Dr Jo Finch

Professor of Social Work and Post Graduate Research

+44 (0)1473 338044
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
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Dr Jo Finch is a highly experienced social work educator and doctoral supervisor. She has been working in the higher education sector for 19 years, with experience of teaching on a wide range of programmes, including:  BA (Hons) Social Care, BA (Hons) Social Work, MA Social Work, post qualifying Practice Education courses, and Professional Doctorate Programmes (EdD, DSW). She is known internationally for her work on practice learning and has published widely on this topic.  She also writes about PREVENT and social work, and undertakes commissioned research. 

Career Overview

Jo began her career in social care, working with adults with learning disabilities. She then trained as a social worker and  worked in a number of London Boroughs as well as charities, in both adults and children & family settings. She also worked as a play therapist and practice educator.  Jo then moved into teaching social work students in 2002,  and has worked at a number of universities.


Jo completed a BA (Hons) Politics, at Newcastle University (1993); a Diploma in Social Work  and an MSC in Social Policy and Social Work studies at London School of Economics (1997); a Practice Teaching Award, Goldsmiths, (2001); a Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy, Surrey University; (2001); a PGCE (PCET) from Greenwich University (2007);  and a Professional Doctorate in Social Work, Sussex University (2010).

Jo is currently undertaking a level 5 coaching qualification.

  • Advanced Research Methodology

  • Social work policy and practice

Research Interests:

  • Practice Learning
  • Assessment of students in practice placements
  • Learning disability and digital advocacy
  • PREVENT and social work
  • Social Work Education

Current Projects:

Exploring parents’ experiences of being referred to social services because of PREVENT concerns (Leverhulme/British Academy)

Auto-digital-ethnography as an aid to writing

Interpreters working with domestic abuse (London Borough of Newham)

Research Skills:

  • Qualitative Research
  • Creative and emancipatory research approaches
  • Programme Evaluation


Selected publications (see ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7813-0046 for full listing)


Maclean, S., Finch, J. & Tedam, P. (2018) SHARE: A New Model for Social work, Kirwin Maclean Associates, Litchfield

Finch, J. (2017) Supporting Struggling Students on Placement: A Practical Guide, Policy Press, Bristol

Book Chapters:

McKendrick, D & Finch, J. (in press) Widening the securitisation net in social work in, Webb, S. (Ed) Routledge Handbook of Critical and  Radical Social Work (2nd edition),  London, Routledge

Finch, J. , Hill, N. & Rollins, W (2021)  Assessment in Field Education, Capability, Competence and Contradictions in Egan, R., Hill, N., & Rollins, R (Eds)  Challenges, Opportunities and Innovations in Social Work Field Work Education, Abingdon, Routledge

Finch, J. and Parker J. (2020) The history and context of contemporary social work (including global social work) Parker, J. (ed) Introducing Social Work, London, Learning Matters, Sage,

Finch, J. (2020) Looking After Yourself as a Social Work in Parker, J. (ed) Introducing Social Work, London, Learning Matters, Sage,

Finch, J. (2020) Emotions and the Importance of Personality in Development in Parker, J. and Ashencean Crabtree, S. (Eds) Human Growth and Development in Children and Young People: Theoretical and practice perspectives (Volume 1) Bristol, Policy Press

Finch, J. and McKendrick, D. (2019) Securitising Social Work: Counter Terrorism, Extremism and Radicalisation in Webb, S. (ed) Routledge Handbook of Critical Social Work, Routledge, London

Finch, J. (2017) "Yellow Star" in Doel (Ed) Social Work in 42 objects (or more) Kirwin Maclean Publishers

Finch , J. and Poletti, A. (2016) Italian and English Practice Educators Experiences of Working with Struggling or Failing Students in Practice Placements in  Taylor, I .et al (Eds) Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Education, Routledge, London

Finch, J. & Schaub, J. (2015) Projective Identification as an Unconscious Defence: Social Work, Practice Education and the Fear of Failure. in Armstrong, D. & Rustin, M.(eds) Social Defences against Anxiety: Explorations in the Paradigm, Karnac, London

Finch, J. (2010) “It must be a fluke” – The Self-Perceptions of Learners Entering a College of Further and Higher Education, in Jones, P., Storan, J., Hudson, T and Brahma, J. (eds) 'Towards a New Agenda for Lifelong Learning: Access, Diversity and Participation' Forum for Access and Continuing Education, ISBN 1-904133-42-8

Journal Articles:

Hoskin, J. and Finch, J. (2020) Covid 19, Disability and the New Eugenics. Implications for social work policy and practice, in Social Work 2020 under Covid, 4th Edition, 2nd June 2020, available from https://sw2020covid19.group.shef.ac.uk/category/fourth-edition/dr-janet-hoskin-dr-jo-finch/

McKendrick D. and Finch, J. (2020) Social Work, Covid 19 and Securitisation,  in Social Work 2020 under Covid,  2nd Edition, 24th April 2020, available from  https://sw2020covid19.group.shef.ac.uk/2020/04/24/social-work-covid-19-and-securitisation/

McKendrick. D. and Finch, J. (2020) Pressure Drop: Securitising and De-Securitising Safeguarding,  Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, Vol 32 (1) pp:61-72

Finch, J., Jonsson, J., Kamali, M. & McKendrick, D. (2019) Social Work and Countering Violent Extremism in  Sweden and the UK, European Journal of Social Work,

McKendrick, D. and Finch, J. (2019) PREVENT, safeguarding and The Common-Sensing of Social Work in the UK, Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, Vol 31(2), 000–000.

McKendrick, D. and Finch, J. (2017) Downpressor man: securitsation, safeguarding and social work, Critical and Radical Social Work,  Vol 5 (3) pp287-300 doi.org/10.1332/204986017X15029697482460

Finch, J. (2016)  “…it’s just very hard to fail a student…”  Decision making and defences against anxiety – an ethnographic and practice-near study of practice assessment panels. Journal of Social Work Practice,  32 (1) pp51-65 doi: 10.1080/02650533.2016.1158156. 

McKendrick, D. and Finch, J. (2016) “Under Heavy Manners: Social Work, Radicalisation, Troubled Families and Non-linear War, British Journal of Social Work.  47 (2): 308-324.

Finch, J. (2014) “Running with the Fox and Hunting with the Hounds:” Social Work Tutors‘ Experiences of Managing Students Failing in Practice Learning Settings, British Journal of Social Work, volume 45 (7) pp2124-2141

Finch, J., Schaub, J. & Dalrymple, R. (2013) Projective Identification and the Fear of Failing: Making Sense of Practice Educators’ Emotional Experiences of Failing Social Work Students in Practice Learning Settings, Journal of Social Work Practice, Vol 28 (2), pp:139-154

Finch, J. and Poletti, I. (2013) ‘It’s been hell.’ Italian and British Practice Educators’ Narratives of Working with Struggling or Failing Social Work Students in Practice Learning Settings, European Journal of Social Work, Vol 17 (1)    pp:135-150  DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2013.800026

Finch, J. and Taylor, I. (2013) The Emotional Experience of Assessing a Struggling or Failing Social Work Student in Practice Learning Settings, Special Edition – Field Education, Social Work Education, 32 (2) pp:244-258  DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2012.720250


Minnion, A. Kwiatkowska, G., Watts, P., Finch, J. & Wilkie, C.,  (2020) Rix media and Research Techforce Feasibility Report, Techforce

Finch, J. (2019) Supporting families that are experiencing domestic abuse and improving children’s mental health and wellbeing in the London Borough of Redbridge. London Borough of Redbridge and Barnados,

Briggs, S. Finch, J., &  Farah, F. (2019) Evaluation of Grassroots men at risk of suicide project, East Sussex County Council.

Briggs, S., Farah, F., Hamblin- Opaluwa, L., Finch, J.  (2017) Evaluation of Counselling Partnership - Survivors of Suicide to inform future provision and commissioning, East Sussex County Council

Briggs, S., Farah, F.  Hamblin- Opaluwa, L, Finch, J. (2017) Evaluation of Grassroots training programme to inform future provision and commissioning, East Sussex County Council

Briggs, S., Finch, J. and Firth, R. (2016) Evaluation of a non-statutory ‘Place of Calm’ ,a service which provides support after a suicidal crisis to inform future commissioning intentions,  Centre for Social Work Research, University of East London http://recovery-partners.co.uk/mailouts/Anna/PlaceofCalmFinalReport.pdf

Finch, J. (2013) A Critical Exploration of Practice Assessment Panels: Participation, power, emotional and decision making in relation to failing social work students, York, Higher Education Academy, http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/disciplines/hsc/Social-Work-and-Social-Policy/A_critical_exploration_of_PAP_Finch

Finch, J. (2010) An Analysis of Higher Education Student Progression in a College of Further Education, London, Havering College of Further and Higher Education.

Finch, J (2009) Communities and Widening Participation in Higher Education in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Higher Education Funding Council of England/University of East London, London.  DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5113.9602 

Finch, J. (2006) The Needs and Expectations of Higher Education Learners in a Further Education College,   Havering College of Further and Higher Education, London,  DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1327.5360

Finch, J. (2005) A small-scale evaluation of tutor support given to practice teachers where there are concerns about marginal or failing students, Falmer, University of Sussex DOI:10.13140/RG.2.1.4393.9603

Finch, J. (2005) A Critical Analytical Study: The Assessment of Marginal and/or Failing Students in Placement, Falmer, University of Sussex.  DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5114.8567

Principal Fellow – Higher Education Academy

Registered Social Worker  (Social Work England)