Two day training programme: Recording in Social Work
Here are some suggestions for running a two-day course
for practitioners, to be organised after they have completed
the exercises in Write Enough.
The two-day programme is designed for people who write
records in files for children and families. Participants
will include practitioners in fieldwork, residential and
day care settings as well as specialist family aides.
We have drafted a letter (click
here) which you can use or amend".
Whatever setting participants work in, it is important
that reinforce the way in which the Assessment Framework
is central to all assessments of children and their families.
You may find it useful to emphasise, for example, that whilst
a foster carer is not the child's parent, nevertheless a
full assessment of the Parenting Capacity domain is as important
as it is to any other child care practitioner. This is because
the parenting capacity domain relates to the range of people
acting in a parenting role and it is as important to identify
what strengths and any difficulties foster parents experience
as it is for parents.
Similarly, the implementation of the Integrated Children's
System will prevent both the unnecessary duplication of
forms and procedures as well as rationalise and streamline
the various parts of the child care system. You will need
to update staff regularly about the progress of these developments
(for updates use the Department of Health website at http://www.doh.gov.uk).
You may want to put specific times for each session into
Remind participants that Aspects of Difference will feature
throughout the programme rather than be treated separately,
unless it is appropriate for a particular staff group attending
to address specific recording policies or practices e.g.
'handing confidentiality when working with asylum seekers'.
The success of this two-day programme depends heavily on
participants bringing examples of their recording with them;
you may wish to devise some specific and targeted ways of
reinforcing this requirement within your organisation.
You might wish to remind participants that much of the
material they have produced will be useful to them in NVQ/PQ/AA
portfolios and/or the Post Qualifying Child Care Award.
Introduction and organisation for the two days (30 mins)
This session is for you to organise as you see fit.
Inevitably, there will be local information about, for example,
departmental policies, results of inspections that you may
wish to draw to participant's attention. Similarly you should
cover the usual messages about safety and other housekeeping
Large group discussion about participants' experience of
the web-based training (30mins)
The purpose of this session is to gather together some
general points emerging from participants' experiences when
they did the Write Enough exercises. This session also acts
as a reasonably good 'icebreaker'. If you want to structure
the session you might pose some or all of the following
1. How did the exercises help you with your recording?
2. Did you have any significant disagreements with the examples
given by the authors?
3. Were there any gaps in the materials? (What were they?)
Discussion in pairs on participants' examples of Case Summaries
Ask participants to work in pairs (or threes if the
arithmetic doesn't work!). Get participants to swap examples
with each other and then read them quickly. Afterwards ask
them to give each other constructive but critical feedback
on two questions:
1. How did it read as a colleague professional?
2. How did it read as a family member?
Pay particular attention to participants who think they
must alter a record merely because a family member doesn't
agree with what the worker has written (assuming it is not
factually inaccurate, or that the worker accepts the family
member's point anyway).
Discussion in large group of main emerging points (15
Here you are using the normal methods of gathering feedback
in the large group. Only summary points are necessary, however;
not a full repeat of what was discussed in the 'private'
arena when participants were working in 2s/3s. Remember
that some of these discussions may have included criticisms
which the individual will not want discussed in the large
group. You are after general points, not specific ones related
Completion of Post-box and Learning Points (15 mins)
After the discussion in the large group we suggest you
ask participants to do two things:
1. Use 'Stickies' to note any points that they want
to register to 'the organisation' - for example, 'We should
review our policy about keeping notes of 'hunches'? or 'We
need to organise training on evidence-based practice'. Ask
them to place the 'Stickies' on a sheet of flipchart paper
(which you could have pinned to wall). Tell participants
that the list will be summarised after the course and then
sent to managers.
2. Encourage participants to make a note of any personal
learning points that they want to make. Tell them that these
notes will be used during the last session on Day Two.
Discussion in pairs on participants' examples of Core Assessments
and Analysis (30 mins)
Large group discussion on the nature of 'analysis' and how
to improve practice (30 mins)
You will need to stress the difference between gathering
information and analysing it. Provided participants have
completed all the exercises before attending the programme
- in particular Exercise Seven in the Recording Exercises
- they should be aware of this difference. Try to get participants
to read out, or write on flipcharts, examples of recording
which demonstrate good analytic skills.
Discussion in pairs on participants' examples of Contact
and Detailed Records (30 mins)
Plenary session for feedback (15 mins)
Completion of Post-box and Learning Points (15 mins)
Use the same procedures as above
Recap and resume from Day One (30 mins)
This session is designed to get participants back together
and therefore you can use the time flexibly.
Large group discussion on participants' examples of Involving
Children and Parents (30mins).
Ask participants to discuss ways they have tried to
involve children and parents, both in the work itself and
how it is recorded. We recommend that you separate this
discussion between children and parents. You might ask participants
to consider the following questions:
1. Did you remember to record the 'wishes and feelings'
of the child (unless s/he was too young)? (If not, then
why? - challenge reasons which involve not having seen the
2. Have you come up with any innovative ways of involving
children and parents?
3. What challenges did you find involving a child or a parent?
4. Have you come up against any situations when a child
or a parent has objected to something you have written?
How did you deal with this?
Small groups to organise Post Box into messages about:
- Implications for the organisation (e.g. policy, procedures,
support etc.) (30 mins)
- Implications for supervision (30 mins)
You can tackle this basically in the same way as you
did with the similar exercise yesterday. You will to need
to separate the comments into one of the two groupings above.
You will need to devise a way of gathering their comments
so that you can send them to managers.
Discussion in pairs to organise Learning Points into Personal
Action Plans (30 mins)
The aim in this session is to give participants a chance
to structure their notes made at various points so far under
the heading Learning Points. One way is to ask them to come
up with 4-5 main action statements such as 'I need to spend
more time acquainting myself with the main principles of
the Data Protection Act 1998' or 'I shall do a summary for
each of my active cases by the end of three months'. Try
and encourage them to write these statements in such a way
that they can later verify whether they have completed them.
Then suggest that they write their name and work address
on an envelope, which you will collect in and send to them
after an agreed period of time (don't forget the stamp!)
Large group discussion about general points emerging from
these plans (30 mins)
What you are after is a general set of points, partly
to begin rounding off the programme .
Final thoughts and comments (30 mins)
Again this session is primarily aimed at winding things
down. Try and help people to leave on an optimist note.
One way of doing this is to ask participants to state in
the group one positive action point they have taken from
the two days; another is to get them to identify their most
significant positive learning experience gained over the
Obtain Reflections on the two days and conclusions (30
Finish the programme by asking participants to give
feedback and cover any concluding points. Remind participants
what you have agreed to do: send the lists of points to
appropriate managers and, later on, post participants' self-addressed