Black African Students’ Experiences of Social Work Practice Learning in England: A Critical Race Inquiry

  • Prospera Tedam

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The experiences of black African students (BAS) in the context of social work placements in the UK have received limited attention within academic and practice discourse. This is despite the reported evidence of growth in numbers of students of black African origin enrolling onto social work qualifying programmes and experiencing delayed progression and poorer attainment. This thesis seeks to examine the experiences of black African students on social work placements, drawing upon critical race theory as a methodological and explanatory framework. Using data from semi-structured interviews and reflective diaries, narratives from eight (8) participants studying social work at undergraduate and graduate levels in England offered insight into their experiences in addition to strategies which they perceived would enhance the experiences of ethnic minority students in the future.

The findings revealed that BAS experienced racism, over-scrutiny, isolation and exclusion, differential treatment and were racially stereotyped on a regular basis. BAS experienced successful placements when their practice educators (PEs) were supportive, respectful, encouraging and understanding. The study also highlighted that HEIs and practice placements require more open and transparent processes in terms of matching, allocation of workload, monitoring and supporting black African students.

The study identified the need for a robust system of training for PEs, regular auditing and maintaining a register of PEs and ensuring ongoing CPD in the areas of equality and diversity. Practice guidance has been developed (Appendix 9) alongside a web portal and a Twitter account to disseminate findings from this study and to support the teaching and learning needs of this group of students.
Date of AwardNov 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorJim Lusted (Supervisor) & Claudia Bernard (Supervisor)

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