Many universities and colleges in England have made a “commendable” effort to improve their qualifying social work programmes in line with the Social Work Reform Board’s recommendations, according to a report published today.
The College of Social Work’s first annual report on its new endorsement scheme, which was set up to promote full adoption of the reform board’s recommendations for improving social work education, has revealed a strong commitment to improving standards.
To date, 55 qualifying social work programmes have been endorsed by the college.
In order to achieve this, they have re-written their social work curricula based on the Professional Capabilities Framework, improved their admissions criteria, looked at how to increase the meaningful participation of service users and carers and improved practice education.
“The amount of work that universities and colleges have put in, with their partners, is to be commended,” said Annie Hudson, chief executive of the college.
Some higher education institutions did not initially meet the criteria for endorsement, but agreed to do further work and/or provide more information.
By the end of the 2012/13 academic year, 28 visits had been undertaken and 20 universities and colleges had some or all of their social work courses endorsed. Since the end of the academic year, a further seven have had courses endorsed.
“The endorsement scheme is not just a measure of quality, but also a tool for improvement,” explained Hudson.
Professor Aidan Worsley, chair of the college’s endorsement panel, added: “Our endorsement scheme provides a quality kite mark for qualifying programmes. College endorsement indicates quality above the threshold standards required for Health and Care Professions Council approval.
“This is important news for prospective social work students, as they now have a quality benchmark for comparing qualifying programmes.
“Similarly, social work employers can use this benchmark to help ascertain which social work students have received thorough and high quality social work training.”