Placement debacle forces university to cut intake

Brunel University has cut the number of students on its social work degree because of problems finding practice placements. The move comes as concerns emerge about the supply of placements in urban councils.

The west London university will take about 45 students this year, down from 65.

They say there is a “huge struggle” to ensure students are allocated a placement in statutory social work, as is required, in London and other cities, and that some councils have failed to prioritise practice learning.

Recently, Community Care published an open letter to children’s secretary Ed Balls and care services minister Ivan Lewis about placement supply from London South Bank University social work professor Keith Popple and social work education consultant Jan O’Hara.

The letter calls for more and ring-fenced investment from government, and urges Balls and Lewis to chair a meeting with stakeholders on the issue.

It says: “If local authorities and the Department of Health want more social workers working in the more difficult statutory sector of social work then they will need to give more funding to make it happen.”

Each degree student must do a minimum of 200 days’ practice learning, up from 120 for the Diploma in Social Work.

Full text of the letter
Are students a cost or an investment
 Have you had bad experiences with practice placements? Contact: Sally Gillen

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