ScOPT, on behalf of our members, particularly the independent Practice Educators, developed a response to the current situation where placements have been disrupted and the future plan for re-engagement with practice learning is still unclear. We and our members are concerned about the loss of of placement fees. See our letter shared with you on 3 April.

Thanks to our colleague, Anne Tavendale (SSSC), who responded to our letter on 10 April. She writes:

“I have attached the detailed response which SSSC made to all HEIs following consideration of the report submitted to us on 25 March 2020 from the Joint Social Work Education Scotland Committee. SSSC have been working closely with Heads of Social Work in recent weeks in order to respond as proactively and constructively as possible to these very challenging times in social work education. We have introduced a number of measures which have been agreed by all HEIs and this includes our position regarding practice learning fees. As you will be aware, SSSC pay daily practice learning fees directly to each HEI and there are a range of varied arrangements at local level to use this funding to support practice learning.

The SSSC position is that it is likely that HEIs and/or agencies will have contracts with practice educators which stipulate the parameters of payment where any placements are not completed. There will be different arrangements in place across Scotland.

Where a student has completed 75% of the placement days then the full amount of practice learning daily fees can be claimed by the HEI from the SSSC.

Where a student has completed less than 75% of the placement days an additional 15 days to the actual number of placement days completed, can be claimed from the SSSC to cover outstanding work.

These contingency measures would apply to the fees claimed by universities and therefore apply to arrangements irrespective of whether the practice educator is independent or otherwise, and to agencies as per current arrangements that will be in place.

By now, we hope that HEIs will have shared this information with their practice educators and agreed any local adjustments in light of current practice. We have no locus over any existing contractual arrangements between IPTs and HEIs or Learning Network West. We recognise the significant contribution made by independent practice educators and have considered this in agreeing this position.

As your members will be all too aware, there are a wide range of issues and implications emerging as we begin to consider the ongoing impact of provision of practice learning along with the setting up of the Temporary Social Work Register . We are working closely with COSLA and Social Work Scotland to respond proactively to issues as they emerge. We also see opportunities in the current landscape for testing different approaches to practice learning and will work with the Social Work Education Partnership in furthering this work.

Meantime, I hope the attached brings some clarity for your members not only in relation to practice learning fees, but also a range of associated issues.”

Thanks to Anne for her informative email communication and the attached letter, Response for SW HEIs 020420 (3) (2), sent to the HEIs by SSSC. We would particularly draw your attention to Section 5 which deals with placement fees.

Let us know your thoughts.

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