Latest news


E-Learning Module, 'People in criminal proceedings"

Are you interested in an E-learning module, People in criminal proceedings : statutory mental health secure care and treatment.  To find out more click here.


Documentary Film - 'A Long Way Back'

Laura Piacentini has been running a research project on incarceration in post-Soviet Russia in recent years, named ‘In the Gulag’s shadow’.

The project has now made four films, one of which – ‘A Long Way Back’ – has won two awards – for Best Documentary Film and Best Educational Film – at the Christian Film Festival, 2022.

The film tells the story of religious groups that are supporting and educating former prisoners in Russia and it follows the lives of a group of formerly incarcerated people as they navigate a Soviet designed penal system and, at the same time, settle into US-inspired Evangelical communities of comfort. The film shows beautifully how past tropes of the Gulag meet, mesh and clash with a post-prison culture that is truly broken but also becoming saturated with new forms of Orthodoxy.

If you would like to view the film on You Tube, click here to view.


CYCJ's Postgraduate Certificate: Q&A session

CYCJ will be hosting a live webinar on Thursday, November 25 (1pm), giving you the opportunity to ask questions about our new Postgraduate Certificate on Children and Conflict with the Law, in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde.

Starting in January 2022, this exciting course has been developed by CYCJ to provide a professional postgraduate qualification for those who wish to improve outcomes for children and young people who are on the edges of, or in conflict with the law. As a fully online, part-time course, it offers the flexibility to grow knowledge, skills and continued professional development whilst maintaining existing professional and personal commitments.

There's only three weeks until the application deadline (December 3) so don't miss out on your chance to apply!

At this webinar, CYCJ's Carole Murphy (Practice Development Advisor) and Fiona Dyer (Director) will give an overview of the course – including the benefits for you and your workplace, how it will work, why it matters, and what it can lead to.

This live event will give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out if the course is right for you. It is open to anyone who'd like to attend. Register for your place here.

Share your views on children and justice in Scotland
We are inviting our stakeholders to complete a survey that will help us to shape service delivery and improve outcomes for children and young people in conflict with the law, and communities across Scotland.

The short and anonymous survey is open to:
Children and young people aged 12-18 in Scotland (all children, not just those who are in conflict with the law)
Parents and carers with a child in conflict with the law in Scotland
Practitioners and professionals who work with children in conflict with the law
Community councils in Scotland
Please share with your networks. Thank you in advance – your views are extremely important to us.

Take the survey here.


New link to Autism Spectrum Condition Awareness Training

Click here to download new version of Autism Spectrum Condition Basic Awareness Training

Covid continutes but so do we!

The current global pandemic has required us all to adapt and develop new ways of working. In this zoom-cast, Cath Shaw @ Learning Network West is chatting with Karen Armstrong, Practice Learning Co-ordinator with Families Outside which is the only charity in Scotland that works solely on behalf of families affected by imprisonment. Families Outside have continued to provide student placements since they were able to resume in August 2020. 

Karen reflects on the key message of the agency-Covid Continues But So Do We-in terms of adaptability, renewed resilience and highlights the many benefits of having a student on placement during a global pandemic.  Click here to download Zoomcast.


Opening our Soul on to Computers can be Scary 

Click here to read Cath Shaw's Blog 


Practice Wisdom - 3rd March 2021

Weekly wisdom 27th Feb

This last Practice Wisdom is an article written by independent practice educator and now tutor at Strathclyde University, Sarah McCulloch. Sarah has developed the excellent piece that she previously wrote for ScOPT ( to produce a must have read for any practice educator. This meaningful article covers the need for relationship-based practice throughout a student’s placement journey. Sarah’s key message remains-that kindness must remain at the heart of any relationship. Bravo, Sarah! Click here to read.

Thanks for all your comments and contributions to Practice Wisdom over the last 2 years.



National Link Worker Training Programme - Leadership is about People

In recognition of the integral leadership role of link workers within the new COVID-19 practice learning environments, Learning Network West has been granted monies from the Scottish Government through the Social Work Education Partnership to offer and deliver additional link worker training courses in addition to those we already provide within our own partnerships in the West of Scotland. To broaden and strengthen the National perspective on practice learning, all sessions in 2021 will be delivered in collaboration with partners in East and North-East Scotland.

It is anticipated that all Link Worker Workshops in 2021 will be delivered online and will be offered free of charge.  Click here to read further.  To book a place go to our Events page


Practice Wisdom 14th December 2020

Weekly wisdom 27th Feb

This week's Practice Wisdom is shared by one of our new IPES, Emma Briggs. Emma is also a disability advisor at Glasgow Caledonian University and her colleague Mel co-wrote the article “Is the hidden curriculum binary?” on page 104. This paper examines higher education (HE) through a trans and gender diverse lens in order to explore the extent to which the hidden curriculum is tacitly, and unconsciously, binary.  Click here to download.


Book Review - Steve Hunter IPE

Please see recent book review by Steve Hunter, Independent practice educator with Learning Network West of the recently published, How To Survive In Social Work by Neil Thompson and John McGowan.  Please click on the below image to find out how to purchase book.


How to Survive in Social Work’ by Neil Thompson and John McGowan is a thoroughly stimulating and uplifting publication for social workers. It succeeds in identifying the challenges faced by social workers today, presentinga well-balanced appraisal of how social workers can endure thesepressures to thrive ultimately in their practice.

From the outset, the authors see the main challenge facing social work in the context of the workplace as its “business’ culture of managerialism and efficiency savings (i.e. the macro level) in the face of growing demand at a time of austerity budgets. As they put it succinctly, we are faced with “infinite demand and finite supply”.

All social workers realise the profession can be extremely challenging on both a macro and a micro level as they tryto deal with complex and distressing life-changing events. In this book, the authors strongly argue that it is by adhering to understoodkey values, particularly the commitment to compassion and addressing inequality, that enables practitioners to mitigate challenges.

The authors further argue that it is by developing a‘self-management’ skill set (i.e. being well-organised, focused and self- motivated) that sustains social workers through difficult times. This is a valid comment because ultimately it is the practitioner’s responsibility to adhere to professional standards and values.

Thompson & McGowan further encourage social workers to be realistic about what can and cannot be achieved. When working with clients, it is not possible to remove their pain and suffering but it is possible to recognise that these experiences can be part of the healing process. This is very insightful and supportive to help students and new practitioners.

How to Survive in Social work’ is highly recommended to students and practice educators seeking guidance through such a complex and important profession. The authors powerfully argue that in order to both survive and thrive, social workers need to make the most of their professional commitments, teamwork and values. A focus on taking care of themselves and supporting colleagues: by managing stress; having a valid work-life balance and well thought out career path should enable them to provide better care for clients. On a wider level, they recommend that crucial support can be found through membership of BASW and the Social Work Union. An engaging, clear & concise book that sheds light on an often-misconceived occupation. This should be any social work professional’s first port of call to equip them with the relevant skills required.

Stephen Hunter, Independent Practice Teacher, November 2020

Practice Teacher workshops - Latest online Workshop see below


Just Keep on Practice Teaching

Winter 2020 Workshop Collection

The first in our Winter 2020 series of virtual workshops will take place on Wednesday 18th November from 12noon to 2pm on Zoom.

We are delighted to announce that Andreea Bocioaga will discuss Research Confidence: Supporting students to take on research Projects.

Click here to download flyer.

We would ask if you wish to attend please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and for further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Post workshop information

Following Sarah Rose's fantastic Keep On Practice Educating workshop, Weathering The Storm: promoting emotional resilience, Sarah has provided some further links to wellbeing/resilience resources. The SSSC one is Covid specific and the IRISS one is more general. Please check out:


Practice Wisdom Mindfulness in Social Work - 5th October 2020


Mindfulness and social work is a subject matter close to my heart as I have just started the MSc in Mindfulness Studies at The University of Aberdeen. In this Practice Wisdom, Pearse McCusker, lecturer at the University of Edinburgh has written an Insight for Iriss based on his research on mindfulness and social work. This Insight offers clear messages about the benefits and future benefits of mindfulness in social work with the caveat that the research base is still emergent and developing. 

A powerful take-away for me as a practice educator was McCusker’s reflections within the research on anti-racist practice. He cites the findings of Wong (1994) that mindfulness allowed students to challenge their sense of self by accepting the discomfort that arose from their reflections about privilege and discrimination in less avoidant and judgemental ways. This is particularly relevant within the Black Lives Matter movement and McCusker places Wong’s findings within a small but developing body of work that explores how mindfulness can move from an individualised therapeutic idea to an intervention that challenges oppression (Hick and Furlotte, 2010; Berila, 2016; McCusker, 2019).

Enjoy the article and please email any comments on your own take-aways. And as always, please share anything of interest within social work practice and education. For a link to the article, please click here: Mindfulness in social work education and practice.

Cath Shaw @Learning Network West


Practice Wisdom - 4th September 2020

 Weekly wisdom 27th Feb

After a summer break, Practice Wisdom is back with an article shared by IPE and resilience guru, Sarah Rose. Harry Ferguson, Professor of Social Work at the University of Birmingham has written an important piece called Social Work from home: Creating Thinking Space.
This article will be helpful for social work students returning to placement and undertaking virtual social work, in addition to practice educators supporting students remotely. As always, please share anything that you find helpful practice education.

Social work from home: Creating thinking spaces 

All over the world there is a vast workforce of people in caring professions whose work involves seeing people in their homes – social workers, family support workers, community nurses, GPs – but who because of social distancing are now doing much of this work remotely within their own homes.



Practice Wisdom - 7th July 2020


Practice Wisdom: A Day In The Life
This weeks’ Practice Wisdom comes from Robyn Moffat-Wall. Robyn is a social worker having graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2018. Robyn went straight into working as a Refugee Integration Adviser at the Scottish Refugee Council in Glasgow and “hasn’t stopped learning since”.  Robyn shares her personal and professional experiences of lockdown including the value of digital learning, particularly to support #BlackLivesMatter (with some recommended links) and how their service has adapted to meet the needs of service users. Click here to read further.


Practice Wisdom - 19th June 2020

PT 27th March 2020

This week's Practice Wisdom comes from the heart of island community social work in the Outer Hebrides. Laura is a social worker based within a Children and Families team and has provided an incredibly meaningful account of her practice experiences during lockdown. I was one of Laura’s practice educators during her training and she demonstrates the same exceptional level of depth, insight and reflection in practice during a global pandemic as she did as a student social worker in Mid-Argyll.   Click here to download.  Have a good weekend Cath Shaw.


Practice Wisdom - 5th June 2020

PT 27th March 2020


In support of this week's Black Tuesday and the use of space to amplify the voices, work and message of the Black Community, Practice Wisdom is sharing workpromoting anti-racist practice within practice education in Scotland.

Click here to download the powerpoint slides from Dr Dina Sidhva's recent Keep On Practice Educating workshop on Supporting Black and Minority Ethnic Students from April 2020. Dina’s purpose in delivering this workshop was to enable a deeper and more critical appreciation for the experiences of BME social work students, and how a deeper understanding can inform our role as educators.

Opening up a debate on an uncomfortable truth, No Problem Here: Understanding Racism in Scotland (Davidson et al, 2018) gathers together the views of academics, activists and anti-racism campaigners who argue that it is vital that the issue of racism be brought into the centre of public conversations.

No problem here


Please read and share. #blacklivesmatter.

Thank you, Cath


News Bulletin April 2020

Learning Network West

Learning Network West like everyone is trying to understand the new world we currently find ourselves in.  We want to keep you informed and are here for your information and support.

We have, in this News Bulletin, included some up to date information which you may find useful and would be happy to distribute further information for a regular news update.  Click on link to read Bulletin

Please keep in touch. Have a safe and Happy Easter.

Anne Conlin

Network Manager



Practice Wisdom 15th May 2020

practice wisdom


Practice wisdom is in the therapeutic form of a good old laugh this week and shared from discussions at this week’s Lunch Space.

For anyone who has n’t heard of Andrew Cotter and his zoom meeting with his dogs, then please watch the following clip (for those that have, please enjoy again!). For link, please click here:

Have  a lovely weekend, Cath 



Practice Wisdom - 7th May 2020

Weekly wisdom 27th Feb

This Practice Wisdom comes from Dr Gabor Mate, speaker, physician and author. He is best known for his expertise on addiction, stress, childhood trauma, and the mind-body connection. During this CORONAVIRUS global lockdown, Gabor is providing guidance on coping with isolation, raising emotional awareness and finding opportunities for growth. For link to interview, please click here:

I was super influenced by Gabor when I was working in substance misuse and justice services on being able to listen to where the pain and trauma was for each individual to help understand their behaviour.

In this interview, Gabor touches on social and individual challenges and solutions. He considers that the current higher death rate amongst BME health workers is likely to be from those individuals having  a more compromised immune system as a result of being traumatised by  existing oppression. In the Keep On Practice Teaching workshop series in April on Supporting BME Students, Dina Sidhva reflected on such multiple disadvantages  and on the need for Covid-19 to focus positively on our shared common humanity.

In our next workshop on Wednesday 27th May, Dr Heather Lynch extends this by suggesting that the Covid-19 pandemic has not just exposed inequalities in human structures but also in the human relationship with environment and that we must reconsider our relationship with environments that can both sustain and harm human life. To book a space on this workshop, please click here:

Gabor highlights that the global pandemic can a time of opportunity when we are recognising that we are all connected as one unit. Yet what about the real, day-day signs of ‘untogetherness’ and fear- the anxiety which exists at the supermarket, the queues, when some-one comes too close, the judgement if people are perceived not to be following current rules? Gabor  reflects that rational  fear is an authentic  response to a threat and then we can think about how to protect ourselves. Irrational fear tends to be overwhelm, anxiety and panic. He invites these real, daily situations for us all  as  opportunities to learn how  to be with other people under situations of stress and tension.

I find Gabor to have a really warm, reassuring, compassionate, evidence based approach so have a watch if you get a chance! And remember, this is also a time for tremendous human creativity and inventiveness which demonstrates that human security is created by connection! 

Have a lovely weekend, Cath

Please see below link to job advert on behalf of Fiona Stansfield, Strathclyde University.

Position is for a part-time placement supervisor (personal tutor) at Strathclyde University, Closing date is 27th July. 

Any queries or for further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Click here to apply.

Placement Supervisor (Personal Tutor) in Social Work (311088) Vacancies


ScOPTbox Practice Learning LibraryWhat is ScOPTbox?

Read more: ScOPTbox


Assessed Learning Practice Information Pack

Learning Network West has produced an Assessed Learning Practice Information Pack.  The purpose of this information pack is to provide you with an insight into the placing of social work student in a voluntary or private organisation (agency).   It includes the benefits of taking on a social work student, the expectations that must be met, those involved within the student placement experience, and how the practice learning opportunities will proceed.   Click here to download pack.

Agency Partnership Agreement 


Autism Spectrum Condition Awareness 

Autism Spectrum Condition Awareness Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) is a life-long condition which cannot be cured but it is not a mental illness.

ASD is categorised by difficulties with:

  • Social interaction
  • Social communication
  • Social imagination and understanding

The Autism Resource Centre (ARC) which is run by Glasgow City Council provides Autism awareness training opportunities for Glasgow City Council staff, other agencies, parents, carers and stakeholders.
The ARC has developed and produced an innovative learning experience which provides Autism awareness as seen through the eyes of a young person with Aspergers Syndrome called Aspen.
Aspergers is a condition linked to ASD. The Team at the ARC want to encourage learners to make their acquaintance with Aspen. This course gives the information and knowledge to help you understand the strengths, differences and difficulties of those on the Autism Spectrum. This is an excellent and fun learning opportunity.

Click here