Preparing social work students for practice by involving young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in teaching and learning
Research paper by Gosia Kwiatkowska and Kathryn Stowell
This paper shares a model of teaching and learning between secondary school and higher education over a decade long partnership between Charlton Park Academy and The Rix Research and Media Centre, University of East London.
This collaboration benefited everyone involved. It highlighted the strength of inclusion at all levels of education and raised questions about who is recognised as doing the teaching. The extraordinary contributions made by the young people involved inspired us to examine, share and promote this work more widely in the hope that it will encourage others to build similar partnerships and models of working.
This research reframes the involvement of young people with PMLD from being passive recipients of support and education, to individuals with the ability to educate social work professionals. As a result, young people have developed their skills and confidence, social work students have learnt from those who face the most complex of barriers and been challenged to reassess their limiting beliefs about disability.
Our hope is that this approach could be replicated or adapted beyond social work education to other disciplines for example teacher training and health professionals. This work has the potential to enhance understanding and transform attitudes, ultimately improving practice and achieving better lives for young people and their families.