The course is planned in accordance with the professional capabilities framework of The College of Social Work, designed to ensure that by the end of the degree students can practise effectively using a range of knowledge, a strong commitment to social justice, application of professional values and recognition of the diverse needs of members of society. Skills of assessment and intervention will be developed and taught throughout the course, both in the classroom and through work based practice learning, comprising 30 skills days, 70 practice placement days in year 2 and 100 days in Year 3. Placement experience includes work with at least two service user groups, e.g. children/young people and their families; people with mental health needs and vulnerable adults. Development of professionalism, the ability to apply critical reflection and analysis and the flexibility to work in changing contexts and organisations are key areas of achievement required for successful completion of the degree.
The knowledge base of the social work programme is organised around several themes: human growth and development, social policy and law, values and ethics, theories underpinning assessment and intervention and core knowledge relating to mental health, disability, substance misuse and safeguarding of children and adults. The social work team has developed successful relationships with regional-based practice educators and placement providers in order to offer students a wide range of placement opportunities to promote their capability and confidence in developing and applying knowledge for effective practice.
The Learning Experience
Classroom teaching takes place through whole group lectures, seminars and small group work and is delivered using resources such as power-point, audio-visual material and case studies. Embedded throughout the programme is a focus on the experiences of those who use services, enabling students to gain valuable understanding of the impact of distressing circumstances and professional responses on the lives of service users and their carers. The contribution of service users and qualified practitioners to teaching and assessment forms part of the varied teaching and learning approaches of the programme. Core teaching is delivered by academics with substantial practice experience who maintain the currency of their knowledge and expertise through research, writing for publication, consultancy and teaching on post-qualifying courses.
Learning is assessed in a variety of ways including written assignments, one exam in year two, group and individual presentations and completion of practice portfolios. The first year of the degree includes teaching of core knowledge required for social work, a placement opportunity to shadow an experienced social worker and dedicated skills based days. The personal development module in each year focuses on development of the academic skills required for study at all levels of the programme and uses a range of learning resources including the substantial library facilities and web-based support.