Cathy explained how the students undertake two lengthy placements in addition to their academic work. The first of these is a 70-day placement, often within voluntary sector organisations. Their final 100-day placements are required to be in local authority or hospital settings or a small number of other organisations undertaking legally mandated roles so that they are fully prepared upon qualification.
She said: “Students are key working and largely case-holding by this point in their placement, although work is supervised every week. They do not co-work all situations and will have been conducting home visits and interprofessional meetings as if they were qualified, albeit not having case responsibility for safeguarding situations.
“Across the two routes to qualification (BSc and MSc/PGDip), we had a total of 46 final placement students prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, 31 of these are still continuing, with appropriate safeguards in place, whilst others are paused due to either their own health or caring needs or those of others within their care.
“The students who remain in placements are in placement settings including mental health teams, adoption and fostering teams, family support and duty/child protection teams as well as general adult social work teams and disability teams.”