Some of you will have taken part in an open forum about practice learning in September 2015. The meeting acknowledged that, at present there is no mechanism for bringing together all stakeholders. All participants (over 60 people) voted to establish regular meetings of a national network of all the stakeholders involved in practice learning.

Since then a small group of people involved in the Practice Learning Scotland planning group have been looking into how such a network might be established and supported. We are aware that considerable time has elapsed so wanted to give you a brief update on progress.

We are proposing the following:  

The network would be called the Scottish Practice Learning Forum (SPLF)


The SPLF will be a national group with the following suggested remit:

  • To provide a forum to consider shared interests and concerns related to practice learning and practice education in social work across Scotland
  • To promote and disseminate best practice in practice learning and practice education within social work across Scotland
  • To develop creative and innovative approaches to practice learning
  • To explore the viability of a practice learning curriculum
  • To act as a reference group to influence developments in practice learning
  • To contribute to developments emerging from the Review of Social Work Education and progress any outcomes and recommendations in respect of practice learning.


Membership of the SPLF will include representation from key stakeholder groups. This includes:

  • Practice Educators
  • Independent Practice Educators
  • ScOPT
  • SSSC
  • Agency Practice Learning Coordinators- local authorities and third sector
  • Universities delivering qualifying SW programmes
  • Providers of Practice Education qualifications (PDA & PG Certificates)

The planning group began negotiations with Social Work Scotland (SWS) in May 2016. It was clarified in September that it would be possible for  the Scottish Practice Learning Forum to become  a practice network under SWS. This option would require attendees to be members of SWS. The planning group recognise that this presents a barrier to inclusive involvement and, on this basis, would like to explore whether other options can be found.

In order to explore a way forward for the Scottish Practice Learning Forum, Planning Group members have offered to deliver a workshop at the ScOPT Conference on the 17th November. 

Current membership of the PLS planning group is.

Deirder Fitzpatrick, Open University
Sara Hitchin, University of Stirling
Pat MacCowan, Scottish Social Services Council
Jane McClenachan, University of Stirling
Fiona Mossman, Scottish Organisation for Practice Teaching


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