We were delighted to be invited by SASW to present the award for Practice Teacher of the Year at the Scottish Social Services Awards in Edinburgh earlier this week.
The judges had been able to shortlist two nominations for the award. Both nominations were so strong that the judges asked for a "highly commended" as well as the winner.
Ruth Shipstone, a Practice Learning and Development Officer with Dumfries and Galloway Council was winner of the Practice Teacher of the Year Award.
Ruth was nominated by a previous student who said the wide-ranging opportunities she presented her with gave her a confidence which has helped in her current position as a newly qualified social worker in a Children and Families team. She drew out the student's resilience as a worker, and as Ruth is also working with all the newly qualified workers in an induction programme continues to challenge and inspire. Another student described a complex background which affected her placement and gives credit to Ruth's supervision empowering and enabling her to address the relevant issues, allowing her to practise within an ethical framework. Another example is provided which highlights yet another angle of being supported to overcome obstacles and thrive in what could have been a difficult setting. Throughout the nomination Ruth's ability to bring people along and allow them to adjust, based on ethics, values and personal confidence have led to students getting the best out of learning and has set a foundation for continuing professional development.
Jessica Proctor, an Independent Practice Teacher in Edinburgh, was highly commended by the judges.
The nomination described Jessica as a dedicated and highly knowledgeable Independent Practice Teacher who is always ready to listen and support others. Her respect for human rights is demonstrated in discussions about ethical issues and dilemmas arising in the work of a Practice Teacher. She also organises group activities for students which are very popular and successful. It has been very well attended, with students feeding back that they have valued the group to share common issues and learn about different practice areas and experiences. She has also arranged and supported the "up" group, which meets every month for practice teaching colleagues working in Edinburgh and the Lothian areas. This group provides informal group supervision to practice teachers, providing space to exchange experiences and sharing of skills. Jessica's expertise extends to working with the SSSC, Learning Network West and tutoring with Glasgow Caledonian, however how she values every individual student and allows them to flourish is her most important achievement.
Both Ruth and Jessica are active ScOPT members and we are thrilled that both were recognised for their work in supporting students.
Fiona Stansfield, Chair of ScOPT, presented the award along with Maree Todd, MSP, Minister for Childcare and Early Years.