Training for social workers should be made more rigorous, a new report has claimed.
According to Making the education of social workers consistently effective, while some college courses are excellent, others have low entry requirements and provide inadequate training for children’s social work.
The report also highlights the lack of consistent guidance on course contents, with no single defined curriculum for children’s social work training yet available.
As a result, newly qualified social workers are sometimes poorly prepared for their new careers and employers may lack confidence in their skills.
The report makes 18 recommendations. These include a single definition of training requirements and the auditing of university and college courses to ensure that only properly qualified, quality candidates obtain places.
Making the education of social workers consistently effective was commissioned by Education Secretary Michael Gove from special advisor and former civil servant Sir Martin Narey. He was asked to study the effectiveness of recent government investment in social work training.
“Many higher education institutions recruit the very best candidates and maintain the highest academic and training standards when preparing children’s social workers. But standards are variable and many employers, and some academics, are concerned about graduates sometimes inadequately prepared for the challenge of children’s social work. There is too little clarity on what a children’s social worker should know at graduation – that needs to change, quickly – and there is a question mark over the entry calibre of too many students. We need greater assurance about both the academic standards and the quality of work experience at different universities.”
“Children’s social work is a massively demanding occupation. I believe that my recommendations, if implemented, will allow the public to have far greater confidence in new entrants to the profession. Vulnerable and neglected children deserve nothing less.”