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This paper examines how increased diversity through widening participation to higher education in England can be aligned to the selection of suitable students for social work education. It considers the implications of an educational policy directive to widen access and new professional entry requirements for social work training introduced in 2003. The assessment of students for social work is explored by drawing upon findings from a small scale survey of social work admissions tutors and examples of admissions practice. Written from the perspective of a social work admissions tutor at an outer London post?1992 university, the paper discusses the opportunities and challenges that social work programmes may face when endeavouring to balance widening participation with professional requirements for entry into social work training.