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Diversity and progression among social work students. An explanatory study


To understand what factors may contribute to the different progression rates among social work students from black and minority ethnic groups, disabled students, and gay and lesbian students.


2007 - 2009 

Research team

Claudia Bernard (principal investigator), Anna Fairtlough, and Joan Fletcher (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Shereen Hussein and Jo Moriarty (SCWRU)


Department of Health, Social Care Workforce Research Initiative


The study aimed to identify successful approaches to meeting the needs of minority students on social work programmes in England; to describe the experiences of minority students, with a particular focus on helpful strategies developed by the students or their programmes; to provide detailed case studies of ten programmes with innovative or interesting approaches to the needs of minority students; and to obtain the views of a range of key individuals involved with these programmes. The Unit provided the research team with detailed analysis of GSCC data to inform the study.


The Unit has contributed to the project’s final report to the Department of Health (due 2011).


The qualitative findings obtained from this study build on findings obtained from statistical analyses of social work students’ progression records and have a number of policy implications. These relate to both the Higher Education Institutions’ learning environment and the practice learning environment. The report will be delivered to professional and training bodies.
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