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Social work students call on Labour to make bursary reforms a priority in manifesto

STUDENTS on social work courses are calling on Labour to make reforming bursaries in England a priority for their general election manifesto.

Bursaries for social work students in England are currently distributed unequally and only around one in six students benefit from them as they are limited in number, analysis of government data shows.

The funding for current bursaries has been frozen for over eight years, resulting in a real-terms cut in support for many students.

In a joint letter to shadow cabinet MPs on behalf of students today, the British Association of Social Workers and the Social Workers Union argued that if the current government is not prepared to act on the issues students have raised, Labour must.

One of the students involved in the campaign, Sarah Harrison, said: “I was fortunate that I was accepted on the ‘Step Up To Social Work’ programme, which comes with a bursary.

“However, the year I applied there were over 4,000 applications and there were just 66 spaces.

“There’s no way I would have studied had it not been for this programme as I could not have the uncertainty of income for my family.”

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