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Raise a concern about a course

We can investigate concerns about a course if there is evidence that the course is not meeting our standards.

Raise a concern about an approved course

Last updated: 8 February 2022

This page is for people who need to raise a concern about an approved course.

You may be a student or a graduate, a parent, a person involved in delivering a course, an employer, a placement provider, a practice educator, a social worker or a person with lived experience of social work.

What we investigate

We can investigate concerns about a course if there is evidence that the course is not meeting our education and training standards, such as concerns about:

  • admissions
  • learning environments
  • course governance, management and quality
  • curriculum and assessment
  • support for students
  • level of qualification

Please have a look at our education and training standards for more information. 

If your concern does not relate to how a course meets our standards, or if it’s not about an approved course, we will not be able to investigate.

Before you raise a concern with us

Some concerns cannot be investigated by us and are best dealt with by the education provider, for example:

  • academic appeals
  • disagreements with your employer
  • issues with a student social worker

We are not able make decisions about individual outcomes for the person raising the concern such as academic outcomes.

If you are a student, we recommend that you raise your concern with the education provider in the first instance. You should be able to find information about the education provider’s complaints policy and process on their website.

We cannot change the decision of local complaints or appeals processes. Our powers are limited to investigating whether or not a course meets our standards.

We also cannot investigate concerns about social work courses outside England.

If you need help deciding whether to raise a concern with us, you can contact us on [email protected].

Raise a concern about a course

To raise a concern about an approved course, please complete the form.

You may want to read the guidance on raising a concern about a course.

Raise a concern about a course

After you’ve raised a concern

Once we have received your concern, we will usually contact you within two working days to discuss next steps.

All concerns will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If we are not able to deal with your concern, we may be able to help you find other organisations that can help.

If we are able to investigate your concern, an officer will be assigned to your concern and will be your main point of contact throughout the process. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the process.

If we’re able to investigate

If we decide to investigate and are satisfied that we have all the evidence we need to continue, the officer will pass your concern to the education provider.

The education provider will then have 28 calendar days to respond.

At this stage, we will assign the inspectors.

Once we receive a response from the education provider, the inspectors and officer will review the information and evidence provided. They will discuss their findings and conclusions and then make a recommendation about your concern.

Normally, this will be done within 28 calendar days.

We will then give you and the education provider 10 working days to provide any comments on our recommendation. Your comments will be reviewed before we finalise our report.

After an investigation, we will make a decision based on the recommendation.

The recommendations will be to either take no further action or carry out an extraordinary inspection.

We will contact you and let you know what decision we have made and if we are going to take any further action.

Further information

We will keep in touch with you and ensure that you are updated throughout the process. If you have any questions, please contact us on [email protected].

Detailed guidance

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