Ten years of SWAP

2010 is the tenth anniversary of the Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre. Now part of the higher Education Academy the Subject Centre started out life as part of the Learning and Teaching Subject Network (LTSN).

Highlights from the ten years include:

The Joint Social Work Education Conference

"an increased awareness of the range of research being undertaken around the country which I will incorporate more explicitly into my teaching…trying out ideas from other universities to tackle similar problems in teaching and learning"

SWAP has run this national conference on behalf of a planning group since 2001. The conference has become the main national meeting place for all the key stakeholders in social work education and now includes the social work research conference. In 2009 the conference was attended by more than 400 people.

Mental Health in Higher Education (mhhe)

SWAP manages this project for learning and teaching about mental health, in collaboration with four other subject centres. mhhe has facilitated interdisciplinary dialogue about teaching in mental health, established a mechanism for employers and policy makers to engage with educators in higher education and supported the contribution of users and carers within higher education to teaching and learning. It now links to over 1400 educators.

External Examiners

"I really appreciate having been able to do it this way as it saved me much time and effort in making individual approaches."

Since 2004, SWAP has worked in collaboration with the four UK Care Councils to support the work of external examiners through annual workshops (each attended by approximately 70 examiners and potential examiners), the creation of a database listing over 200 external examiners and the publication of guidance on the external examiner role for both examiners and heads of programmes.

Integrated Children's Services - Higher Education (ICS-HE)

"In developing new degree course I shall look at including at least a module on IPE and shall try to create further links"

2006-2008 SWAP led this project on professional education in higher education for integrated children's services, to meet the Every Child Matters agenda. Five subject centres, the Sector Skills Councils and Professional and Statutory Bodies were involved. A major national conference was held attended by over 200 delegates, and the project outputs including a Knowledge Review disseminated widely within and outside higher education, to ministerial level.

Outcomes of Social Work Education (OSWE)

"the project has led to a significant number of universities developing their work to measure learning outcomes"

SWAP provided support for this project to promote capacity to evaluate the outcomes of social work education. Funded by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) with further support from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), outputs included a national event and a recently published monograph of collected papers; the latter has been recognised by the Chair of the Social Work Reform Board for England as showing "that it is possible to measure learning and that this approach can be used to refine teaching to maximise learning."

E-supported Learning and Teaching Enhancement (ELTE)

"Now using an efolio tool with students, built our own from ideas from the event and how people had used/done efolios."

In 2007 SWAP was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to undertake this two-year project. It involved the development and dissemination of resources for technology supported learning and teaching in social policy and social work. A range of publications and events were delivered, including Techtrain: a highly-rated hands-on workshop for participants to create their own learning resources using a variety of technologies.

Post-graduate Research: Social Policy Survey

"We may have PGs teaching social policy next year so the results of the survey would clearly be useful to us"

SWAP conducted this survey to scope out the teaching roles and responsibilities performed by social policy postgraduates who teach. The aim was to identify and disseminate ways in which social policy postgraduate teachers might be supported at a national and/or regional level. It was organised in partnership with the Social Policy Association through its chair and postgraduate representative and the Joint University Council-Social Policy through its chair. Findings are to be disseminated in July 2010.

Enhancing social work students learning experience and readiness to undertake practice

"Your findings will be of interest to both NISCC and the Department"

This SWAP funded project was undertaken by George Wilson and Berni Kelly, Queen's University, Belfast. Findings, including the identification of key learning priorities for continued professional development during the Assessed Year in Employment (AYE), have already been picked up by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and the Degree Partnership Network (of practitioners). In addition the research is expected to have a wider application for England following the recommendations of the Social Work Taskforce.

Social Work Reform Board

"It speaks directly to our current review of our admissions process."

Following substantive support in terms of both input and dissemination of the work of the Social Work Taskforce in 2009, SWAP is now a member of the Social Work Reform Board. SWAP is facilitating dialogue across higher education social work programmes and is expected to be involved in the implementation of the reform plans. Furthermore, a recent SWAP report on current admissions practices is informing the Reform Board's decisions on calibre of entrants.

Improving social work responses to substance use: models of good practice for social work education

"I will be using some of the exercises and a case study with my students"

This SWAP funded project, undertaken by Sarah Galvani and Donald Forrester at the Tilda Goldberg Centre for Research in Social Work and Social Care, focused on a theme consistently highlighted in recent government inquiries. The project produced a series of groundbreaking learning and teaching resources that enable non-specialists to integrate this significant but often neglected topic into the curriculum.

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If you would like to inform colleagues about SWAP download a SWAP flyer (PDF, 374KB).

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