The executive of the University & College Union representing over 90,000 academics & educators in the UK unanimously passed the following motion at its June meeting:
Academics and educators from many disciplines offered their support to SWAN at the end of the executive and the mood was best expressed by those who said Social Work and SWAN are clearly at the heart of the current fight for academic freedom and progressive politics, and wished this to be passed to the Social Work Action Network.
The University & College Union :
1. Condemns the proposals to imprison Social Workers working in child protection for wilful neglect on criteria as vague as “showing a lack of imagination” and says these proposals have no place in a democratic modern state and will massively damage services to vulnerable children.
2. Calls for the normal academic freedom to debate and design curricula within a profession to be respected and condemns suggestions in recent Government reports that funding should be cut to courses which include Marxist or other critical theory approaches to understanding the social problems graduates will have to deal with.
3. Rejects the neoconservative & elitist approach offered by the Frontline program based at the University of Bedfordshire and calls on social work academics to consider if the values of this program are compatible with their involvement with it as educators, examiners or in any visiting capacity.
4. Calls for the standards required to qualify graduates in Social Work to remain with the accepted associations of social work educators and not be moved to a neoconservative group of private companies and deplores the related closure of the independent College of Social Work .
5. The Higher Education Committee associates itself with the invaluable work undertaken by the progressive Social Work Action Network in rejecting governmental political interference in Social Work education and calling for a progressive and social justice based approach to the invaluable work Social Workers undertake in society