Practice Education: Stage 1

20 Academic credits at Postgraduate level.

Who is this course for?

Practice Education Stage 1 is designed for “experienced” level social workers, with at least TWO years practice experience post-qualifying, who are interested in developing their practice education skills and knowledge. This award enables the holder to facilitate the learning and development of a range of learners including pre-qualifying social work students and newly qualified social workers in their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). 

Module overview

Practice Education Stage 1 is an academically accredited module, offered at Postgraduate level and designed in close reference to the updated Practice Education Professional Standards or PEPS (BASW, 2022).  

This robust module unfolds over six carefully designed theory and research informed sessions, in which trainees learn how to: 

  • Set up and maintain an effective, individualised learning environment.
  • Design, deliver and evaluate learning programmes tailored to the needs of their learners.
  • Mentor, coach and supervise learners to develop reflective capabilities, knowledge and skills.
  • Assess learners fairly and holistically, at different stages in their social work careers. 

Practice Education Stage 1 trainees from the University of Birmingham will be educated to support, teach and assess in anti-oppressive ways, and demonstrate knowledge and skills in providing quality learning opportunities to support best practice in social work. 

Full details on the module will be provided to all successful applicants in our Welcome Pack.   

Module approach

The Practice Education Stage 1 module is offered as either a fully online module or a blended delivery module which incorporates a mix of online and in-person learning.  Our modules are designed so that busy trainees can undertake part of their learning at their own pace, at a convenient time and in a convenient place, whilst still benefiting from the support and direction of the course lecturers, who are all trained social workers, practice educators and/or trained Higher Education teachers.

All Practice Education Stage 1 trainees are given access to the University’s “Virtual Learning Environment” (Canvas) where all necessary materials are arranged in learning units, with clear learning outcomes aligned to the Practice Educator Professional Standards (BASW, 2022). In our online learning environment, we encourage peer group connections, collaborations and community by setting up “study circles” for both formal learning activity and informal support.  We also utilise a range of discussion boards and forums to ensure that support is available from course lecturers as required.

Module structure

The Practice Education Stage 1 module comprises of six sessions or ‘blocks’ of study run over a two-week time period. 

Sessions 1 and 6 are full day sessions, delivered either online or in-person depending on which delivery option is selected. 

Sessions 2 to 5 are delivered online and comprise of two parts.  The first part is designed for independent, online study and includes some combination of pre-recorded lectures, explainer or demonstrator videos, theory to practice tasks, self-evaluation and reflection and research.  The second part of the block brings together all learners in the group for a live, online, tutor led seminar in which the materials are revised and applied in a reflective, supportive exchange. 

Once the six core sessions are completed, trainees can attend our regular online ‘Assignment Q & A Clinics’ which are designed to help them connect with their peers, revise core materials whilst they undertake their work in the field with social work learners, and provide individualised support with completing the module assessment.

Module assessment

The Practice Education Stage 1 module is academically assessed at 20 credits which means that 200 hours of study is expected.  This is achieved through a mix of online independent study, seminars, tutorials, additional reading and research and the oversight of a social work learner on placement.

To complete the module candidates must:

  • Attend all sessions to evidence their engagement.
  • Provide a placement with a social work student or ASYE candidate undertaking a placement opportunity for purposes of professional development.  To be fully qualified as a Stage 2 Practice Educator, candidates MUST have worked with at least ONE pre-qualifying learner in either Stage 1 or Stage 2 of their Practice Education award.
  • Submit a portfolio of “evidence”, which includes a direct observation of the trainee in practice, student or ASYE candidate feedback and a reflective piece on their teaching, supervision and assessment of the learner.
  • Submit a 4000 word academic assignment in which they use relevant literature to critically analyse the way they set up the learning environment (Domain A of the PEPS), designed and implemented a learning programme (Domain B), assessed the student (Domain C) and addressed their own professional standards as a Practice Educator in Stage 1 training (Domain D).

*Note - The assessment requirements are identical irrespective of whether applicants choose the fully online or blended delivery module option*

Module entry requirements

Practice Education Stage 1 trainees must have at least two years post-qualifying experience and demonstrate their ability to practice at the Professional Capabilities Framework level of “Experienced Social Worker”. 

In addition, trainees should demonstrate their interest and commitment to practice education, by having completed activities such as supporting students and other new staff joining teams and services (perhaps as part of induction activities or contributing to staff development workshops).

Furthermore, Practice Education Stage 1 applicants must demonstrate that they are ready to study at Postgraduate level by outlining any other post-graduate qualifications (e.g. a Masters, Post Graduate Certificate or Post Graduate Diploma) or relevant post-qualifying professional training, which has required the demonstration of critical thinking and writing skills.

Module dates

This academic year we will be running two Practice Education Stage 1 modules – one fully online module and one blended delivery module which incorporates a mix of online and in-person learning.  Both modules will be offered at postgraduate level and have identical assessment requirements, so applicants are free to choose whichever option best suits their learning needs and circumstances.   

The Practice Education Stage 1 modules are scheduled as follows:

  • PE 1 Blended Delivery – Commences Tuesday 3rd September 2024
  • PE 1 Online Delivery – Commences Tuesday 14th January 2025

Module fees

The module fees for the 24/25 academic year are £1090 per candidate.  If an organisation sends multiple candidates, a discount is applied on a sliding scale dependent on the number of candidates enrolling on the course (please contact us for further details).

Ongoing support

The University of Birmingham’s Practice Education Team offers quarterly CPD days to all current and past Practice Education Trainees.  These two-hour sessions are designed to support attendees to consolidate and refresh their skills, receive peer support and maintain currency in practice. 

Each session is delivered online by the Practice Education Team and respond to national requirements for maintaining professional standards in practice education. 

The CPD sessions for the 23/24 academic year are scheduled as follows:

  • CPD Session #1 – Tuesday 5th December 2023: Diversity & Inclusion in Practice Learning
  • CPD Session #2 – Tuesday 6th February 2024: Supporting Students Struggling on Placement
  • CPD Session #3 – Tuesday 9th April 2024: Developing a Learning Culture Through Peer-Led Group Reflection
  • CPD Session #4 – Tuesday 9th July 2024: Working With Emotions in Social Work Practice

Please contact us to register your interest.

Module Application

Our application portal for this 24/25 academic year is now open.  Please apply online using the link below by the following deadlines:

  • PE 1 Blended Delivery commencing 3rd September 2024 – Application deadline Friday 28th June 2024
  • PE 1 Online Delivery commencing 14th January 2025 – Application deadline Friday 15th November 2024


Please note that most Practice Education Stage 1 applicants are sponsored by their organisations as this helps to ensure professional development opportunities are available, supports those candidates interested in learning and development posts (including ASYE supervisor roles), and facilitates placements for social work students.  For this reason, applicants will normally need to liaise with the learning and development department in their organisation prior to any application. 

If an applicant is not being sponsored by their organisation (i.e. they are self-funding), they will need to ensure that they can secure an opportunity to teach, supervise and assess a social work student or ASYE candidate, secure a PE Stage 2 qualified Mentor to support and assess them in their PE Stage 1 practise, and have the necessary time to complete the study and the placement.

Contact Us

The Department of Social Work and Social Care is located within the School of Social Policy, which in turn is embedded within the College of Social Sciences.  Students and other visitors can find the teaching and learning staff, and the student support offices on the 8 Floor of Muirhead Tower.  We recommend you make contact in advance to set up any appointments. We are happy to meet online or in person.