BASW conference hears call for social work lecturers to remain in practice

Lecturers in social work should be required to remain in practice, a former deputy director of children and young people’s services told a BASW conference on the Munro reform agenda.
Steve Goodman, one of the architects of the Reclaiming Social Work model developed in in Hackney told the 500 social workers who gathered for the one day event in London: “I would follow the medical model. Why do we have lecturers who no longer practice? All teachers at university should be practising.”
He added: “Students spend a day learning about a particular theory when they should be spending weeks and weeks understanding theory and methods. We need a big shift in the training of social workers.”
Mr Goodman, an associate of social enterprise Morning Lane Associates, which advises councils across the country on how to implement the Hackney model in children’s services, went on to say that there should be fewer, high-quality social work students and the social work degree should be five years instead of three.
Addressing the conference, The Munro Review and the Future of Child Protection, he added that social work was a job that required “high-intellect and refined interpersonal skills” but that there were people practising who did not have the right abilities to be good practitioners. “I’m afraid up and down the country that’s not the case [that social workers have the right skills] at the moment and those people need to move on to another job,” he said.
Later, Isabelle Trowler, also of Morning Lane Associates and another former Hackney director, she was assistant director of children’s social care, said: “The supply and demand of social work students is completely out of sync. Universities are training too may social workers for the jobs out there.”
Ms Trowler was recently seconded to the Department for Education as an advisor to the Munro Independent Review of Child Protection.