A year in Society & Health


Date: 28th Sep 2016

As hundreds of students graduate this week and we congratulate them as they begin their new journeys, it's a time to reflect on the past twelve months. The faculty of Society & Health has had a successful year in which there has been a clear focus on the delivery of excellent teaching for our students in programmes including nursing, social work, operating department practice, community health, education & social sciences, advanced health science, sports therapy and psychology.

I was delighted to see our efforts recognised when the University won the Teaching Excellence category at this year's Guardian University Awards for its innovative simulation to enhance nursing and health students' learning. We are the only UK university to combine state-of-the-art simulation laboratories with the expertise of a moulage specialist who is skilled in applying mock, and often gorily realistic, injuries for training purposes. We were very proud to win this prestigious award for teaching excellence which is testament to the way our students and academics are partners in learning across all courses at Bucks, working together to create an environment which provides the best opportunities for success.

The University also won Partnership of the Year at the Student Nursing Times Awards for an initiative which supports the recruitment and training of its student nurses and social workers. The University works with the Independent Voices charity to encourage local service users and their carers to share their experiences and shape the education of healthcare professionals. Our partnership with Independent Voices is important because it makes a significant difference to the nurses and social workers of tomorrow and the people for whom they will care. I was also pleased that Bucks New University was named as finalists for a further six Student Nursing Times Awards, across a broad range of categories, in this year.

A Most Innovative and Collaborative Approach to Driving Improvement in the Quality of Training Placements award was given to the University for its work with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group. I was delighted that we were also successful in our tender to deliver the Step up to Social Work Programme.

As a leading university for professional education, we work in partnership to understand the needs and shape the future of the professions with which we work. This year saw the University join with Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury College to launch the Social Work Academy, a high-quality centre of excellence for the training of social workers in the county with the aim of addressing a serious skills shortage. Our academics continue to share their expertise through masterclasses for qualified social workers in Bucks to improve and develop their knowledge and skills.

In February, the University was honoured when Bucks graduate and Paralympian, Naomi Riches MBE officially opened our new multi-million pound Human Performance, Exercise and Wellbeing Centre. The first class facilities enhance the learning experience for students following undergraduate programmes in Sports Therapy, Sport and Exercise Science, Sports Psychology, Exercise Health and Fitness Management, Dance and Performance as well as MSc Health Rehabilitation and Exercise.  The centre has been designed with technology that puts our students at the forefront of knowledge and practice as they learn to use leading edge research tools for sport, exercise and therapy. The potential for teaching, research and developing professional practice is enormous and we look forward to developing further our partnerships.

The University was also delighted that Richard Griffin, Director of the Institute of Vocational Learning and Workforce Research (IVLWR) at Buckinghamshire New University, was awarded an MBE earlier this year. He was honoured in recognition of his excellent work to address the training and development needs of the unregistered health and social care workers who perform a critical role in meeting the needs of patients across the UK. At Bucks New University, we are committed to supporting the workforce planning that is needed to secure the future of the NHS and serve its patients best. The IVLWR is the only institute of its kind in the UK focusing on the unregistered health and social care workforce and it works with national bodies like Health Education England and health and social care partners in North West London, Buckinghamshire, the Thames Valley and beyond. IVLWR's remit covers all aspects of health and social care vocational education and training as well as research, evaluation and policy advice and implementation.

It has been a successful year on the scholarly front with a continued increase in activity across the whole faculty with many of our academics publishing articles, chapters and books to underpin the teaching across our subject areas.

The Faculty has also successfully revalidated a number of programmes including the undergraduate and post-graduate Pre-qualifying nursing programmes. A number of courses have been added to the portfolio for 2016/17 including an updated MSc Professional Practice, MSc Advanced Clinical Practice and the PG Diploma Physicians Associate programmes.

We look forward to welcoming our new and returning students in the coming weeks. The University is ambitious for our students and we will work with and support them to succeed in this academic year and beyond.


  • Healthcare, Social Work & Education