Education Standards Review 2022

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

The Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) enable us to prescribe qualifications for social work in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

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

  • meets the principles under the Social Workers Registration Act and the scope of practice
  • enables graduates to meet professional standards for entry into the social work profession such as the Code of Conduct and the Ten Core Competencies.    

These Programme Recognition Standards 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 requirements of the pandemic response. Work on the review started late in 2021, and continues into 2022. 

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 (PRS) review will be 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 SWRB Chief Advisor Social Work Catherine Hughes is reponsible for overseeing the review, and reporting recommendations to the Board for their final deliberation and decision-making. She has appointed Kaiwhakahaere – Shirley Ikkala and Carole Adamson – representing tangata whenua and tangata tiriti to co-lead the work with the SWRB review team. Appointing kaiwhakahaere for the review strengthens our team for meeting our aspirations for sector engagement underpinned by He Arapaki. 

An advisory rōpu has been appointed for the PRS review. This rōpu  is made up of four tangata whenua and two tagata Pasifika social workers. 

A reference rōpu has also been 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 from the kaiwhakahaere – July 2022

“We’d like to give you an update on the progress of the Education Standards review. We remain incredibly grateful to everyone for participating in the engagement phase of the project. We have collated the emergent themes that have given a clear sense of the sector’s views on social work education and its relationship with both the communities it serves and with the SWRB. All up, engagement occurred within six wānanga, an NGO hui, three caucuses (Tangata Whenua, Tagata Pasifika and Tangata Tiriti), and hui with recent graduates, current students, and several individuals. We also received very thorough written feedback from many in the sector. All the way through, we have been supported and challenged by the Advisory Rōpū of tangata whenua and tagata pasifika leaders.   

“We are now in a phase of developing a first draft of the new standards. This has involved in-depth conversations within the SWRB to ensure that the development aligns with the legislation.   

“The process from here is the proposed standards will be presented to the Board for their feedback, and then we will be able to update the sector. We anticipate there is a further phase of engagement and consultation as we work through the elements that sit alongside the standards themselves in terms of implementation. In the meantime, we can give you an idea of the shape of the new standards that are proposed.   

“The new standards have always had a commitment to be Te Tiriti-informed, and guided by the pou of Rangatiratanga, Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga and Whanaungatanga. These have informed the shape of the new standards, which we are now terming Poutokomanawa: replacing the six previous standards and their sub-clauses, we are proposing three main standards – Co-governance-Rangatiratanga; The Student Journey-Manaakitanga; and Knowledges & Mātauranga Māori-Kaitiakitanga. Throughout these standards is woven the pou of Whanaungatanga, reflecting the strong message from the consultation that it is people and relationship that maintain the integrity of social work education.”   

Links to background documents and announcements

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 Kaiwhakaharea. 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

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