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Reflecting on extended leave

In this blog, we reflect on why we ask those on extended leave (such as maternity, paternity or adoption leave) to record CPD. We consider what kinds of CPD you could do whilst taking time out from social work practice.

Reflecting on extended leave

11/5/2020 10:26:35 AM

In our fifth ‘reflecting on’ blog, we discuss why we ask those on extended leave to record CPD, and consider what kinds of CPD you could do whilst taking time out from social work practice.

The requirement to record CPD applies to all registered social workers, including those on extended leave (such as maternity, paternity or adoption leave), those not currently working, and those in non case-holding roles. If you wish to stay on the social work register during this time, you must still renew your registration and record CPD.

This is because we believe CPD is an essential activity for social workers, and something that should be maintained. It’s important to nurture your learning and continue to reflect on your practice, even when you are not actively practising. CPD can help keep your skills up to date and ensure you feel fully prepared upon your return to work.

If you are currently on an extended period of leave, you might be unsure about how to record CPD. Certain elements of CPD, such as asking for feedback or supervision, might not be possible if you are not working and not in contact with your place of work. However, there are still things you can do to keep your practice up to date. Things like reading an article or blog, or listening to a podcast, are available even if you are not currently practicing.


These prompts are designed to help guide you when recording CPD. You could answer these within the unstructured CPD form, or just use them as starting points.

  • Reflect on your experience of extended leave and consider how it might affect you in your work. Perhaps a new child or extended time off has changed your perspective? You could consider how your ethics and values have been affected, or how your priorities have changed (standard 4.8).

  • Keep up to date with current affairs, and reflect on issues that will affect the people you support. You could write a paragraph about a specific issue or something happening in politics, and consider how it might impact social work (standard 4.4).

  • Catch up with colleagues or peers about what is happening at work – if you wish, check-ins with work can help you feel connected and confident about your return. This could be a general discussion about work, or a chance to discuss a specific topic. Then, you can reflect on your conversation and what you have learned (standard 4.5).

  • You could learn about a piece of research, a theory, or framework that may help you approach your practice in a different way (standard 4.2).

  • Reflect on some feedback you received before going on leave. Perhaps your opinion on it has changed since having time and space away from work? You can think about how you might handle a similar situation next time and whether your approach would change (standard 4.1).

We understand that extended leave can be a busy time. Don’t worry if you are unable to meet all 8 parts of the CPD standard during your time away, as long as you are able to demonstrate how your reflections will improve your practice. You meet standards 4.6 and 4.7 automatically by recording CPD.

Remember to anonymise your CPD. If you are talking about a specific person or case, you must leave out or remove any details that could identify someone.

You can find resources, such as further information on what counts as CPD, on the CPD section of our website.

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