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Impact of Scottish vocational qualifications on residential child care : have they fulfilled the promise?

Heron, Gavin and Chakrabarti, Mono, University of Strathclyde (2002) Impact of Scottish vocational qualifications on residential child care : have they fulfilled the promise? Social Work Education, 21 (2). pp. 183-197. ISSN 0261-5479

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Abstract

This article will present findings from a doctoral study exploring the impact of 'SVQ Care: Promoting Independence (level III)' within children's homes. The study focuses on the extent to which SVQs enhance practice and their function within a 'learning society'. A total of 30 staff were selected from seven children's homes in two different local authority social work departments in Scotland. Each member of staff was interviewed on four separate occasions over a period of 9 months. Interviews were structured using a combination of repertory grids and questions. Particular focus was given to the assessment process, the extent to which SVQs enhance practice and the learning experiences of staff. The findings suggest that there are considerable deficiencies both in terms of the SVQ format and the way in which children's homes are structured for the assessment of competence. Rather than address the history of failure within residential care, it appears that SVQs have enabled the status quo to be maintained whilst creating an 'illusion' of change within a learning society.