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Timeline :: Glasgow School of Social Study and Training begins


The Glasgow School of Social Study and Training was established in 1912 under an independent committee but closely associated with the University; the school was not formally transferred to the University of Glasgow until 1943.

The school’s history is to be found in Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, which was set up in 1883 through the incorporation of the Glasgow Association for the Higher Education of Women; the Association had been formed in 1877 to offer educational opportunities for women. The college subsequently merged with the University of Glasgow in 1892, following the Scottish Universities Commissioners Ordinance empowering Scottish universities to make provision for the instruction and graduation of women.

In 1897, the Queen Margaret College Settlement Association was founded by female graduates of Glasgow University to ‘promote the welfare of the poor people, chiefly of the women and children’; it opened its first residential building in 1901 in the Anderston district of the city.

From 1902, the first training courses in social work were initiated - a series of conferences and lectures was delivered by a Joint Conference Committee (made up of Queen Margaret Settlement, Glasgow Union of Women Workers and the Charity Organisation Society, joined in 1909 by the Scottish Christian Social Union and Glasgow University Student Settlement).

The JCC lectures were, from 1908, given under the auspices of Glasgow University. A certificate in social work was awarded in 1911 and at the same time, a two-year diploma course was introduced; in February 1912, Glasgow School of Social Study and Training was founded. As stated on its first syllabus, the school aimed 'at carrying on permanently the work hitherto done experimentally by the joint Conference Committee’. Courses were held at Glasgow University and given by University staff and guest lecturers.

Teaching consisted of three terms of 10 weeks each and a recognised amount of practical work. It aimed at providing ‘a useful training for workers and others engaged in Civic and Poor Law administration, Clergy and Church workers, members of Trade Unions, Friendly Societies etc.' Practical training included: ‘visiting and investigating cases requiring assistance, the use of case-papers, keeping records etc., Collecting Savings Banks, Club work, Health Visiting, Visits to institutions and other brances of work' and was mainly carried out at Queen Margaret Settlement. In the first year (1911-12), 30 students attended courses of lecturers and 19 entered the first Diploma course.

From 1926, a special course of instruction for nurses preparing for her Health Visitors’ Probation Certificate was offered. In 1943, the school was transferred to the University of Glasgow.

In 1977, Virginia Satir, an American social worker and pioneer of family therapy, delivered the opening lecture of the first Family Therapy Conference held by the Department of Social Administration and Social Work, University of Glasgow on 21st October. This was badged as the Marjorie Brown Memorial Lecture (Marjorie Brown had been the Edinburgh Head of Social Work who had died in 1964).

Social work at Glasgow University came together with Strathclyde University in 2003  to form the Glasgow School of Social Work, with the former offering postgraduate social work education and the latter, undergraduate education. In 2008, Glasgow took the decision to withdraw from social work education; today social work training is still offered at Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian universities and the University of West of Scotland in Paisley.

Source: SST, School of social Study and Training, no date, The University of Glasgow, and Macadam 1945, p.23.