Ministers confirm practice placements funding for 2012-13

Rumours of an 18% cut to the Social Work Education Support Grant are put to bed.

The Department of Health (DH) has quashed rumours of planned cuts to the Social Work Education Support Grant, setting the funding at £28m for the next academic year.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) claimed in December that ministers planned to slash the education grant, which helps employers and universities meet the costs of student placements, from the £28m paid out in 2011-12 to £23m .

BASW said it had been unofficially briefed on the proposals.

At the time, the DH was unable to confirm or deny the rumour; however, a spokesperson today said next year’s budget has been set at the same level as 2011-12.

“BASW first raised its concerns in December following information received that there was a serious threat to this vital funding,” said the association’s chief executive, Hilton Dawson. “The government’s response was that budgets had not been set, but there remained a real fear this funding was set to be cut.

“This apparent re-think hopefully shows that the government is listening to what social workers need at the present time.”

The College of Social Work recently carried out a consultation on behalf of the DH on how the education grant should be calculated and administered. It is not yet known whether ministers will publish the results.

Dawson said he hoped a separate consultation on the social work bursary would further highlight the importance of properly supporting students.

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