Deputy children’s commissioner for England Sue Berelowitz has called for entry requirements to the social work degree to be significantly raised even at the expense of graduate numbers.
She told the children, schools and families select committee that producing high-quality assessments and court reports demanded academic rigour and intellectual capacity.
Attracting a higher calibre of entrants was necessary to raise the profession’s standing, she said.
“We need to stop at some point, have a smaller cohort coming through, and say ‘no more’. It is not just about numbers; we really need to raise the standards and the standing.”
Junior children’s minister Baroness Morgan also gave evidence to the committee as part of its ongoing inquiry into the training of children’s social workers.
She said she had been “troubled” by the current entry levels for social work courses, which, on average, are lower than for teaching or nursing degrees.
Enid Hendry, director of training, consultancy and safeguarding information services at the NSPCC, said her organisation had developed training programmes for graduate social workers to address a consistent lack of assessment, analytical and communication skills in recruits.
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