A NORTH-East university has decided against proposals to end two of its social work courses following pressure from staff and students.

A review carried out by Durham University last year had recommended that two of its social work masters degrees be closed due to concerns over the programmes’ financial viability, and proposed that resources should be invested in research in other areas such as communities and social justice.

The university has now confirmed it will continue to take applications for its social work degree and international social work and community development courses.

The plans to axe them had attracted opposition from university students, staff and the University and College Union, as well as academics from across the country and further afield.

Hundreds of people signed a petition against the proposals while dozens of people left comments expressing concerns about the possible loss of the courses, with the university criticised for being “elitist” and having the wrong priorities.

There were also worries that the plans would lead to fewer social workers being trained in the North-East and would have an impact on the quality on social work practice in the region.

A Durham University spokesperson said: “The Department of Sociology (previously School of Applied Social Sciences) has voted to continue taking applications for its social work programmes.

“The department will continue to assess its provision of academic programmes in line with its strategic priorities.”

A decision on the future of the threatened courses had been due to be made last June but was deferred.