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, 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:
- Your journey to being a supervisor.
- Understanding the lived experience of children and families.
- Emotions, relationships and resilience in child and family social work.
- Talking about practice in supervision.
- Developing a culture of excellent social work.
- Maximising your impact as a practice supervisor.
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 are designed to provide a practical and accessible overview of current knowledge and research in relation to ten key topic areas. There are also briefings for senior managers – designed to support practice supervisors with strategies that enable them to be effective in their role.
We would recommend using the resources to design training and learning sessions for practice supervisors in organisations.
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.