Royal Holloway has suspended its undergraduate degree course in 2009-10 following a General Social Care Council inspection.
A GSCC spokesperson said inspectors visited Royal Holloway’s Surrey campus last summer after the regulator received complaints from 12 students.
The students’ concerns centred on the lack of resources for the degree and internal complaints, appeals and whistleblowing procedures.
Not instructed to suspend course
The university agreed to implement an action plan, to be reviewed this month by the GSCC. Though it was not instructed to suspend the course by the GSCC, it opted to defer the intake for its BSc social work course for one year.
Anna Gupta, senior lecturer in social work at the university, said this would allow for an internal restructuring of departments and for the curriculum to be updated in line with the recommendations of the Social Work Taskforce, due in the autumn.
Social work training has moved back under the spotlight after the GSCC announced it was reviewing its own powers to regulate universities in its annual report on social work education in 2007-8, published last month.
Formal approval only every five years
Under current arrangements, degree courses in England are monitored by the GSCC annually, but only formally approved every five years. Approval decisions are made by desk-based assessments although inspectors may visit to investigate specific concerns.
The GSCC report found 70% of courses in England were given conditions for re-approval in 2007-8 due to issues such as practice placements, admissions procedures, and staffing resources. However, three-quarters of providers were judged to be offering “well-run courses, managing resources satisfactorily”.
Brunel University in London was the only degree provider to fail to win approval in 2007-8, and cancelled its BA social work course in September for one year. The report said this was due to concerns about the resources allocated to practice placements and partnerships with employers.
Discuss social work education issues on the student section of our CareSpace discussion forum