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Re-visioning social work education

An indepenent review

My first consideration when setting about undertaking this Review of social work education was that I was conscious that there had been an extensive series of examinations of social work in England, including from 2009 to 2012 the work of the Social Work Task Force and The Social Work Reform Board. Additionally, over the last 13 years there have been significant innovations in social work education, leading to the qualifying degree at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and to the opening up of additional postgraduate routes, frequently referred to as fast track routes, to professional qualification.

I was determined that this Review, if it was to have value, needed to be rooted in evidence and conducted with rigour, otherwise it could be accused of being impressionistic or ideologically-lead. My own background has included involvement in professional education in fields such as medical, health, social care, forensic science and business schools in both academic and vocational forms. Whilst my perspectives have been influenced by my understanding and experience of those fields, the capturing of the knowledge and views of social work educationalists, those with regulatory responsibilities, social work employers, social workers, social work students, and service users and their carers, means that my recommendations are rooted in the evidence such stakeholders have provided and my interpretation of such evidence.

During the compilation of the Review I have had the benefit of a great deal of involvement with the many contributors to, and participants in, social work, an opportunity which has confirmed me in my view that there is a very great deal of good practice and indeed some excellent practice in social work education. I have also found evidence of shortcomings which I have identified and for whose alleviation