An evaluation of the role of flexible methods of programme delivery in social work education in widening access to professional qualification

Franklin, P. (2014) An evaluation of the role of flexible methods of programme delivery in social work education in widening access to professional qualification. Ed.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

This research evaluates the role of flexible methods of delivering social work education in widening access to professional qualification. It examines:
• The personal profiles of applicants on flexible/part-time social work programmes and compares these with those of full-time students
• Whether opportunities for flexible study increase the diversity of applicants to pre-registration Masters level programmes
• The kinds of flexibility that increase the diversity of applicants to pre-registration social work programmes

The research method is informed by reflexivity, incorporating all aspects of knowledge and experience providing depth to interpretation of data.

Data on 162 social work students registered on a postgraduate pre-registration programme was collected over four years and examined using a sequential exploratory research design. Data was collected from three main sources: HEI cohort statistics, questionnaires and individual interviews with eight selected students.

Findings suggest: Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students enter social work education through social care for career progression in the absence of alternative employment; knowledgeable and experienced practitioners study for qualifications that allow them to continue in their role; opportunity, rather than planning, facilitates access to study; and values promoted within social work education conflict with those experienced in the workplace.

Limited diversity was identified within students on the flexible route associated with age, personal situation, disability and distance from the HEI. These students represented two distinct groups, polarised in terms of experience, knowledge and aspirations. Trends and patterns were identified across and within the whole student group: BME students were multiply-disadvantaged, travelling further, earning less, and facing limited opportunity; and numbers of younger, White students were increasing. Findings indicate a need to broaden notions of flexibility in programme structure and delivery. Recommendations include using a modular approach; delivery methods that facilitate local study; and establishing a “whole-career” approach to social work education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0040 Social service. Social work. Charity
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2015 13:31
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 10:20
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13510

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00