About Us

Raising Standards in Social Work Education, Teaching and Practice across Greater Manchester

Raising Standards in Social Work Education, Teaching and Practice across Greater Manchester

The Greater Manchester Social Work Academy (GMSWA) is a social work teaching partnership based in Greater Manchester which involves high level collaboration between partner organisations, largely Local authorities, and Higher Education Institutes (HEI’s), where together they develop and deliver curriculum’s, informed by social work practice to benefit, and address the needs social workers and students in their social work careers.

Our Goal is to collaboratively to equip social workers at all stages of their career with the tools and experience they need to give the best service to the people and families of Greater Manchester.

Our Aims

  • Enhance the recruitment, training and development of Practice Educators to enable the provision of good quality and sufficient practice learning opportunities and placements for SW students across Greater Manchester (GM).
  • Ensure a commitment that all social work students have access to high quality placements in a preferred area of practice/ learning and receive the appropriate support to reach their learning outcomes.
  • Understand social work practitioner needs so that Greater Manchester has the highest calibre of social workers, with a good mix of Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW)  and experienced social workers who receive a continuum of learning at pre and post qualifying levels, supervision, and support in order to deliver the best social work services to Greater Manchester
  • Provide access to post qualifying social work training and development, based on shared partners priorities. 
  • Enhance the support and development offer for Newley Qualified social worker’s during their ASYE, ensuring a high quality and consistent approach to support the region’s recruitment and retention needs.
  • Broaden the engagement and participation across all areas of pre and post qualifying education, training, practice.
  • Strengthen collaboration and sharing of knowledge between practitioners, academics and people with lived experience to influence change at practice and systematic levels.
  • Ensure we maintain agility to respond to local, regional and national initiatives by ensuring the partnership has an effective structure, management and administration to support activity. 

Who We Are?

In our partnership we work with our Ten Local Authorities across Greater Manchester, these include; Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. Our partnership has Four Universities whom we collaborative with which are; University of Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester and University of Salford. The partnership benefits from having a Public Involvement Board, having members who have lived experience of social work and social care, whom we collaborative and consult with on aspects of teaching and practice.

How Do We Collaborate?

The structure of GMSWA consists of four main work streams which include:

  • Governance Committee
  • Practice Learning Work stream
  • Workforce
  • Practice Research Hubs
  • Public Involvement Board

To find out more about the people and work activities involved with each group please click on the tabs below:

Governance Committee

Practice Learning Work stream


Practice Research Hubs

Public Involvement Board

What is a Teaching Partnership?

Social Work Teaching Partnership were developed by The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care to help transform the overall quality of practice, learning and continuing professional development for both pre and post qualifying social workers. 

Social Work Teaching Partnerships are employer led, working collaboratively with HEI’s, strengthening the relationship between them to raise standards of social work practice, through attracting high quality students and ensuring that they and qualified social workers are equipped with necessary knowledge, skills and values to best support the people they serve. 

To read more about teaching partnership see links below

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How is racism understood in literature about the experiences of black and minority ethnic social work students in Britain? A Conceptual review.​

Dr Dharman Jeyasingham and Dr Julie Morton (Social Work Education, 38 (5), pp 563-575)


This article presents findings from a study which explored the everyday ways race works on social work programmes in England. The study focused on how race was spoken about and conceptualised, how people were categorised and ordered according to race and the social interactions where race was understood by participants to be significant. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight social work lecturers and nineteen black social work students at two universities in England, to explore the following topics: classroom-based and practice learning, assessment and feedback, interactions between students and between students and educators, and university and practice agency cultures. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and the following themes identified: the routine interpellation of black students and communities in terms of absolute cultural differences, black students’ everyday experiences of marginalisation, hostility and othering, and the racialisation of black students in judgements made about their academic and practice performance. The article concludes that social work education must engage more deeply with contemporary theorisations of race and culture, and that social work educators need a reflexive understanding of how notions such as diversity, equality and universal academic standards are put into practice in ways that marginalise and devalue black students.

Link to Research Article:

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Children’s social workers agile working practice and experiences beyond the office

Dr Dharman Jeyasingham, The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 49, Issue 3, April 2019, Pages 559-576, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcy077


Agile working (flexibility around practitioners’ roles and the location and time of work) is increasingly common across local authority social work in the UK but there is little evidence about the practices it entails, with the small amount of existing research concerned largely with its impact on office environments. This article presents findings from a qualitative exploratory study of eleven social workers’ practices and experiences when engaged in agile working away from office spaces. Data were generated through practitioner diaries, photographs elicited from practitioners and semi-structured interviews, and were analysed using a grounded theory approach. The study found practitioners engaged in agile working in a wide range of domestic, leisure and formal work environments across the public–private continuum. This gave them superficial control over how they worked, in particular the freedom to work in solitude and establish distance between themselves and perceived demands from service users and other practitioners. However, agile working also involved a wider range of material practices and affective experiences for practitioners. These changes provoke questions about data security, increased visibility and unanticipated encounters in public spaces, and the shifting relationship between information-management work and elements of practice involving face-to-face interaction with others.

Link to Research Article: Seeking Solitude and Distance from Others: Children’s Social Workers’ Agile Working Practices and Experiences beyond the Office | The British Journal of Social Work | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

Dr Dharman Jeyasingham of University of Manchester was the lead the ESRC funded project “Becoming agile in local authority children’s safeguarding social work services: examining organisational and individual change in public sector social work”. Details on this project can be found here: GtR (ukri.org)

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Not Ageing Out of Violence? Older Mens Biographical Narratives of Their Abuse and Violence in Intimate Relationships With Female Partners

Bellamy, C. Struthers, M and Green, L (2023) Cited in Bows, H. (ed) Not Your Usual Suspect: Older Offenders of Violence (Feminist Developments in Violence and Abuse), Emerald Publishing limited, Bingley, pp. 105-119 https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80071-887-620231008
Drawing on empirical research which incorporated biographical interviews with two older male perpetrators, this chapter develops theoretical conceptualisations of the histories, experiences and motives of these men. Four key areas are highlighted, which will be subject to closer scrutiny in relation to extant literature: (i) gender, particularly notions of masculinity, power and entitlement; (ii) attitudes relating to the use of violence both within intimate relationships and generally (iii) critical junctures in the life course which triggered attempts to desist; and (iv) an exploration of maturation and completion of treatment programmes in relation to their use of violence, future risks and efforts towards desistance.

Link to Research Article: Not Ageing Out of Violence? Older Men's Biographical Narratives of Their Abuse and Violence in Intimate Relationships With Female Partners | Emerald Insight

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Exploring health and social care professional initial perceptions of caring for trans patients.

Kirlew MI, Lord H, Weber J (2020) Exploring health and social care professionals’ initial perceptions of caring for trans patients. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11383

Link to Research Article Resource: https://journals.rcni.com/nursing-standard/evidence-and-practice/exploring-health-and-social-care-professionals-initial-perceptions-of-caring-for-trans-patients-ns.2020.e11383/abs

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