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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-35226
Asked by: Alison Johnstone, Lothian, Scottish Green Party
Date lodged: 15 February 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what support is being provided to student social workers who are unable to obtain placements and whose qualification might be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 1 March 2021


Answer

Students studying a course of Higher Education (HE) who require to repeat a full year of study are able to access an additional year of funding known as a ‘+1’. Care Experienced students studying in HE are able to access two additional years of funding. HE students who have exhausted their funding options and require to repeat a year of studies due to Covid-19 will have their requests considered under compassionate grounds by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). This includes undergraduate social work students.

We are actively considering the issue of part-year repeat or extended study as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic for all Further and Higher education students and the associated financial support to students.

The Scottish Government is also working with the Social Work Education Partnership to ensure that there are sufficient social work student placements for our future workforce. The Social Work Education Partnership comprises HEIs’, employers, COSLA and stakeholder organisations and works to ensure the quality and consistency of practice learning. It has been working closely with all HEIs to find solutions to the placement issues caused by Covid-19 and a number of measures are already in place including the prioritisation of the provision of final placements, the piloting of a simulated placement module for first placements and the roll out of national Link Worker training.

We have also provided £430k at a national level for a resumption of placement fee to HEIs which will help employers with the costs that may be incurred in providing a placements which now involves increased homeworking (to assist with IT costs or additional training for practice educators).