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BASW: IoP putting profit before best practice

BASW has debunked the Institute of Psychiatry’s (IoP) explanation of its decision to scrap the MSc Mental Health Social Work, accusing the Institute of putting profit before good practice.

When BASW contacted the IoP for an explanation, it defended the decision to close the course to new entrants by citing lecturer Dr Martin Webber’s departure, coupled with poor student recruitment to the MSc.

Commenting on the closure, BASW professional officer Joe Godden said: “The IoP’s explanation for the demise of the course simply does not ring true. The MSc was greatly valued by students, and the course had consistently recruited well over the last few years.

“BASW is of the opinion that the real reason that the course was stopped was that the university are going to be running a Masters degree in global mental health, not aimed at social workers, which would potentially recruit from the lucrative foreign student market. A similar action has been taken by the University of Southampton, which replaced its highly rated and popular Masters degree in social work degree with a research degree focussed on the international student market.

“The IoP MSc offered a unique blend of teaching in research, and the application of research to practice, which is just what social work needs. The demise of the course is of great concern.

“As with the ending of the Southampton course, the decision to close the course seems to have been taken without adequate consultation with the sector, and although the Deans have not officially breached consultation processes, these announcements have had the air of rubber stamping decision made by those holding the purse strings, who are not acting in the wider interest of social work or society.

“Yes universities cannot run loss making courses, but to axe courses that are viable, and that serve the community and social work well, for the prospect of running something that may make more money, seems to go against best practice”.