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Regulator sets out new standards for teaching social workers of tomorrow

Social Work England has launched a new set of education and training standards to ensure that the social workers of tomorrow have the skills to give the very best support to the public.

Regulator sets out new standards for teaching social workers of tomorrow

9/6/2021 9:00:14 AM

Social Work England has launched a new set of education and training standards to ensure that the social workers of tomorrow have the skills to give the very best support to the public.

Over 80 education providers teaching social work in England must meet the new standards set out by the public body which regulates the profession. Students on almost 300 social work courses, ranging from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to apprenticeships and fast-track courses will be affected by the improvements.

The new standards are designed to ensure student social workers meet the professional standards they need to be able to apply for registration with Social Work England. Their launch reflects Social Work England’s commitment to improving the quality and consistency of social work education by working in partnership with education providers, students, social workers and people with lived experience of social work.

What’s changed?

  • People with lived experience of social work now have more involvement in the design and delivery of courses.
  • Students must complete 200 days on practice placements. There was no set number of days previously.
  • Strengthened requirements for admissions. This includes the involvement of people with lived experience and employers in the admissions process. It also includes a focus on holistic and multi-dimensional admissions processes.
  • More emphasis on student support. There’s a whole new standard (standard 5) which focuses on student support. Providers must give social work students effective educational and pastoral support to progress through their course and meet the professional standards when they qualify.

Philip Hallam, executive director of registration, quality assurance and legal said:

“I think everyone has recognised that new standards were essential, because of the changes in social work and higher education over the past few years, as well as our new regulatory regime. We have tried to make their implementation as smooth as possible, for example by postponing their introduction in light of the pandemic.
Providers told us that one size doesn’t fit all, so we’ve shaped the standards for the diverse range of social work courses which we approve. Our priority is making sure the standards are embedded in practice and used innovatively by course providers so that the people who are supported by on social workers are at the heart of the standards.”

You can view the new standards, along with comprehensive guidance and a blog from Phil.

The regulator has a dedicated team which supports education providers through the approval process and can answer any questions about the new standards. Please contact the education quality assurance team at [email protected].

Ends/

For more information please contact:

Catherine Elphee, External Relations Officer 

Hayley Richardson-Roberts, External Relations Manager

Notes to editors:

Social Work England is a specialist body taking a new approach to regulating social workers in their vital roles. We believe in the power of collaboration and share a common goal with those we regulate—to protect the public, enable positive change and ultimately improve people’s lives. 

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