Thames Valley Uni offers to host Reading social work degree

Reading University’s social work degree programme could be saved from closure thanks to an offer from a neighbouring institution to keep the courses going.

Thames Valley University is in advanced talks about moving the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to its campus in Crescent Road, Reading from 2011 onwards.

Last year, Reading University decided to close its school of health and social care from 2011 after an internal review questioned its “strategic importance” to the institution.

Many of the 171 social work students had lobbied against the closure and the final announcement in March 2009 sparked a wave of complaints from academics, local authorities, and politicians.

Pro-vice chancellor for teaching and learning at Reading University, Professor Rob Robson, confirmed this week that a plan was being drawn up to allow the “excellent” degree programmes to continue in Reading.

Under the proposal, academic staff providing the social work courses at Reading University would be transferred to Thames Valley University from September next year.

Ann Quinn, head of the school of health and social care at Reading University, told Community Care she was “delighted at the possibility of continuing social work education in Berkshire”.

“There has been a meeting with programme providers, local employers and service users and they have been very supportive,” she added. “We hope this will go ahead and we can start recruiting for an academic course at the start of 2011.”

Dr Ian Tunbridge, deputy vice-chancellor at Thames Valley University, said: “We are very pleased that we are close to agreement with University of Reading over this transfer. The social work students will join our expanded nursing courses in Reading to create a significant centre for health and social care degree courses.”

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