Social work education: A (hi-)story in two halves

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Social work education is again under scrutiny. In Scotland, the Scottish Social ServicesCouncil (SSSC) recently completed a review with recommendations now sitting with theScottish Government for action (SSSC, 2016). In England, social work education is undergoingsubstantial reform and is the site of fierce political and professional debate. Two recentreviews, commissioned by different government departments, produced starkly differentconclusions regarding the health of social work education and recommended ways forward(Croisdale-Appleby, 2014; Narey, 2014). Meanwhile, the UK Government has investedheavily and rapidly in ‘fast-track’ and specialist models of learning that increasingly set socialwork education in England apart from its UK and European counterparts (Cooper et al., 2016).At the same time, across the UK, we are witnessing the closure of some of social work’s mostestablished education and research sites, as social work as an academic discipline becomesincreasingly vulnerable in the new global market of higher education.Set against this rapidly shifting backdrop, this chapter invites us to read present-day socialwork education in Scotland within the story of its past. In doing so, it becomes clear that socialwork education has always operated ‘in the crossroads’, that is, in the spaces betweencompeting and often conflicting perspectives and ideologies regarding the ‘what’, ‘why’,‘how’, and ‘who’ of social service and social change. I will explore the implications of thisfor social work education and the profession it serves. The chapter concludes that we need tocontinue to develop and defend a critical, progressive and value-based approach to socialwork education and practice, a process and outcome that require a more collective educationalpractice than is currently in evidence.The breadth of issues pertinent to social work education in Scotland are vast and beyond thescope of a single chapter. This chapter thus provides a historic reading of social workeducation, taking as its dividing line Scottish devolution in 1998. It begins by providing a shorthistory of social work education in Scotland which evolved, until 2001, within an integratedUK frame. From here, it tells the story of social work education’s present, attending toSocial Work in a Changing Scotland, edited by Viviene E. Cree, and Mark Smith, Routledge, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, from dundee on 2020-01-09 02:44:02.Copyright © 2018. Routledge. All rights reserved.
    developments arising from devolution, globalisation and public sector reform. The chapterconcludes by considering the key questions raised, chiefly: how to educate for a professionpositioned perpetually at the crossroads?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSocial Work in a Changing Scotland
    EditorsViviene E. Cree, Mark Smith
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)9781138295025
    ISBN (Print)9781138295032
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Publication series

    NameStudent Social Work


    • Social work
    • Scotland


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