Student Social Worker of the Year


Tonia Dubidat

ORGANISATION: University of Birmingham

AWARD(S): Student Social Worker of the Year


The judges described Tonia as “excellent from all angles” and it was clear from her nomination that she has made an equally good impression on the professionals and service users she’s worked with while studying an MA in social work at the University of Birmingham.


Tonia’s mum, who is also a frontline practitioner, inspired her to pursue a career in social work. To help prepare for working directly with children, Tonia worked as a professional contact worker at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council before commencing her studies. Since joining the course she has excelled in her academic modules and always ensures the voice of the child is at the heart of her work.


A notable achievement is the feedback Tonia received while on placement with Cafcass, where she was assigned a difficult private law case. Tonia demonstrated a clear understanding of the complexities of the case and built a trusting relationship with the parents, which ensured they respected her power to make decisions. Her court report was commended by both barristers but also by a judge who has never complimented the work of Cafcass before.


Tonia’s performance in managing this difficult case left managers at Cafcass with “no doubt” Tonia would develop into an outstanding practitioner.


Tonia is able do good direct work as well as understand the legal processes she has to follow and this was evidenced by the high standard of court work that she’s done. Her commitment, passion and energy shone through the application.

Dave Thomas, Practice Teacher of the Year Award Winner 2014

Tonia’s entry was excellent from all angles.

Jamie Stone, Newly Qualified Adult Social Worker of the Year Award Winner 2014

Tonia talked to me about things and if I was unsure or unhappy she would explain to me, and she always told the judge what I wanted, which I think is very important. She was very understanding and caring and she made me feel that I could speak to her about things and that she understood me.

Service user

What was so impressive about Miss Dubidat’s report was that it was not only thorough, but it focused on exactly the right matters of concern to me and the parties. She also gave evidence in an exemplary manner and no one could have possibly guessed that it was her first time.

District Judge Quershi, Birmingham


Lisa Shaw, Manchester Metropolitan University

Helene Brown, New College Durham


Benn Vaughan, University of Cumbria

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