The University of Northampton – Book Review Club

This is a new project that will be launched on 2 November 2006, aimed at bringing together social work practitioners in children’s services and academics to review new and earlier literature on the subject of children.

The idea came about from work with students undertaking the MA Child Care Studies and the Post-Qualifying Child Care Award. During the teaching, students from social work and health said of the course that it had provided them with the opportunity to access up-to-date literature which they had used in practice.

Not that they did not have access to current literature in practice, I hasten to add. Simply, that they enjoyed the opportunity of being introduced to new literature and exploring earlier works on the subjects of children their parents, families and carers in the fields of social care and health without having to go looking for this during their busy professional lives as Social Workers and Health Visitors.

As a group they were committed to keeping up-to-date with new ideas, theories and issues but all of them said that they found this increasingly difficult to do in a pressurised climate of meeting targets and performance indicators. At the end of a very long day they said they either wanted to sleep or be entertained and wanted nothing to do with anything that was work related. 

As a result of these discussions an idea was birthed and this was to bring together those students who had now completed their studies and who may be wondering what to do with all their spare time to review the current literature around children, their parents, families and carers.

The plan is to have an open group that meets once a month in the evenings at the University of Northampton where there will be an opportunity to look at new books on a wide variety of subjects linked to the area of Children and Families. As part of the plan, I and my colleague Angie Bartoli, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, hope to encourage practitioners to write some reviews for the Children Webmag. I feel confident that, with the aid of refreshments and a very relaxed environment, there will be lots of discussion, debate and laughter – and hopefully a book review, or two or three.

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