LGBTQ+ issues in practice education (£12,000)

Project: Other

Project Details


2021/22 Funding - £9,000 Workshops, Video Resource Production
2022/23 Funding - £3,000 Roll-out, Impact Evaluation

LGBTQ+ issues are marginalised within the social work curriculum and practice (Fairtlough et al, 2013). There is good evidence available as to what works in the classroom: problem-based approaches, interactive work, critical reflection and embedding content across the curriculum, not just as a discrete session (Mason et al, 2020). RHUL have adopted these principles in our teaching, but little is known about how LGBTQ+ issues are addressed in placement settings and how prepared practice educators (PEs) are in this area. Issues facing PEs include: how to effectively support student casework with LGBTQ+ individuals and families, how to support LGBTQ+ students or how to work with students holding strong religious beliefs where these marginalise LGBTQ+ identities. These issues are relevant to all PEs, but LGBTQ+ PEs may experience particular challenges based on heteronormative workplace assumptions.
This project aims to develop PE knowledge of LGBTQ+ issues and to develop resources that will support PEs and students beyond the duration of the Teaching Partnership funding across two phases.
Phase 1 (£9,000) - The project will bring a group of interested PEs from across the partnership (children’s and adult services), student representatives, an academic and a service user representative together to exchange knowledge, skills and experience re: working with LGBTQ+ issues in social work education. This will be facilitated through a series of four ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP) groups. CoP groups bring together interested parties to develop their knowledge through discussion within the group, which acts as a learning community (Wenger, 2002). The lead academic for this proposal has published in relation to sexuality in social work education (Mason et al, 2020) and has experience leading CoP groups (Mason et al, 2017). Proposed topics include preparing students to work with LGBTQ+ individuals and families; working with LGBTQ+ students; a focus on trans issues (often poorly supported in social work – Inch, 2017); effectively working with strong religious values which may be homo/trans-phobic; LGBTQ+ practice educators’ experiences.

The CoP sessions will be used (by consent) to collaboratively develop video (and other supporting – e.g. brief guide, suggested reading, supervision activities etc.) resources (collaboratively designed involving academics, practitioners, service user rep and students) to support future practice. This will provide a digital resource – useful in the event of future lockdown episodes – and accompanying practice resources.

Phase 2 (£3,000) - The resources will be rolled-out at three local authority sites and focus groups will gather data relating to practitioner perspectives of the resources and how they support working around the topic. A dissemination event will be held inviting keynote speakers from practice and academia on this issue and launching the video resource. This will be for wide circulation across the teaching partnership. Given the existing gaps in knowledge and evidence on this topic, the project will be evaluated using a questionnaire method for participants in the CoP and a later focus group for PEs who have used the resources. This will be reported back to the Teaching Partnership and written up for publication to support future practice.
Effective start/end date1/03/2230/05/23


  • Social Work Education
  • Placements