Social work education in Europe: a retrospective view

Lyons, Karen (2018) Social work education in Europe: a retrospective view. Practice: Social Work in Action, 31 (1). pp. 5-19. ISSN 0950-3153


The Introduction of European Funding in the 1980s played an important part in the establishment of networks contributing to the learning opportunities of social work students in the latter part of the 20th century and more recently. While the number of British school participating were in the minority, membership of networks contributed to the growth in knowledge about European frameworks and comparative social work and professional education. This has subsequently become formalised through edited comparative texts and research projects. Use of the term 'social professionals' highlights both the central importance of 'the social ' and the diversity of educational and professional awards and occupational groups engaged in this broad field The experience of networks introduced staff and students alike to different ways of thinking about the role of the state and the family and of organising work in relation to a range of often similar social problems. British participation was sometimes hindered by language limitations, but European experience introduced new vocabulary such as subsidiarity. social pedagogy and social exclusion. It has also served to illustrate the narrowing of British social work; the high degree of regulation and the dichotomy between education and training evident in the UK.

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