If you weren't a social worker, would you train to be one now given the current levels of bursaries?
- No (70%, 436 Votes)
- I could only afford to do a fast-track course. (21%, 130 Votes)
- Yes (10%, 60 Votes)
Total Voters: 626
The real-terms value of social work bursaries in England has fallen by £1,000 to £1,500 per year because of a nine-year freeze.
As previously trailed by care minister Helen Whately, the government confirmed this week that bursaries – paid to university master’s students and second and third-year undergraduates – would remain at the level they have been since 2014, for the 2023-24 academic year.
This means that an undergraduate bursary for a student in London is worth £1,521.92 less than it was in 2014, while that for a postgraduate outside the capital has fallen by £972.44, according to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator.
|Bursary||2023-24 value||Inflation-adjusted value||Difference|
|Undergraduate – London||£5,262.50||£6,784.42||£1,521.92|
|Undergraduate – outside London||£4,862.50||£6,268.74||£1,406.24|
|Postgraduate – London||£3,762.50||£4,850.62||£1,088.12|
|Postgraduate – outside London||£3,362.50||£4,334.94||£972.44|
The cap on the number of bursaries in place since 2013 – 2,500 per year for undergraduates and 1,500 for postgraduates – will also remain in place, meaning some students will not receive financial support.
And universities’ funding for placements through the education support grant (ESG) will be frozen for a ninth successive year, at £20 per day for practice placements and £10 per day for skills development days.
The news comes with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and Social Workers Union (SWU) campaigning to increase bursary levels in England. The organisations are currently urging students and recent graduates to sign an open letter to education secretary Gillian Keegan and health secretary Steve Barclay, calling on them to improve financial support to social work students.
Alongside confirming bursary levels and ESG levels for this year, the Department of Health and Social Care has also set out how many bursaries have been allocated to each higher education institution for courses running in 2023-24.