COVID-19 Impact on Social Work Admissions and Education in Seven International Universities

Paula Mc Fadden, Eric Russ, Paul Blakeman, Gloria Kirwin, Janet Anand, Sanna Lehteinen, Gunn Astrid Baugerud, Pia Tham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Inter-country Social Work admissions and educational comparisons are difficult due to variance in policy and practices between Social Work educational providers, even within the same country. However, this paper aims to provide an examination of different levels of impact that COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ had on ‘admissions to social work’ processes and on education, using examples from universities in Australia, England, Finland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Ireland and Sweden. Already we know that across these examples, admission processes differ significantly. Variances are between selection and entry methodologies with some institutions using academic entry criteria and personal statements and interviews, while others use academic entry criteria and relevant experience or academic entry only. We also know that practicum duration is variable across providers, lasting between 75 and 200 days. Despite all differences, a distinct adjustment to lockdown required a shift to virtual teaching methods for each institution. This paper seeks to explore the range of approaches adopted to lockdown in relation to practice learning placements in each example. We consider the underpinning values and principles that guided responses to these change processes in the various institutions and longer-term implications emerging from the required rapid change processes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1163
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Social Work Education
Issue number8
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • Education
  • professional practice
  • training


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