Journal Article

The Impact of Regulatory Fitness Requirements on Disabled Social Work Students

Chih Hoong Sin and Janice Fong

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 8, pages 1518-1539
Published in print December 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
The Impact of Regulatory Fitness Requirements on Disabled Social Work Students

Show Summary Details


The Disability Commission of Great Britain conducted a Formal Investigation into the impact of regulatory fitness requirements on disabled people in three public sector professions, including social work. This article reports on the types of fitness requirements that have an impact on disabled social work students, and how these are interpreted and implemented in practice. IN terms of the regulatory framework, there is a requirement for mental and physical fitness in England and Wales, but not in Scotland. These requirements appear more stringent for social work students than for qualified social workers. There is no explicit mention of the Disability Discrimination Act in the regulatory framework. Key stakeholder organisations find fitness requirements unclear and articulated the need for clearer guidance for practice purposes. Different challenges present at different stages of social work education and there is a variety of ad hoc management strategies leading to the potential for discrimination against disabled people.

Keywords: Disability; Anti-discriminatory practice; social work education; legislation

Journal Article.  8307 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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