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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow City Council is proud of its partnership with the OU and is promoting the model of collaborative teaching to other councils in Scotland.

A case study of collaborative teaching with The Open University to support succession planning

Glasgow City Council (GCC) has a long and successful working partnership with The Open University to develop staff through the OU’s work-based Social Work degree.

In 2012/13 partnership working moved to a new level though the establishment of a collaborative teaching arrangement through which senior staff at GCC took on tutor roles from some aspects of the Social Work degree programme. At the time GCC faced two major challenges: the imminent retirement of a swathe of qualified Social Workers (and too few qualified staff to replace them) - and - loss of staff in their training and development department - which limited options to develop staff.

At the time, staff from GCC’s Training & Development Department were delivering an HNC in Social Care and SVQ 3 in Health and Social Care as an entry route to the OU’s Social Work degree – but this posed challenges in terms of staff readiness for higher education and with credit transfer. The reduction is training staff forced GCC to  review delivery of the HNC and find alternate means of developing staff to take on social worker roles in the future.

Working with the OU in Scotland, senior staff from GCC developed an Action Plan to provide education and training to staff in support roles - which included GCC delivering stage 1 of the Social Work degree in partnership with the OU through our in-house collaborative teaching scheme.

In the collaborative teaching arrangement, the employer (GCC) acts as the OU’ tutor/ associate lecturer and takes on this role unpaid as part of normal duties . The savings on tuition are factored in to a lower fee to the employer recognising the staff costs incurred by the employer. Having a local qualified member of staff (from service) as the tutor in a collaborative teaching arrangement for social work brings benefits to both GCC and the OU:

  • Allows GCC  the opportunity to offer staff from the (smaller) training department to re-orient their roles and take up the opportunity to deploy tutoring skills with the OU
  • Embeds the learning in organisational culture and allows the employer-tutor to situate students’ learning in the context of social work and social care challenges and priorities in Glasgow
  • Supports achievement of service priorities re flexible, cost effective development of support staff
  • Offers additional cost efficiency as students can carry on working as they are studying.
  • Enables some GCC staff who had already been involved in staff development the opportunity to train as Associate Lecturers/tutors providing  staff designated as OU/ in-house tutors to access staff development and support from the OU
  • Nurtures the relationship between the OU and GCC – and builds longer term commitment
  • And – most importantly increases staff retention and success.

Colleagues from GCC were attracted by the flexibility, quality, minimal replacement costs and reduced cost of the OU in-house teaching model. They saw clear benefits in the OU mentoring and developing staff; building on their expertise and delivering learning integrated with practice and in the context of specific challenges facing Glasgow.

Working with the OU, GCC has found a successful and cost effective model of:

  • developing future social workers to replace qualified staff retiring;
  • widening the entry gate to Social Work education;
  • using education and training to motivate and reward support staff - and improve staff retention;
  • refocusing roles of staff engaged on training and development (up-skilling staff to take on tutoring roles).

To discuss how we can help you develop and train your staff

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