Discretion or prescription? Exploring confidence in qualifying social work education

Taylor, Imogen (2015) Discretion or prescription? Exploring confidence in qualifying social work education. British Journal of Social Work, 45 (2). pp. 493-510. ISSN 0045-3102

Full text not available from this repository.


In England and the USA, social work education is undergoing major change with the aim of improving the transparency, accountability and quality of social work practice. To achieve change in England, the Social Work Task Force and subsequent Social Work Reform Board, established to review the profession, addressed curricula inputs to the qualifying social work degree. This author used thematic template analysis to review two sets of evidence: government policy documents designed to support the reform process; and findings from synthesised Knowledge Reviews commissioned by the Social Care Institute for Excellence into how government curricula requirements were applied following introduction of the new social work degree in England. Synthesis of these policy and practice knowledges allows insights from the Knowledge Reviews to hold up a critical lens to policy reform. The argument is made that curricula prescription does not result in consistency, and increased prescription risks unintended consequences, in particular the erosion of professional judgement and undermining of professional confidence. Ways forward are proposed which include: social work taking the lead in social work education; programme partnerships containing the competing views of stakeholders; and stakeholders refocusing from a preoccupation with inputs to prioritising outcomes of social work education.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social work education, prescribed curriculum, confidence, outcomes
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity organization and practice Including social case work, private and public relief, institutional care, rural social work, work relief
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0980 Types of education > LC1051 Professional education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pascale Fanning-Tichborne
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2013 08:14
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2015 11:39
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/43158
📧 Request an update