In an article in yesterday's Evening Post there are plans to close Readings School of Health and Social Care. The school could close in 2011 as a money-saving measure following a review by Reading University. The university came under fierce criticism in November when it closed its physics department.
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To close this department at the current time would be both short-sighted, with economic gloom on the horizon we will need social services more than ever.
This news is a further blow following recent inspections which highlighted genuine concerns about the quality of services the Labour-run Council provides for vulnerable children and the elderly in Reading.
The Chief Executive of Reading Borough Council Council admitted recently that the Council is having real difficulty recruiting social workers to work for RBC and as such it has been flagged as a major concern on the Council's corporate 'risk register.'
Michelle Humphries said: “I chose this university as I am a mother-of-three living and working in the Reading area. “I have worked in the social care field for 17 years. It would not have been possible for me to study anywhere else as I needed to be able to balance my work/home/ study time so that nothing was sacrificed. Closing the School of Health and Social Care will deny lots of other mature students like me the chance to go to uni.”
The problem goes wider than Reading, however. Nationally we are told that around 'two in three councils are struggling' to recruit and retain social workers.
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