New cash to boost practice learning announced

Health minister Jacqui Smith has announced £7 million of
extra funding this year to cover the costs of increasing practice
learning days from 130 to 200 a year for students doing the new
social work degree, writes Derren

Smith said it will ensure “the government contributes to
100 per cent of practice learning days, with local authorities now
being eligible to receive a contribution”. Currently, the
government only funds 50 per cent of placements.

The minister also promised “significant increases”
in funding in 2004-05 and 2005-06 for practice learning.

The funding builds on plans to set up 50 resource centres across
the country to offer practice learning support for social work

The centres will provide first year social work students with
e-learning skills, and a central point of access for best practice
information and working techniques.

Initially to be piloted in 10 sites, it is hoped the network of
centres will have scope to develop regional support networks.

The government will use £1 million of the £25 million
national training strategy grant to set up the centres.

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