York University – SUPA Group

side-218-supa-group-logoThe University of York’s SUPA Group was established in 2005 and is made up of people who have experienced
social work involvement in their lives. Members therefore include carers and service users, and are supported by an Academic lead based in the department of Social Policy and Social Work.

The SUPA Group enhances the teaching in both the BA Social Work and MA Social Work degree programmes by offering a service user and carer perspective on the subjects taught.

Personal experiences and opinions are shared with students, so that they gain valuable insights into the lives of people that social workers support.

As a service user I was involved in all aspects of social work students’ education from admissions, through teaching to assessment & interviewing prospective entrants.

The York SUPA Group regularly seeks input from other service users and carers, students and staff through their regular newsletter and questionnaires and by attending meetings with partners such as North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council.

How the SUPA Group is involved:

  • Interviewing & recruitment of BA & MA Social Work students.
  • The recruitment season is January, February & March. The University also holds open days for prospective students & SUPA Group member’s attendance is normal.
  • Taking part in role playing scenarios to aid communication skills.
  • Reading through placement reports to give a service user’s perspective on language & content used. Reviews of the quality of placement reports take place at least twice a year.
  • Advising students on what to expect on placement & how to conduct themselves when in a work setting.
  • Participation in seminars & delivery of lectures to share particular in depth knowledge & personal experience with students. SUPA Group members are currently in classes in several modules including: Preparation for Practice, Communication Skills, Ethics & Values & Examining Knowledge.
  • Influencing the structure of the course/teaching through SUPA Group board meetings.
  • Attending & presenting at regional & national service user/carer conferences at York & other Universities.
  • Providing a service user/carer voice within the new Teaching Partnership.
  • Think Ahead contribution from a service user/carer role.

I was elected Chairman of the group on Tuesday the 13th August 2019 & will be in office for two years.