A BRADFORD retired social worker has been named the top teacher in the UK in social work at a recent awards ceremony.

Karen Maude, who helps to train student social workers at Bradford College, was named the Practice Educator of the Year at the Social Worker of the Year Awards.

Mrs Maude, 63, works alongside students studying social work degrees at the college’s University Centre, supporting them on work placements in a range of different settings, and also delivers teaching sessions to prepare students for placements.

Since retiring from a 24 year career in adult social care at Calderdale Council, Mrs Maude, from Lightcliffe, has dedicated herself to mentoring and supporting the next generation of social workers coming through in Bradford.

Mrs Maude was described as “legendary” by her students and colleagues, and the judges praised her for being “committed and passionate” about education.

She said: “It was an absolute privilege to receive this award.

“I have been a Practice Educator for many years and aim to bring out the potential in each social work student to be the very best they can be, encouraging them to develop their understanding of social work underpinned by a strong value base.”

The ceremony at Royal Lancaster Hotel in London heard how Mrs Maude is on hand at all hours of the day to answer questions and offer encouragement, and she was praised for her ability to instil confidence and determination into her students.

Brian Mitchell, head of school for social care and community practice at University Centre Bradford College, said: “This is an astounding achievement and one Karen should rightly be proud of.

“Students and colleagues from Bradford College are really pleased for her securing the title Practice Educator of the Year.

“Karen’s support, advice and guidance to students across the social work degree programme have been invaluable.

“Colleagues appreciate that Karen is always ready to listen and talk through any issues that students may be experiencing and has a unique ability to find learning in every situation.

“This approach is complemented by her ability to be creative and innovative with ideas and relate these directly to practice.

“The award is due recognition and acknowledgement of Karen’s brilliance within her role. The nomination was endorsed by all the key stakeholders within The Bradford Social Work Teaching Partnership. Bradford College students and staff from across the partnership provided many of the testimonies within the nomination.

“Karen continues to work with our students, sharing her expertise, experience, empathy and passion. We are very fortunate to have people like Karen working with our students.”

Helen Routledge, a social work student who has benefited from Mrs Maude’s support, added: “Karen has a wide depth of experiences and knowledge and as a practice educator she is also someone who goes that extra mile to support students.”

The Social Worker of the Year Awards were founded in 2006 to recognise the hard work and positive impact that social workers have on the lives of vulnerable children, families and adults and improve the reputation of the profession.