Are you a disabled social work student based in the West of Scotland? If yes, we would love to hear from you!

Little is known about disabled social work students’ experiences of their social work placements and ‘Disabled Voices’ is a scoping study, between October 2023-July 2024, which aims to address this gap in knowledge. Ethics approval has been granted by the University of Strathclyde. The study is being carried out by Sarah and Dr Dianne-Dominique Theakstone. Sarah is aware from her roles, both as a practice learning manager and a placement co-ordinator, of the significant challenges encountered by disabled social work students when preparing and completing their placements. Dr Dianne-Dominique Theakstone, a registered blind research fellow at Stirling university, has also recent lived experience of these processes.

We are looking to carry out interviews with approximately ten disabled social work students online, on a one-to-one basis, spanning the universities based in the West of Scotland and with open university students who have completed placements in the west of Scotland. To maximise reflections on placement experiences, the scoping study will focus upon disabled social work students who have completed their first and/or second social work placement(s). Particularly, we seek to gather insights and feedback from disabled social work students who have required reasonable adjustments, regarding the placement planning and matching process. The data, we hope, will help inform future constructive and positive change. This will be relevant for organisations, such as the Learning Network West, placement planning practice for Higher Education Institutions and may have impact upon some placement providers policies and practices. The scoping study seeks to highlight potential improvements to the student experience for disabled social work students on the social work programme and to adhere to the Professional Standards Framework in terms of providing inclusive and accessible student experiences.

We appreciate any assistance in sharing this information among your networks and if you would like further information or to take part, please contact:

Caty McColgan at the Learning Network West at