Barry Fearnley

Barry Fearnley

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Social Work and Health


Dr Fearnley is a social work academic in the area of children, young people and social care. Dr Fearnley is a qualified social worker, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Dr Fearnley teaches across postgraduate and undergraduate courses.  His teaching interests include children and families social work.

Dr Fearnley is Module Leader for Social Work Student Placements, Module Leader Practice Educator Stage 1, Module Leader Practice Educator Stage 2.

Dr Fearnley is developing approaches for quality assurance of placements and supporting social work students when undertaking their placements. Dr Fearnley is proactive in the development of placements to provide students with a wide range of learning opportunities.

Dr Fearnley contributes towards teaching on other undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the social work course.

Dr Fearnley co-facilitates CPD workshops for Practice Educators with colleagues from the University of Nottingham and the University of Derby. This is a collaborative approach to supporting Practice Educators and students.

Dr Fearnley is a member of the D2N2 Teaching Partnership Practice and Research Hub.

Career overview

Dr Fearnley has a MA in Social Work (University of Hull) and MSc in Health and Social Care Research (University of Sheffield). He completed his PhD (Leeds Beckett University) in 2015, exploring the everyday experiences of young women who are also mothers.

Prior to joining NTU Dr Fearnley was employed by a local authority where he worked in a Workforce Development Team. This role included being the social work student placement co-ordinator. During this time he was off-site practice educator for in excess of 170 social work students. He mentored social workers undertaking the Practice Educator Stage 1 and Stage 2 course and was a member of the HEI teaching team for delivering the Practice Educator Course.  Dr Fearnley also has experience as an on-site practice educator.

As the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) Co-ordinator (Children and Families) Dr Fearnley supported Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW). This was from the pilot stages of the NQSW Programme implemented by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) to 2015.

As a member of the Local Authority’s Social Work Professional Development Board Dr Fearnley was involved in social worker’s CPD at a strategic level. As a member of the Domestic Abuse Workforce Development Sub-Group he was involved in devising and implementing a training and development strategy.

Prior to his role in Workforce Development, Dr Fearnley worked as a social worker. He had previously worked in a Family Centre, a Children’s Residential setting and Youth Service.

Research areas

Dr Fearnley’s methodological approach to research is qualitative and participative incorporating ethnographic and narrative approaches. Within this he seeks to use methodologically innovative and creative approaches, which reflect contemporary society. It is his aim to be involved in research that generates debate, questions societal values and assumptions and which pursues reflexive and reciprocal knowledge with the aim of influencing professional practice and social policy.

Dr Fearnley’s research interests include children, young people and families, in addition to decision making in social work and social work education. This is reflected in the interdisciplinary nature of his work.


Fearnley, B., Farah, S., McNally, R. and Simpson, J. (2018) Supporting social work students with additional needs when on field placement, Journal of Practice Teaching & Learning, 15(3).

Fearnley. B. (2018) Contemporary young motherhood: experiences of hostility, Journal of Children's Services, 13(2): 64-78.

Fearnley, B. (2017) Contemporary Young Motherhood: Global Perspectives of Everyday Experiences, in N. Frost, and P. Dolan (Editors) The Routledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare, London: Routledge.

Moody, I. and Fearnley, B. (2012) Nursing and Health Child Protection: Survival Guide, Essex: Pearson Education Ltd.

Fearnley, B. (2004) Breaking the Mould or Meeting the Needs? Fathers’ use of Family Support Services, Practice, 16 (1): 53 – 61.

Conferences and Presentations

QAPL: Grappling with the challenges of ensuring supportive and quality placements for students, 12th International Conference on Practice Teaching and Field Education in Health and Social Work 'Innovation in Practice Learning and Field Education' Oxford: September 2018.