The University of Liverpool has scrapped its new undergraduate
social work degree course because of a lack of funds.
The decision, taken less than six months before the course was due
to start and at a time when the sector is in desperate need of more
qualified social workers, could leave 29 students who had been
offered provisional places unable to find alternative courses this
The problem arose when the Higher Education Funding Council for
England decided not to offer funding because the university had
initially applied to run a two-year foundation degree course then
changed it to the new degree.
A University of Liverpool spokesperson said the funding council’s
decision had left it with “no alternative” but to withdraw the
course because “we cannot register students on a programme that
would be underfunded”.
The spokesperson added that the course had always been cited as
provisional in its prospectus, pending confirmation of funding. It
has advised students and offered further help through its
But a funding council spokesperson said it was “disingenuous” to
blame the council, adding that it did not have “a blank cheque to
respond to every institution’s requirements”.
One of the affected students, Simon Lacey, said he had only been
told of the situation when he phoned the university’s social work
department last week and had still received no letter of
confirmation. He said he had been left devastated by the news as he
had been unable to gain a place from other universities.
“I don’t seem to have any options open to me now. They should have
sorted this out before interviews were carried out,” he said.
Neighbouring Liverpool John Moores University, which is also
running a social work undergraduate course, might be able to offer
places to some of the students.
John Mayhew, social work programme leader at John Moores, said the
students’ applications would be viewed “as sympathetically as