May 16

Social work student supervision template

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Update previous supervision
Evaluation of personal development / training
Performance issues
Service delivery issues
Safeguarding issues
Equality and diversity issues
Personal welfare and well-being at work (attendance management, health and safety, support for employees who are carers)
Finance issues
Proposed template for supervision

My supervisor smiled at me. ‘So, how can I help you, John?’ Supervision is one of the most important things for a student. Having a sample social work student supervision template helps to structure supervision so that it is effective for both parties. In this article, I share about the previous standing agenda items during my own student supervision, in hope that it will help you.

Update previous supervision

In the previous supervision, there will have been a series of actions that were agreed. I got into trouble during my student placements because I failed to follow up on the agreed actions. When you speak to your supervisor, ensure that you show the progress you have made on the previously agreed items.

Social work student supervision template
Talk things out, reason things out, but let there be no gossip or criticism between you in supervision

Evaluation of personal development / training

Can I go for this training with Professor Steve Peters? It’s about the development of a child’s mind.

Can I go for this training with Siobhan Maclean? It’s about reflection.

As a young student, I was deeply enthusiastic about training. But my supervisor thought that I was spending too much time on training, and too little time on doing work. Addressing these concerns is important as a social worker.

When you evaluate your own personal development, it helps to think through these 3 questions:

  1. Where am I now?
  2. Where do I want to be?
  3. How I get there?

Performance issues

‘John, your work is just quite ‘touch and go.’ My colleague said to me. I was deeply hurt when he told me that. I had always prided myself on the quality of my work.

When I addressed this with my supervisor, she raised the issue of my performance in teams. I hadn’t made myself approachable or kind to my teammates.

When you speak about your performance with your uspervisors, it can be difficult. You need to be humble to accept the feedback, and open to changing some of your behaviors. Only then will it seem like you are making effort to change.

Service delivery issues

‘John, a client’s mother complained about you.’ My manager quizzically looked at me. I didn’t know what was wrong.

As social workers, we need to be good at customer service too. Although we might not wish to call social work customer service agents, the increasing bureaucratisation of social work means that more of us are being responsible for the ‘customer experience’.

Addressing service delivery issues is difficult. But it is vital that you are honest with your supervisor about your view, and what you did. Simply accepting what they say is not going to make both parties satisfied. You would be indignant that you did the right thing, whilst the supervisor might get the mistaken impression that you will change for the bestter.

Safeguarding issues

Safeguarding the needs of children and vulnerable adults is difficult. Depending on where you work, different countries have different procedures for the handling of safeguarding cases. But due to the potential danger and risk that is present in these situations, it is vital to address them with your supervisor when you have any doubts.

A life might hang in the balance.

Equality and diversity issues

‘Flush the toilet, you twat.’

As I walked out of the toilet, a cleaning assistant glanced at me, saying those words.

I was deeply hurt. As I shared that with my supervisor, she was also shocked. She gave me the empathy I needed and listened to me. As a minority in England, it was easy to be discriminated against. However, rather than ignoring it, it is vital to address it.

Personal welfare and well-being at work (attendance management, health and safety, support for employees who are carers)

‘How are you?’

What a loadded question. I often would say that I was fine, even though I wasn’t. Between students and supervisors, it is vital that both parties are honest. The student is accountable to the supervisor for his/her work. If one’s personal affairs might affect that, it is necessary to raise it during supervision.

You are not alone on your journey, no matter how lonely you might feel. We need to be brave enough to be vulnerable to share.

Why vulnerability is important for all

Finance issues

Sometimes, money might end up being very tight. It is important to let your supervisor know, because financial issues can affect our performance at work. Many organizations are able to find a suitable workaround, by giving you an advance of your pay cheque, or by activating a fund for financially distressed employees.

But if you don’t tell, no one will know.

So don’t keep everything to yourself.

Social work student supervision template

Hopefully, with this social work student supervision template, social work students and supervisors alike can have a clearer structure to their supervision sessions. What is vital is that these are prepared for, rather than going in ‘cold.’

Here are some useful guides too.

British Association of Social Workers Supervision guidelines

Singapore Association of Social Workers Supervision Guide


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