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Report launched into raising standards in social work education

Raising Standards in Social work education, 2008-09

Earlier this month the GSCC published Raising Standards: Social work education in England 2008-2009 , its annual report on the overall picture of social work education and training in England. The report shows that five years on from the introduction of the social work degree over 10,000 students have graduated. However, the report also reveals that only eight per cent of social workers are taking up post-qualifying (PQ) training courses, which once again raises concerns about opportunities employers provide for training and development of social workers.

Last year, the GSCC had urged employers not to cut training budgets for social workers in their efficiency drives. As identified by the Social Work Task Force, a robust and sustainable higher education institution (HEI) – employer partnership is integral to ongoing training of social workers.

Whilst there is still some way to go, the report shows more HEIs met the required standards in 2008-2009. The GSCC is strengthening its approach to inspecting HEIs that run social work degree and post-qualifying programmes to make it more rigorous and robust.

The report also showed that mature students and those from ethnic minority groups form a significant part of the student population. Male enrolments have seen their first small increase since the degree began but in general there is continued predominance of females taking up social work training. Concerns remain that the profession is still not attracting enough men.

The report emphasises the importanceof education and training in enabling high standards in social work and is available to .

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Of course continuing training is both laudable and essential. However, what needs to be recognised in today's climate is the push by local authorities to increase the numbers of unqualified staff in their work forces, a move driven by the current financial constraints. The term social work has been replacement by care management which by implication, means that it can be carried out by unqualified staff. In addition, the move toward the private purchasing of care, whilst desirable in most cases for the individual, further serves to call into question the continued need for higher qualified , higher paid staff except in the management sector.

Shelagh Woolmer
13 Mar 2010

Perhaps people lack motivation to complet PQ training as there isn't an increase in salary attached to the effort and time spent becoming specialist in their field. Also becase little time is given to support the number of hours required to successfully complete the PQ, therefore taking up a great deal of personal time. Just a suggestion.

Gail Lynch
12 Mar 2010

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