Portrait of  Gill Kirkman Gill Kirkman

g.e.kirkman@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472200


Qualified as a social worker in 1986. Worked for 15 years as a social worker (children and families) in a number of different teams within Wakefield. I worked extensively in the fields of child protection, family support, looked after children, adoption and fostering and court. I specialised at various times in my career in group work, joint interviewing of children with Police when allegations of abuse arose and the impact of sexual abuse on female survivors.

2001 – Staff Development Officer, Wakefield Family Services. Responsibility for the continuing training and development of qualified social workers within the children and family field. Delivered and commissioned a whole range of training around child protection, assessment models and listening and communicating effectively with children. Developed and ran PQ courses, mentored staff as they worked towards the full PQ Award. On the management and curriculum boards of the PQ Child Care Award for both York and Huddersfield Universities. Consultant to service managers considering workforce development needs.

Worked since 2005 with a group of looked after young people. The young people have been trained to be trainers to enable them to successfully deliver the training programme “Total Respect” to all in Wakefield Family Services personnel who are responsible for the welfare of looked after children and young people. The course encourages staff to embrace young people’s participation in decision making.

2005- Now - Joint Appointment, Senior Lecturer, Social Work Division and seconded 2 days per week to Wakefield Family services as the Practice Learning Centre Co-ordinator. Currently studying for my Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice.

Still some involvement in out reach work with looked after young people. Co-ordinate the practice learning centre at Wakefield – overseeing the placements offered to students from the Universities of Huddersfield and Leeds in Wakefield. Working with Wakefield regarding embedding the PQ Framework into career structures.

Teaching & Academic Responsibilities

  • Module Leader for PQ Consolidation – the first Post Qualifying course for qualified social workers
  • Teach on PQ Developing Practice Educator Skills Module
  • Some teaching on MA (children and young people)
  • Tutor for MA and PQ Students

Areas of interest – children’s and young people’s participation, communicating with children, assessment skills, professional development

Research and Scholarship

Just starting a piece of research (triangulation study – using multiple sources of evidence) on the impact of children and young people’s participation on workers.


  • Aim Higher Project – looking at ways in which we can improve the numbers of looked after children studying at university
  • Young people as researchers.
  • Training young people to participate fully so adults listen