Entries for the 2017 Social Worker of the Year Awards are open! Visit our website for more information & to download entry forms #SWA17

Dave Thomas, Central Bedfordshire Council      

Practice Teacher of the Year



““It was Dave’s passion and dedication that made his entry stand out to the judges. An independent practice educator for the last 14 years, Dave has spent the last five as an external practice educator provider for Central Bedfordshire Council, mentoring students from the University of Bedfordshire during their placements with the authority.


‘Going the extra mile’ is a recurring phrase within his nomination and Dave is fully committed to the challenges that students face. In particular, his strong interest in dyslexia and other learning disabilities means he is able to offer an unrivalled level of support to these  students.


Dave also has special commitment to the voluntary sector and ensures that students and NQSWs develop a good understanding and appreciation for this area, through shadowing and placement opportunities.


Dave’s input into the Council’s NQSW programme and the provision of emotional support has seen the number of NQSWs on its ASYE programme increase fivefold in the past 18 months. Meanwhile, the authority believes Dave’s involvement in their Step Up to Social Work programme is one of the reasons why they’ve never had a student leave.”


What was said about Dave:


“Dave comes across as a local ‘legend’ – he has been grafting away consistently and enthusiastically for years and has made a significant contribution to practice learning.” Maxine Fletcher, Programme Lead for Social Work, Oxford Brookes University


“When you have an individual who is so widely respected as Dave is, it raises the profile of social work as a profession and helps attract and retain the best social workers.” Ray Halford, Learning and Development Manager, Central Bedfordshire Council


“Dave is amazing, he is so supportive and nothing is ever too much trouble. I am not sure that I would have passed my social work training without his guidance and support. Dave is one in a million – he truly deserves this award.” Sarah Curran, ASYE and former student


“You could not ask for a better practice educator and I have always expressed how lucky I feel to have been supported by him for over two years. I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award.” Hannah Moore, ASYE and former Step Up to Social Work student



  • Brian Mitchell, Practice Teacher of the Year 2013
  • Maxine Fletcher, Oxford Brookes University
  • Maris Stratulis, BASW
  • Jennifer Skirrow, Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year 2013
  • Zoe Betts, iamsocialwork



  • Eleni Prodromou, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Angela Meidel, East Sussex County Council
  • Helen Guizani, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council – SILVER AWARD
  • Dave Thomas, Central Bedfordshire Council – GOLD AWARD