Bridging social work professional education and community work through co-learning and participation in parenting programmes: initial findings from the Families and Schools Together community partners project (FAST)

Conference item


Hafford-Letchfield, T. and Thomas, B. 2014. Bridging social work professional education and community work through co-learning and participation in parenting programmes: initial findings from the Families and Schools Together community partners project (FAST). Paulo Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities. UCLAN 28 Apr - 01 May 2014
TitleBridging social work professional education and community work through co-learning and participation in parenting programmes: initial findings from the Families and Schools Together community partners project (FAST)
AuthorsHafford-Letchfield, T. and Thomas, B.
Abstract

Families and Schools Together (FAST) is an international evidence based parenting programme delivered within a community setting around the school. Its universal approach utilises a systemic whole family approach which engages the community by the team that delivers the programme over an eight week cycle. Project partners involved in each programme are comprised of School Partners (any member of the paid school staff), Parent Partners (parents who have children at the school )and Community Partners (which draws on professionals such as social work, health, mental health, voluntary sector providers or people who work or live in the community who want to participate). At the end of the programme parents and carers continue with support from FASTWORKS, comprising of a monthly meeting. This group emerges as a parent/carer led network which in turn is supported by the school and community partners. An extensive roll out of FAST around the UK is currently funded by Save the Children through a project team based in Middlesex University
This paper describes a specific initiative within FAST which seeks to strengthen its engagement with social work as community partners. A number of critiques have highlighted the distancing of social work from communities and its social justice origins (Hafford-Letchfield et al, 2014; Cocker and Hafford-Letchfield, 2014). Early involvement in their own education engages social work students with more systemic and community based support using transformative pedagogies which focuses on interventions that harness sustainability, citizenship and participation. 20 first year BA Social Work students following a module ‘Community Project’ were placed with FAST to complement their teaching on theories on social policy and the institutions and structures that support service users and carers at a local level. Students had the opportunity to develop a range of direct skills through active enquiry, synthesis and evaluation of information about the socio-economic and political realities in their local community in relation to children, young people and their support networks. This paper presents the preliminary findings from a formal evaluation of this pilot and reflects on what can be learned about how social work education and FAST can work together to bridge diversity and communities using a model of empowerment and conscientization in practice.
References:
Hafford-Letchfield, T., Lambley, S., Spolander, G., Cocker, C. (2014) Inclusive Leadership: Managing to make a difference in social work and social care, Bristol: Policy Press
Cocker, C., Hafford-Letchfield, T. (2014) Anti-discriminatory and Anti-oppressive Theories for Social Work Practice, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

KeywordsFamilies and Schools Together; Transformative Education: Social Work Education; Freireian Pedagogy.
ConferencePaulo Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities
Publication dates
Print2014
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Sep 2014
Output statusPublished
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Web address (URL)http://www.uclan.ac.uk/conference_events/paulo_freire_transformative_education.php
LanguageEnglish
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