The National Organisation for Practice Teaching Conference, held at Sheffield Hallam University on 11th July was hailed a great success.

NOPT, holding its first live face to face conference since 2019 offered a variety of workshops to the audience that included local authority and independent Practice Educators as well as university academics. 

Omar Mohamed ASYE Social worker and Director of the IFSW Europe New Social Workers Project, set the tone of the day with a decolonised approach to his inspirational talk that focused on the transition from education to employment and his current European group research project. This vibrant young social worker provided the audience with an insight into the new generation who are taking the profession forward at a time where there are concerns and discussions about the future for practice education.

Recent events including the pandemic and the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement have given rise to interesting research projects. Dr Sue Hollinrake from the University of Suffolk shared her findings from two research projects on improving teaching anti racism. Hellmuth Weich from Northumbria University explored cultural humanity and working across cultures. Hilda Chehore, UKSWA CIC for social workers and students focused on inclusion and diversity.

New models of working were also a popular topic with Dr Paula Beesley, Leeds Beckett University presenting her model of collaborative experiential learning for use in supervision. Dr Joanna Rawles, Nottingham Trent University offering how to help students embed critical thinking into their reflection and Lynda McDonald, Manchester Metropolitan University, developing an innovative and hybrid model for training Practice Educators.

Other workshops focused on tools of the trade including Dr Pam Tevithick reclaiming the importance of social work skills. Dr Echo Yeung focusing on initiating difficult conversations and Sarah Brown, University of Kent and Polly Sykes, University of York delivering findings from the PEPS review and evidencing standards which had been commissioned by BASW. Gemma Webb Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough and Co- Chair NOPT, ran an exercise exploring the challenges in assessing learners in qualifying programmes. Jonathan Monk, SWE, provided a keynote speech updating the audience on their approach to social work education and training which received some critical questioning and discussion from members of the audience wishing to raise their concerns.

Craig Davidson, NICE, showcased their Guidance tools for social workers and Rebekkah Tarbin, Community Care Inform, helping to create a habit of learning for social workers.

David Whiting from Whiting and Birch publishers and Di Page from Critical Publishing were present with a variety of books for sale. Critical Publishing were launching Practice Education in Social Work, 3rd edition, by Dr Sue Taplin and Dr Paula Beesley, both present at the conference. Alshad Dustagheer, new Generation Social Work, demonstrated tools for students in practice.

Overall, the conference provided a variety of opportunities for new learning and renewing ideas and the committee is grateful to all the presenters for their time and commitment to NOPT and practice education. Feedback suggests that the delegates enjoyed the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the country, sharing ideas, learning from innovations in practice teaching and attending a live face to face event.

We hope everyone enjoyed the day and will welcome you back next year.

Workshop presentations can be found in the members area. Membership remains free and NOPT welcomes all those involved in practice education.

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