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Updating skills and knowledge

What updating your skills, knowledge and experience means


If you need to update your skills, knowledge and experience, you can use:

  • Supervised practice
  • Formal study
  • Private study

Private study can make up no more than half of the required period. This means that you can undertake private study for up to 30 days if you are completing a period of 60 days, or 15 days if you are completing a period of 30 days.

A day is defined as a minimum of seven hours. The 30 or 60 days do not need to be continuous, but they must be completed in the last 12 months before you submit your application.

It’s your responsibility to make sure what you learn during a period of updating your skills, knowledge and experience is enough to meet our professional standards.

Supervised practice

Supervised practice involves working with the supervision of a registered social worker in a social work role. You can undertake supervised practice in the UK or another country. Your supervisor must be registered with the relevant regulatory body for the duration of your supervised practice and have been registered as a social worker for at least 3 years. They must also not be subject to any fitness to practise sanctions or proceedings.

For each period of supervised practice you undertake during the 12 month period, you’ll need to provide:

  • contact details of your supervisor
  • name of the regulatory body your supervisor is registered with
  • your supervisor's registration number
  • dates and number of hours of supervised practice
  • details of what your supervised practice involved

We’ll contact your supervisor so they can confirm this information.

We do not set detailed requirements for the level of supervision needed, or the tasks that you need to carry out. We believe that this is best decided between you and your supervisor, based on your learning needs.

If social work is not regulated in the country you wish to undertake your supervised practice, you can be supervised by another social worker, but you must provide full details of what your supervised practice involved. Our registration advisers, who are qualified social workers, will then make a decision about whether what you have done is enough to update your skills and knowledge.

Formal study

A postgraduate course will be accepted as formal study as long as a qualification in social work was necessary to enrol on the course. You’ll need to send us a certified copy of your certificate or upload a scan of the original so we can verify your qualification. We may also contact your course provider for confirmation. 

Private study

Private study is a method of updating your skills and knowledge through self-structured learning. Some examples of the types of activities that you may include in your period of private study are:

  • reading journal articles or library books
  • reading information on relevant websites
  • observing or shadowing a social worker (which is different from supervised practice as there is no formal supervision arrangement)
  • attending training courses
  • reflecting on and recording your learning

Private study can make up no more than half of your 60-day updating period.

You’ll need to keep a record of the activities you undertake throughout any period of private study. When you apply to join the register, you’ll need to demonstrate how each aspect of your private study has contributed to your learning and enabled you to meet our professional standards. For each day or activity that makes up your private study, it’s important that you keep a record of:

  • the date
  • the number of hours
  • what you did
  • how this helped you meet our professional standards

Additional support 

If you have any questions, please call 0808 196 2274 or email [email protected]

Last updated: 27 May 2020

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