing struggling or failing students on placements. She also publishes on the issue of PREVENT and social work. Jo is the author or “Working with Struggling Students on Placement: A Practical Guide” (2017, Policy Press) and is co-author of “SHARE: A New Model of Social Work” (2018, Kirwan Maclean associates.)

Key speakers

  • Dr Jo Finch