New resources to support practice supervisors in their role

21 November 2019

New resources to support practice supervisors in their role

Practice supervisors play an important role in supporting supervisees to become emotionally resilient practitioners and ensuring that social workers provide an excellent service to children and families. New open access resources aim to support practice supervisors in key aspects of their role.

Being a practice supervisor is a skilled and challenging job. They are responsible for the quality of service which children and families receive and also play a key role in supporting supervisees to become emotionally resilient practitioners.

One of their principle tasks is to provide reflective supervision that guides ethical and proportionate state intervention in family life. The relationship that practice supervisors develop with social workers is critical in supporting and sustaining their ability, and motivation, to forge similar relationships with children and families.

Developed by Research in Practice, in consultation with academics, practitioners and experts by experience, new open access learning resources aim to support practice supervisors in key aspects of their role. The materials draw on research and practice evidence, as well as learning from the lived experience of children and families.


Resources and tools for practice supervisors

The learning resources include practical tools, videos, briefings and more, and are grouped into six key themes:

The resources can be used by all practice supervisors in child and family social work regardless of length of time in role or experience. They are informed by the Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) and focus on promoting strengths-based and relational approaches to child and family social work, with much of the content also being relevant to practice supervisors working in other settings.

In particular, individuals can use the learning tools to review and audit skills or learning needs in a particular area. Tools can provide information about approaches to use in supervision discussions, or are designed to be used as discussion prompts in individual or group supervision.

A series of ten knowledge briefings have also been developed to accompany the resources and tools. These will be available from early next year and we will announce the release of these new materials on the website.

We would also recommend using the resources to design training and learning sessions for practice supervisors in organisations. Guidance and suggested ideas for this will be released early next year.

Many of the resources are adapted from teaching materials used on the Practice Supervisor Development Programme, a continuing professional development programme for practice supervisors who have made the transition from social worker to first-line manager. Over 1,000 practice supervisors will take part in the programme, funded by the Department for Education, between October 2018 and February 2020.

Access the Practice Supervisor Development Programme – Resources and Tools for Practice Supervisors.


Transitioning from practitioner to practice supervisor

Alison DomakinAlison Domakin

So often the narrative about child and family social work can be negative and it is true that conversations frequently reflect the many challenges practice supervisors face. However, this not the whole story. Practice supervisors play an important role in supporting supervisees to become emotionally resilient practitioners and ensuring that social workers provide an excellent service to children and families.


Further information

Practice Supervisor Development Programme

Practice Supervisor Development Programme

Research in Practice, together with consortium partners, are delivering a national Practice Supervisor Development Programme (PSDP) funded by the Department for Education. The programme aims to provide high-quality continuous professional development for up to 1,000 newly-appointed practice supervisors.

The wholly not-for-profit consortium led by Research in Practice includes: The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustUniversity of Sussex and Goldsmiths, University of London. The consortium work with a number of skilled ‘local delivery partners’ comprising universities, Teaching Partnerships and trusted continuous professional development providers in every region.

Being a practice supervisor is a skilled and challenging job. They are responsible for the quality of service which children and families receive and also play a key role in supporting supervisees to become emotionally resilient practitioners.

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