There is an inevitable inter-relationship between a specific area of professional education and its field of practice. In any field, practice predates the establishment of education and training programmes, but thereafter, the balance of power between the two varies. However, educational arrangements and processes also sometimes reflect the uncertainties and turbulence of a profession. One of the writer’s contentions is that recent trends in social work education mirror a weakening of the profession as a whole, thus increasing a distrust and competition between people who share similar values and goals. Increasing bureaucratic controls, combined with resource constraints, led to growing social worker dissatisfaction, including strikes, in the late 1970s. The Barclay Report concerned itself with social work in all its forms and settings, and supported a move towards community social work, which ‘requires of the social worker an attitude of partnership’ with clients, relations, neighbours and volunteers.