Education Standards Review 2022-23

All social work programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand must meet the SWRB Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) to continue to deliver prescribed social work qualifications.  

The Social Workers Registration Act (2003) enables the SWRB to set standards for social work education in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

The Board uses PRS to ensure education providers deliver a social work degree that: 

  • delivers on the purpose of the Social Workers Registration Act (2003) and reflects the content of the General Scope of Social Work Practice
  • enables graduates to meet professional standards for entry into the social work profession such as fitness to practice requirements, the Code of Conduct and the Ten Core Competencies.    

These PRS are reviewed regularly (every four years) to ensure they remain fit for purpose. This current review process was originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the impact of the pandemic. Work on the review started late in 2021, and has continued throughout 2022 and into 2023. 

We are now (since June 2022), calling this work the Education Standards Review as the language around programme recognition evolves.  

He Arapaki – Our approach for the review

Sector engagement and consultation for the education standards (PRS) review is being undertaken within a Te Tiriti o Waitangi framework and representing our value of mahitahi – the principle of partnership. 

We are committed to a process which is underpinned by He Arapaki, the SWRB Māori Development Strategy and Action Plan. He Arapaki is informed by our whakataukī – He Ara Pūkenga, He Ara Tauwhiro, Hei Whakamana Mātā Waka – and its core values of Matatika, Manaaki, Mahitahi and Māia. 

The first phase of the review, which included significant sector engagement, was overseen by the SWRB’s Chief Advisor Social Work. Kaiwhakahaere were appointed representing tangata whenua and tangata tiriti to co-lead the work with the SWRB review team.  An advisory rōpu was appointed for the review. This rōpu  is made up of four tangata whenua and two tagata Pasifika social workers. A reference rōpu was also established with its members reflecting Aotearoa’s diversity. 

Kōrero throughout the review

The review has drawn on themes emerging from six wānanga, a number of other hui and from direct contributions from the sector.

The wānanga were based around the existing six standards of governance, curriculum, field education, admission criteria, professional and stakeholder collaboration, and staffing resources. Although the six existing standards were a starting point for the review, these may change for the future standards. 

Three caucus hui were also held for tangata whenua, tangata tiriti and tagata Pasifika. 

The SWRB was partnered by the Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) to provide an on-line hui to hear specifically from the Iwi and community sector.

Update – July 2023

Ngā mihi to those of you who have engaged with our education standards review and commented on our draft education standards. The draft standards were circulated to those who had been involved in the review to date as part of a discussion document.

We invited recipients of the document to complete an online survey about the draft standards. Most responses affirmed that the draft standards captured the essence of the themes from last year’s engagement wānanga and hui, and that they better integrate Mātauranga Māori and other bodies of knowledge into the curriculum.

We thank everyone for their contributions. We are grateful for the carefully considered and detailed comments from individuals and organisations. This shows us where we need to provide greater clarity and tweak some of our wording. Some comments related to monitoring and so will be considered in the next phase of the work. We expect to come back to the wider sector for consultation on the standards later in the year.

Update – May 2023

Draft education standards have now been made available to those who engaged with last year’s sector engagement for the review (that we had the contact details for). The following discussion document was sent earlier this month. It includes context for the draft standards, the narrative which frames them and the draft education standards themselves.

Discussion Document Draft Education Standards for sector feedback

For reference, here are links to information and posts relating to the review. The process for the review evolved during its planning and following the appointment of the Kaiwhakahaere. Therefore some of the earlier news posts refer to aspects of review that were then adapted as it progressed.

Wānanga kaupapa tuko iho/ key resource documents

Wānanga additional feedback

Wānanga 1 - Governance

Wānanga 2 - Curriculum

Wānanga 3 - Field Education

Wānanga 4 - Admission Criteria

Wānanga 5 - Professional and Stakeholder collaboration

Wānanga 6 - Staff resources

Additional background

PRS Review - Kōrero tuku iho document

July 2022

Update from the Kaiwhakahaere - July 2022

March 2022

Wānanga for the Programme Recognition Standards Review

February 2022

Kaiwhakahaere for the Programme Recognition Standards review have been appointed

Pacific facilitators wanted for PRS review

January 2022

Programme Recognition Standards review – various roles available

Tangata whenua co-leader for Programme Recognition Standards review