Developing Partnerships between University and Local Service Agencies: Exploring Innovative Social Work Placements in Rural and Remote NSW Public Schools


  • Scott Gartshore University of New England
  • Myfanwy Maple University of New England
  • Jim White University of New England


Field education, Social work, Innovation, Rural, School wellbeing


Social and economic factors contribute to health and educational outcomes for children living in disadvantaged areas, particularly in rural and remote areas. Young people residing outside metropolitan areas are not attaining comparable educational outcomes as their city counterparts, including completion of secondary school and higher education. A brief review of literature reveals core themes which support the need for an effective social work program in the school setting, being: social inclusion, innovation of practice, and facilitation of community partnerships. This case study details how these three inter-related components became a collaborative project utilising one remote town as a case example. The project focuses on wellbeing of school students via direct practice, group work and whole school community engagement strategies. Collaborative and innovative programs through a sustainable field practicum can lead to university and service partnerships in rural settings. Results include an emerging research partnership between the university and local services to address local needs, and an innovative fieldwork program for social work students.

Author Biographies

Scott Gartshore, University of New England

School of Health (Social Work) & School of Education

Myfanwy Maple, University of New England

School of Health (Social Work) & School of Education

Jim White, University of New England

School of Health (Social Work) & School of Education


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