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Social Work England’s educational standards project prioritizes the contribution of people with lived experience of services

By on February 26, 2019 0

Photo: zinkevych / fotolia

Social work training providers should involve employers and those with lived experience of services throughout the student’s journey to ensure that practitioners are qualified for the job, proposed draft guidelines published by Social Work England.

The new education and skills training standards state that social work employers and those who have received services “are central to the design and delivery of social work training” and participate in admissions processes. .

The proposals are part of a consultation, which also covers professional standards and fitness-to-practice processes, by the regulator ahead of its takeover by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It is open until May 1st.

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The standards include a requirement for students to have at least one internship in a statutory setting, as part of the emphasis on training in academic and practical environments given the same importance.

They also require that programs include a senior social worker role to take overall professional responsibility.

Two-phase process

Social Work England’s plans for education and training are phased in two phases, recognizing that an immediate and comprehensive change in frameworks is likely to cause disruption.

Starting with the rebate, originally slated for this spring, but now likely to be later in 2019, the standards will make only minimal changes to the HCPCs. The more in-depth revisions, grouped around six new standards – including the learning environment, course governance, management and quality, and student support – are expected to come into effect from fall 2020. .

The fifth standard, curriculum and assessment, establishes that social work courses should be shaped by the needs and ideas of employers, practitioners, and those with lived experience of social work.

“This is to ensure an ever-evolving curriculum that matches the contemporary demands of the entire industry, is delivered by appropriately qualified and experienced professionals, and produces knowledgeable, capable, prepared and motivated graduates who provide safe services. and effective “, indicates the draft standard. .

To aid its plans, Social Work England has announced plans to appoint serving social workers as regional engagement officers. It is expected that they will work with education and training providers, local authorities and other parties to enforce the new standards.

“Important advice is involved”

Ray Jones, professor emeritus of social work at Kingston University, called Social Work England’s proposals sound and bodes well for the new regulator’s future and said engaging with employers was a positive step .

“Although the responsibility [for engagement] Much of the responsibility of education service providers, employers themselves are required to appropriately engage, live up to and fully engage in education and training, ”said Jones. “It will be particularly important that statutory agencies are involved due to the important and appropriate requirement that all interns have a statutory placement.”

He added that the requirement that all courses have a senior social worker was also an interesting decision which made an “important statement”, but which would need to be fleshed out by Social Work England.

“They will now have to paint a picture of what that role should be and how they want to see it done – more clarity is needed.”

“Positive developments”

Lee Pardy-McLaughlin, Coventry Council’s senior child social worker and chairman of the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership, said he welcomed the opportunity offered by the Social Work England consultation to shape the regulatory framework for professional standards and social work training.

Pardy-McLaughlin said he looked forward to Social Work England’s proposals leading to a new approach to regulation and standard setting for the profession, adding that there was already “great work” going on. in the higher education sector through social work education and employer partnerships. alliances.

“The announcement of professional leadership for social work at universities that offer social work education and research is a positive development and will build on professional leadership and the academic approach,” said Pardy-McLaughlin. “The [compulsory] the statutory placement will establish a clear mandate for universities and social work employers to continue working together to increase the range and supply of practical training learning opportunities for students in adult and child services .

Social Work England invites all interested parties to respond to the consultation – you can do so here.


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