Learning and professional development

Promoting a learning culture

Supporting staff working across social care to learn and grow and develop in their careers is critical. We’re developing and embedding a learning culture across children’s social care, focussing on opportunities to learn and develop right from learning circles, mentoring, buddying and shadowing to sharing blogs, TED talks as well as more traditional virtual classrooms and e-learning.



 Our academy offers the following areas of support:

CPD booklet – Learning, growing and developing your skills is a key part of the way we do things, and through the support of your manager we want you to take responsibility and accountability for your learning and development at Team Wigan. This booklet contains a high-level overview of learning available about various topics including safeguarding, contextual safeguarding and neglect and how you can access these as part of your role.

  • Practice educator professional standards training – The university development programme is aimed at registered social workers who have a minimum of two years post-qualifying experience and are interested in supporting a social work student placement. Once successfully completed, social workers will support first or final year students from university and submit a portfolio of evidence to supplement their experience and learning.
  • Practice supervisor development programme (PSDP) – Available for newly appointed practice supervisors to enable them to support and develop others.
  • Research in practice – Access a variety of resources, designed to help develop, expand and maintain your knowledge on a wide range of topics, with opportunities to reflect on and evaluate your learning and best practice, whatever your role or level of experience.
  • Workforce essentials on SharePoint – Easy access to an electronic resources of the latest guidance and information, including templates, examples of good practice, credible research, toolkits, top tips and more.

Opportunities to learn and reflect

Group meeting

Credit: Monkey Business/Adobe Stock

Here in Wigan, we promote a culture of learning. We celebrate good practice and learn from situations where things have not gone as well as we would have liked. This includes:

  • Monthly collaborative case file audits – Practitioners reflect on their practice prior to the audit being undertaken, and then the audit is undertaken jointly by the auditor and the practitioner.
  • Quarterly learning events – Open to all staff, these sessions focus on our learning from audit activity, what our performance data tells us, what our staff tell us, and what our children and families tell us about practice and where things might need to get better. These are bite size sessions which allow practitioners to take time out to reflect and think about their own practice, providing examples from real casefiles. Our staff have told us they find this the most interesting way to learn.
  • Focussed learning workshops – These focus on specific areas of practice, for example using learning from rapid reviews, or supporting our drive to be brilliant at the basics by focusing on key pieces of work like assessments and plans.
  • Learning circles – We provide opportunities for further reflection and development after a certain number of audits each month. Learning circles bring key people together to talk about good practice and consider cases where things haven’t gone as well as we would have liked.
  • Learning examples – We share anonymised case examples which have provided learning opportunities via our staff newsletters. This includes a case overview, some questions to get people thinking, and the themes identified. We link this to the Social Work England standards, so that staff can record this in their CPD.
  • ASYE workshops – We run monthly workshops for our social workers in the first year of their employment, focusing on key areas such as assessments, thresholds and direct work.

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