Review of degree in social work

The Review of Social Work Education (RSWE) will continue in 2017-18 with the SSSC leading work on a number of the recommendations from phase two.

As part of the RSWE we will:

  • revise, publish and implement an updated Framework and Standards in Social Work Education
  • explore graduate-level apprenticeships and other work-based routes into social work with the sector
  • develop a new Standard for Continuous Professional Learning for social service workers.

The following recommendations from phase two of the RSWE will need further work on implementation and funding implications so Scottish Ministers can consider them fully.

  • Development of a shared approach to social work professional learning.
  • Introduction of a mandatory, supported year for newly qualified social workers (NQSW).
  • Widening access to social work education.

A broad stakeholder group and partnership approach has guided the RSWE so far and this will continue with a new representative group that will act as a sounding board for the work. It will have representatives from:

  • SSSC
  • universities
  • Social Work Scotland
  • Scottish Association of Social Workers.

You can read the Summary report on the revision of the Standards in Social Work Education consultation on our website.

Phase two report and recommendations

A report outlining the progress of phase two and next steps of the review is available below.

Research and areas of inquiry

The review commissioned a range of work during phase two to help inform its recommendations. These are available below.


Areas of inquiry

  1. How can universities best select the right people for social work programmes?
  2. How can we maximise the impact of the collective experience of people who use social work services and their carers, in the design, development and delivery of social work programmes?
  3. To what extent should social work education have a stronger focus on community development and engagement?
  4. Is there a shared philosophy of learning across social work programmes and post qualifying learning?
  5. Should there be a core curriculum, if so, what should be in it?
  6. How much of the qualifying programme should be undertaken with students from other professional groups, and how can these opportunities be maximised?
  7. What new skills will social workers of the future need?
  8. What should practice learning look like?
  9. What are the key characteristics of effective university/employer partnerships?
  10. What role can social work qualifying education play in developing social workers as leaders of the profession?

Phase one 

A paper outlining the progress of phase one is available below.

Key sources of evidence considered to the end of phase one:

Find out more

For more information please contact Anne Tavendale at: