The Edge of Health

Category: World Social Work Day (page 1 of 2)

Tuesday 19th March 2019 is World Social Work Day and this year’s theme is ‘Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships’.

My Student Experience | Dan

I’m Dan and I study Social Work at Edge Hill University. I decided to study Social Work because I really wanted to make an active contribution to promoting social justice and support people to make positive changes in their lives.

The best thing about my course is the wide range of learning opportunities we are provided with, such as through 2 practice placements, group tasks and lectures. The expertise of the lecturers helps me to gain thorough knowledge of various areas of Social Work including Children and Families, Mental Health and Social Work with Adults.

Employment opportunities are high after graduation, due to the close links the University has with employers in both the voluntary and public sectors. This highlights the reputation of the course and this was extremely appealing to me when choosing to study here.

My Student Experience | Natasha

I’m Natasha and I study Social Work at Edge Hill University.  I decided to study Social Work as I wanted to play an active role in ensuring people’s voices were heard, when making choices to make a positive impact in their own life.

The best part within my course is the many opportunities that are given to widen my own knowledge and understanding around the difficulties that people face in their lives. The course offers an opportunity to go on placement, one in the voluntary sector and the second in the statutory sector. I have just finished my first placement in PSS, working with families who have loved ones in prison. By receiving this opportunity to go, it has allowed me to gain more experience, which allowed me to develop my skills in practice and also provided me with an opportunity to build upon my knowledge around the theories and law when putting them into practice. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement, as after finishing it I have decided to carry on volunteering, so I can continue to build upon my practice.

When considering the job opportunities after the course, there is a high chance of employment. This is due to the links between the university and the placements that have been offered.

Meet the team | Claire Bates

Claire spent 14 years as a registered social worker in a local authority, much of this with adults with learning disabilities but later in her career on a generic adult social work team. Claire has worked as both a practitioner and in a management capacity and is a qualified and experienced Practice Educator.

While in practice Claire was engaged with projects specifically targeted at supporting older parent carers of adults with learning disabilities and from 2009 onwards was engaged with Edge Hill across several programmes in both a Visiting lecturer and Associate Tutor capacity.

Since taking up a full time lecturer post within the Department of Social Work in 2014, Claire has had module lead responsibilities across several programmes including BA/MA Social Work and Nurse Social Work in areas including ‘Complex Needs and Learning Disability’, ‘Specialist Social Work Practice with Adults’ and ‘What is Social Work’. Claire is year 1 lead for the BA Social Work Programme.

Claire retains her links to practice and is part of the Learning Disability Steering Group for Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Claire’s current research interests include Practice Education and Practice Learning in social work.

Meet the team | Paul Rimmer

Paul currently leads a number of modules across the BA Social Work programme and has a special interest in Mental Health Social Work. Paul is the Programme Leader for the social work element of the Integrated Masters in Nursing and Social Work. He also has lead responsibility for involving service users and carers in social work education at Edge Hill.

Paul is an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) and Best Interests Assessor (BIA). He has a professional social work qualification and MA in Social Work and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Paul also holds the Full Post Qualifying Award in Childcare Social Work. Paul has substantial experience of assessing people under the Mental Health Act and the practical application of Mental Health Law.

Paul has spent a considerable part of his career working in an out of hours setting in various Local Authorities across the North West and South West of England where he worked in generic practice. Paul has substantial prior experience of practice education. He has direct practice experience of statutory Social Work in Child Protection, Fostering and Adoption, Children with Disabilities, Mental Health and discharging a range of statutory duties through Emergency Duty Social Work. Paul continues to regularly practice as a social worker within an Emergency Social Work setting and maintains a current AMHP warrant.

Paul is interested in the mental health needs of carers, the challenges faced by agencies in the application of Mental Health Law within the context of austerity measures, the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and the Mental Health needs of men. He is committed to developing the next generation of social workers and is currently undertaking research in relation to the student experience of understanding the professional social work role.

Meet the team | Emma Rimmer

Emma Rimmer is Practice Education Lecturer for Social Work at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk.  She is a qualified and registered social worker and prior to joining Edge Hill practiced for 17 years in a statutory social work team working with older people, adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and in the mental health field.

Emma is an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) and Best Interest Assessor.  She is also a stage two practice educator and has supported a number of students in practice.  Her responsibilities also include supporting Edge Hill social work students with their placements during their course.

Emma continues to practice as a social worker within an emergency social work setting and maintains a current AMHP warrant.  She is also interested in practice education and student experiences whilst out on placement.

Outside of this Emma is a coach and manager for an under 12’s girls football team, who are currently top of the champions league.


Meet the team | Noreen Maguinness

Noreen Maguinness is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She is a qualified and registered social worker with 20 years’ experience in children and family social work, including long term, assessment, family centre work and adoption and fostering.

Since leaving frontline practice Noreen has worked as a Multi-agency child protection trainer and in Higher Education as a social work educator for 15 years. With a keen interest in the application of law in children and family social worker, Noreen obtained a Masters in Child Care Law and Practice (with distinction) from Keele University and is soon to complete a Professional Doctorate in Social Work utilising the conceptual framework of Pierre Bourdieu and narrative inquiry to explore the Big Stories and Little Stories of children and family social work.

During her time in Higher Education, as a social work educator, Noreen has led and developed safeguarding pathways to develop inter-professional learning and multi-agency platforms. She has carried out several leadership roles including the development and delivery of one of the first Step Up to Social Work programmes in the North West.

Noreen has been commissioned by key children and family voluntary agencies to develop and deliver safeguarding and reflective practice models to support practitioners in their work with children and families.  Keen to maintain links with thresholds and decision making in practice Noreen remains involved with decision making forums such as fostering and adoption panels.

Meet the team | Sue Williams

Sue Williams has been a qualified and registered social worker for some twenty years, having worked within children’s services locally.  Sue has been engaged within teaching and learning on successful social work programmes for thirteen years, however she has retained links to practice on an independent basis, primarily within fostering and adoption services.

Since taking up a post with Edge Hill University, Sue has worked significantly with partner agencies in order to ensure that placements are of the uppermost quality, affording a diverse range of opportunities to students who embark upon a social work programme within the Faculty.  Sue is currently the Programme Lead for the BA (Hons) Social Work route, and, as such, has had the opportunity to engage with students to ensure that they are supported and enjoying the learning process. Sue considers that students being an active participant within a vibrant social work community at university is key to academic success.

Sue’s teaching responsibilities are module lead for Theory and Methods and Contemporary Social Work Practice amongst others. Sue is also involved in the ERASMUS programme for the department as well as the Cheshire and Merseyside Social Work Teaching Partnership.

Sue’s research interest focuses upon the various routes for permanency for children where it is no longer possible for them to live with birth parents.

Meet the team | Nigel Kelleher

Nigel Kelleher is qualified in social work and teaching, Nigel joined the Edge Hill University Social Work Department in September 2014 after seven years’ experience of leading and teaching on a successful BA Hons Social Work programme.

Nigel is teaching across our portfolio of social work education programmes and is developing and extending the University’s continuing professional development offer to better support the current reform agenda in social work in England. He is currently supporting the development of Independent Reviewing Officers and is also supporting newly qualified social workers via the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programmes in the region.

Nigel’s current role offers the opportunity to engage more widely in research at a time of great change within social work practice, and his currently include social work responses to radicalisation and indicators of effective Independent Reviewing Officer practice.

Meet the team | Ciaran Murphy

Ciaran Murphy is Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. He is a qualified and registered social worker, having specialised in child care/protection.

Ciaran practised for ten years in the areas of child protection, substance misuse and education welfare. He formerly sat on the Greater Manchester Family Justice Board sub-group for improving outcomes for children in the Family Court. His previous research publications have pertained to the evaluation of substance misuse treatment services. His current area of focus is the discretionary freedom of statutory social workers in contemporary practice.

Ciaran is in the final stages of his PhD and is due to publish in July 2019. He is also an avid Houston Texans fan – #WeAreTexans!

Meet the team | Steve Hothersall

Dr Steve J Hothersall is the Head of Social Work Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. He is a qualified and registered social worker, having specialised in child care/protection and statutory mental health work, having trained as a mental health officer (AMHP), and he is also a qualified nurse.

Steve has practised and taught in both England and Scotland for many years. He has written, researched and published on a variety of topics including social work with children, young people and their families, social policy, risk, mental health, methodology, epistemology and philosophy more generally, having a particular interest in pragmatism and the use of philosophy in professional practice(s) (

Steve is a regular reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work ( and other journals, and is a regular speaker at both national and international events and conferences. He is a member of BASW (, a member of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity ( and was previously involved in the development of the International Association for the Study of Attachment (

He is a Series Editor for Critical Publishing ( and he is currently involved in writing and editing a new edition of a best-selling social policy text and working on a monograph on philosophical perspectives in social work, social care and health.

Steve is also passionate about the music of Ludwig van Beethoven “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” 



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