University of Kent, UK

Jane Reeves

TOPIC: “If You Always Do What You Always Did You’ll Always Get What You Always Got” Einstein.


Professor Jane Reeves is an Emeritus Professor for the University of Kent.  A qualified social worker, Jane worked in the UK with children in the care system. After completing her MPhil and PhD on children who become parents whilst in the care, she worked at the University of Greenwich and pioneered a prototype of a child protection simulation. In 2012 Jane moved to the University of Kent and, with Professor David Shemmings, set up the Centre for Child Protection, Centre focusing on innovative approaches to social work and inter-professional teaching and learning. Working alongside partners she has designed and rolled out 12 child protection simulations, some avatar based but all using gaming techniques to enhance teaching and learning approaches. Some simulations are designed just for social worker & professional use (The “Rosie” Suite of Simulations) and others designed as training for professional but also as direct work tools with children and young people, focusing on grooming for child sexual exploitation and radicalization (“Lottie”, “Zak”, “Young Zak” and “Behind Closed Doors”) and more recently grooming in sport (“Safeguarding Izzey”) with funding from Sport England. 

She has also worked recently with International Partners on a UNICEF preventative education programme in Thailand and Cambodia, designed for children 8-13 and professionals, to tackle webinar and online sexual abuse.  Jane has published on her work on simulations and is currently an Inspector for Social Work England and is working with Frontline in the UK.


This presentation will look at the use of technology and how it is currently being used in social work training and direct practice with children and young people, via interactive simulations. As an Inspector for Social Work England it is a privilege to have a helicopter view of teaching and learning approaches in social work training. Moreover, as a founder of the Centre for Child Protection at the University of Kent I have worked hard to integrate technology into pre- and post-qualification training via the design of simulations. Working in partnership inter-professionally and with Government agencies in the UK and NGO’s and UNICEF Internationally, I have led on the design of two suits of interactive, digital gaming simulations; one suit specifically targeted to professionals (“The Rosie Suit”) and the other, direct work tools for professionals to use in practice with children and young people (“The Grooming Suit”). 

This presentation will unpack the ingredients of these simulations and argue that for professional training they are the future; we must go beyond the paper case study and a film to encourage social workers to talk about the emotions, the ‘hot cognitions’ that come, in particular with complex child protection cases; simulations offer the opportunity to feel these emotions in ways that a piece of paper does not. Additionally, the online world of children and young people is often hard to address with them in relational practice and when we consider recent evidence from the National Police Chiefs Council report that over 52% involved reports of children (aged 10 to 17) offending against other children, this peer on peer abuse becomes a practice focus for child abuse. Using simulations with children and young people is a way of entering their online world to start to tackle this