Become a practice educator

The role of the Practice Educator (PE) is to teach, supervise and assess social worker students on their placements during training to become a social worker.

They improve standards in social work education, maintaining the quality of practice placements for social work students.

PEs need to be able to provide high quality practice placements where effective education, supervision and assessment meet the student's needs. However, the PE must not allow unsuitable students to pass.

Therefore, a practitioner considering becoming a PE needs to be able to both nurture and assess their students.

Basic requirements for becoming a practice educator

To become qualified as a practice educator, undertaking sole responsibility for the teaching, supervising and assessing of a final year social work student, a practitioner:

  • will be a registered social worker with a minimum of three years relevant social work experience
  • must have undertaken a considerable amount of tuition, self-study and assessment
  • must have taught, supervised and assessed at least two different social work learners, at least one of which must be at pre-qualification level, including primary responsibility for at least one

Practice Education Qualifications

To meet those requirements, and become fully qualified, a practice educator will have been in practice at least two years since qualification as a social worker. They must also complete the practice education Stage 1 and Stage 2 qualifications (completing a minimum of 70 hours of direct learning over both stages).

Stage 1

Practice educators at this stage will be able to supervise, teach and assess social work degree students up to, but not being solely responsible for, the final assessment prior to qualification. Stage 1 practice educators supervising final placement students will need to have their decision ratified and overseen by a PEPS 2 qualified PE mentor or assessor.

Stage 2

Practice educators at this stage will be able to supervise, teach and assess social work degree students up to, and including the last placement. These practice educators will have the authority to recommend, based on appropriate evidence, that social work learners are fit to practise at the point of qualification.

Practice educator professional standards

In July 2019, The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) refreshed the practice educator professional standards to promote the development of professional standards in social work education.

Presented to a partnership meeting in August 2019, key points of these new standards are available for download in PDF format here.

You can download the full standards from the BASW website.

What next?

If you want to know more about becoming a practice educator, speak to your line manager about the process within your organisation.


In partnership with

Medway Council Kent County Council University of Kent logo Canterbury Christ church University Skills for Care logo Open University logo