University of Chester

Programme Specification
Social Work BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2016 - 2017

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Social Work

Social Work (2013 Programme)

University of Chester

University of Chester

Warrington Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September

L505

L500

Yes

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

1. QAA Social Work Benchmark group (2008).

2. HCPC Standards of proficiency for social workers (2012).

3. HCPC Standards of education and training (2012).

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Faculty of Health and Social Care, Social Work Module Assessment Board

Friday 1st March 2013

The overarching aim of the programme is to enable students to qualify as confident, capable and critically reflective professional social workers. The programme aims to support and enable students to develop and advance their generic skills and specialised knowledge of social work practice, so that they meet the different thresholds for progression required by The College of Social Work in regards to the PCF, namely: the assessment of readiness for practice; the assessment at the end of the first practice placement (70 days); and the final assessment at the end of the second practice placement (100 days).

Other aims are:

  • To provide an educational experience for all students that meets professional and academic requirements.
  • To develop and promote the skills of critical, analytical and reflective thinking.
  • To develop research-minded practitioners, able to analyse, adapt to and manage the processes of change.
  • To develop the ethos of lifelong learning, and advance students' sense of personal responsibility and commitment to their ongoing education and development, as outlined in the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF, 2012).
  • To develop students' ability to assess and meet the social care needs of service users, using an anti-oppressive practice perspective underpinned by social work values, and meeting the requirements of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of performance, conduct and ethics (2008). 
  • To develop students' awareness of the need for effective inter-professional practice, and to consider the impact of their role within their organisation and wider context.
  • To develop students' capability and skills in line with the PCF student level descriptors, and to meet the requirements of the social work qualification by their final year of study as outlined in the HCPC Standards of Proficiency (2012).
  • To enable students to qualify for registration as a social worker with the HCPC.

 

What learner can expect to have achieved

PCF Domain

Level at which achieved

Module

Be able to explain the role of the social worker in a range of contexts, and uphold the reputation of the profession

 

Professionalism

4

SW4006 Readiness for Direct Practice

SW4010 Social work values and ethics

Understand and apply the profession's ethical principles  and legislation, taking account of these in reaching decisions

Professionalism

5

SW5006 Social work practice with adults

SW5007 Social work practice with children and families

Understand  how an individual's identity is informed by factors such as culture, economic  status, family composition, life experiences and characteristics, and take  account of these to understand their experiences, questioning assumptions where  necessary

Diversity

5

SW4009 Sociology and social policy

SW5006 Social work practice with adults

SW5007 Social work practice with children and families

Demonstrate a critical understanding of  the legal and policy frameworks and guidance that inform and mandate social work practice, recognising the scope for professional judgement

Knowledge

4

SW4007 Social work law and policy

Demonstrate and apply to practice a working knowledge of human growth and development throughout the life course

Knowledge

4

SW4008 Human growth and development

Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the range of theories and models for social work intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities, and the methods derived from them

Knowledge

5

SW5008 Social work theory and methods

Acknowledge the centrality of  relationships for people and the key concepts of attachment, separation, loss, change and resilience

Knowledge

5

SW5008 Social work theory and methods

Understand forms of harm and their impact on people, and the implications for practice, drawing on concepts of  strength, resilience, vulnerability, risk and resistance, and apply to practice

Knowledge

5

SW5006 Social work practice with adults

SW5007 Social work practice with children and families

Demonstrate a critical understanding of  the application to social work of research, theory and knowledge from  sociology, social policy, psychology and health

Knowledge

6

SW4009 Sociology and social policy

SW5006 Social work practice with adults

SW5007 Social work practice with children and families

SW6017 Approaches to research

Understand the inter-agency, multi-disciplinary and inter-professional dimensions to practice and demonstrate effective partnership working

Contexts and organisations

5

SW5009 Social care organisations and inter-professional practice

 

What learner can expect to have achieved

PCF Domain

Level at which achieved

Module

Recognise and promote individual's rights to autonomy and self-determination

Values and ethics

4

SW4010 Social work values and ethics

With support, rigorously question and evaluate the reliability and validity of information from different sources

Critical reflection

6

SW4006 Readiness for direct practice

SW5010 Placement 1

SW6013 Critical social work practice

SW6016 Placement 2
SW6018 Placement 2a

Demonstrate a capacity for logical, systematic, critical and reflective reasoning and apply the theories and techniques of reflective practice

Critical reflection

6

SW5008 Theory and methods

SW6013 Critical social work practice

Begin to formulate and make explicit, evidence-informed judgements and justifiable decisions

Critical reflection

6

SW4006 Readiness for direct practice

SW5010 Placement 1

SW6013 Critical social work practice

SW6016 Placement 2
SW6018 Placement 2a

Recognise the factors that create or exacerbate risk to individuals, their families or carers, to the public or to professionals, including yourself, and contribute to the assessment and management of risk

Intervention and skills

5

SW5006 Social work practice with adults

SW5007 Social work practice with children and families

Recognise that social work operates within, and responds to, changing economic, social, political and organisational contexts

Contexts and organisations

6

SW6015 Preparing for professional practice

Recognise the importance of, and begin to demonstrate, professional leadership as a social worker

Professional leadership

6

SW6015 Preparing for professional practice

 

What learner can expect to have achieved

PCF Domain

Level at which achieved

Module

Be able to meet the requirements of the professional regulator

Professionalism

6

SW4006 Readiness for direct practice

SW5010 Placement 1

SW6016 Placement 2
SW6018 Placement 2a

Recognise and, with support, manage the impact of own values on professional practice

Professionalism

6

SW4006 Readiness for direct practice

SW5010 Placement 1

SW6016 Placement 2
SW6018 Placement 2a

Work within the principles of human and civil rights and equalities legislation, differentiating and beginning to work with absolute, qualified and competing  rights and differing needs and perspectives

Rights and Justice

5

SW5010 Placement 1

Select and use appropriate frameworks to assess, give meaning to, plan, implement and review effective interventions and evaluate the outcomes, in partnership with service users

Intervention and skills

5

SW5010 Placement 1

Understand and respect the role of others within the organisation and work effectively with them

Contexts and organisations

5

SW5010 Placement 1

Maintain accurate, comprehensible, succinct and timely records and reports in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines, to support professional judgement and organisational responsibilities

Contexts and organisations

5

SW5010 Placement 1

Understand the authority of the social work role and begin to use this appropriately as an accountable professional

Intervention and skills

6

SW6016 Placement 2
SW6018 Placement 2a

 

What learner can expect to have achieved

PCF Domain

Level at which achieved

Module

Recognise the impact of self in interaction with others, making appropriate use of personal experience

Professionalism

5

SW5010 Placement 1

Demonstrate respectful partnership work with service users and carers, eliciting and  respecting their needs and views, and promoting their participation in  decision-making wherever possible

Values and ethics

5

SW5010 Placement 1

Identify and apply a range of verbal, non-verbal and written methods of communication and adapt them in line with peoples age, comprehension and culture

Intervention and skills

4

SW4006 Readiness for Direct Practice

Demonstrate the ability to engage with people, and build, manage, sustain and conclude  compassionate and effective relationships

Intervention and skills

4

SW4006 Readiness for Direct Practice

The underlying philosophy of the programme is to promote a critically reflective and responsive teaching and learning experience. The programme structure and content demonstrate our strong commitment to the critical integration of theory and practice underpinned by a strong professional identity and value base. To promote effective student learning, the programme aims to build on prior knowledge and experience and connect to new learning. Interactive teaching methods foster inclusion, self-motivation, autonomy and an ability to work collaboratively with others.

The following outline highlights some of the features of the learning and teaching in each of the three levels of the programme. Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ), using their stated credit level descriptors as a reference point.

The teaching and learning approach at level 4 enables students to develop a broad knowledge of a range of subjects and topics which provide a basis for understanding the nature of social work practice. Students will be able to demonstrate a Readiness for Practice in line with the requirements of the PCF. Students can submit draft assignments during the first academic year; feedback from tutors can assist with the transition to study at HE.

At level 5, students are able to develop their skills to meet social work agency policies and procedures. Teaching focuses on different service user groups and problems, and builds on the learning from the first year and understanding the application of this knowledge to different situations. By the end of the first placement students will be able to demonstrate effective use of knowledge, skills and values, and a commitment to work with people in line with the PCF end of first placement level capabilities.

At level 6, students are expected to use teaching and learning opportunities to facilitate the development of their professional identity as a social worker. By the end of the course, students will have demonstrated knowledge, skills and values to work with people in more complex situations. Students should have developed skills to work autonomously, yet use supervision appropriately for support and guidance, in line with Qualifying Social Worker Level Capabilities.

Stakeholders, service users and carers contribute to the programme at all levels, using their personal experiences and first-hand knowledge to enhance students' understanding. This input is valued highly by existing students and it supports the Social Work Task Force (2009) recommendation that service users and carers are involved in the delivery of the programme.

Awards:

  • Level 4 - 120 credits, Certificate of Higher Education in Social Welfare Studies (without registration).
  • Level 5 - 120 credits, Diploma in Higher Education in Social Welfare Studies (without registration).
  • Level 6 - 120 credits, BA (Hons) Social Work (eligible to apply for registration).

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
SW4006 4 Readiness for Direct Practice 40 Comp
SW4007 4 Social Work Law and Policy 20 Comp
SW4008 4 Human Growth and Development 20 Comp
SW4009 4 Sociology and Social Policy 20 Comp
SW4010 4 Social Work Values and Ethics 20 Comp
SW5006 5 Social Work Practice with Adults 20 Comp
SW5007 5 Social Work Practice with Children and Families 20 Comp
SW5008 5 Social Work Theory and Methods 20 Comp
SW5009 5 Social Care Organisations and Inter-Professional Working 20 Comp
SW5010 5 Placement 1 40 Comp
SW6013 6 Critical social work practice 20 Comp
SW6015 6 Preparing for Professional Practice 20 Comp
SW6016 6 Placement 2 40 Comp
SW6017 6 Approaches to Research 20 Comp
SW6018 6 Placement 2a 20 Comp

Students are required to achieve 120 credits at each level (4, 5 and 6) in order to receive the final award of BA (Hons) Social Work.

No compensation between modules is allowed in the overall classification and award. Students are required to pass all modules.

There is no compensation between the different assessment components in the following modules. Each component must be achieved at a minimum mark of 40% to pass the module:

  • Readiness for direct practice (level 4)
  • Social work law and policy (level 4)
  • Approaches to research (level 6)

The programme has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

All students are required to pass all modules on this programme in order to be eligible to register as a social worker with HCPC.

The Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) Standards of Education and Training (SETS) guidance for programme admissions are used throughout our shortlisting and interviewing assessment process; this ensures that candidates selected meet the entry level requirements.

Admission to the programme will be through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), and will follow the University of Chester’s admissions strategy. All prospective students fulfilling the criteria will be invited to the formal interview day, where applicants will participate and be assessed in a group activity, attend an individual interview and complete a written test. Representatives of service users, carers and employers are fully involved in the selection process.

The programme has a clear English context, equipping students to be eligible to register as social workers with the HCPC. Whilst all modules have regard to issues of cultural sensitivity and some students may join the programme as residents in Wales, the programme is not specifically designed for the Welsh context. Whilst we may be able to secure some practice learning opportunities in Wales, these are limited. Students are advised to seek further information from the Care Council for Wales (http://www.ccwales.org.uk/) about registration as a social worker in Wales on completion of a programme of study outside Wales.  

Admissions criteria

   The admission criteria for student entry to the BA (Hons) Social Work programme will be:

  • Demonstration of a minimum of 240 - 280 UCAS points, of which 240 points must be obtained from GCE A Levels. The remaining points may be achieved from GCE AS Levels, or Level 3 Key Skills.
  • All students will have achieved GCSE grade C (or above) in English Language and Mathematics, or at least Key Skills Level 3 in Communication and Application of Number. Applicants who did not complete GSCE English Language within the UK will be asked to obtain IELTS - a score of 7.0 overall and with no category scoring below 6.5.
  • A basic ability to use IT effectively.
  • Demonstration of a commitment to social care work through completion of substantial experience in a social care setting.
  • Suitable reference from either an academic tutor and/or a work based supervisor.
  • Satisfactory completion of an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service and a Declaration of Health form.  

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to the Warrington Campus where they will undertake a written task and individual interview, which will consider the applicant's attributes, background, motivation and suitability for social work. Applicants are required to pass both elements of the assessment process.

The interview follows an equal opportunities format in which all candidates are asked the same questions.

Health checks

The BA (Hons) Social Work programme will adhere to the University of Chester's Faculty of Health and Social Care Professional Suitability Procedures. In accordance with the College of Social Work and the Health and Care Professions Council requirements, all students will be required to confirm that they do not have any physical or mental health condition that would affect their ability to carry out the role of a social worker.

On acceptance of a place at the University of Chester, the applicant will be sent a Declaration of Health form in which they are asked to declare any physical or mental health condition that could affect their ability to safely carry out the role of the social worker, and which states that if they are in doubt about the relevance of any issue they should declare it. Students will be advised on signing these forms that failure to declare anything relevant which is subsequently discovered could lead to termination of their training.

The completed form will be returned to the Occupational Health department at the University of Chester where the information on the form is assessed. If Occupational Health considers that further information about a student's declared condition is required, they will request the student's agreement to seek further information from their general practitioner or consultant. The student's application would not proceed without the students' consent to this further enquiry.  The completed form will be returned to the Occupational Health department at the University of Chester where the information on the form is assessed. If Occupational Health considers that further information about a student's declared condition is required, they will request the student’s agreement to seek further information from their general practitioner or consultant. The student’s application would not proceed without the students’ consent to this further enquiry.

If Occupational Health considers that a prospective student is not suitable to commence social work training, they will make a statement to the University of Chester to that effect. Decisions which are made arising from concerns about prospective students' health will draw on any guidance which is provided by the HCPC.

Annual declaration of good conduct and good health forms are completed by students at the start of each academic year. Any issue arising from a declaration on these forms will be addressed by the Head of Department or Occupational Health. Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to commence the Practice Placement 1 module without a satisfactory health check having been processed.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)  

Students who accept a place at the University of Chester will be provided with information, prior to taking up their place, which informs them that they will be required to complete the Disclosure and Barring Service Enhanced Disclosure application form during the week following their enrolment at the University of Chester. The information that is sent will remind them that they have already made a declaration on their UCAS form and that they are required to declare all convictions or cautions however minor. Students are also required to declare whether they have been barred from engaging in regulated activity with either children or vulnerable adults. The information will advise them that non-declaration of offences will be considered a serious matter, and that should a check which is returned by the DBS identify any offence which has not been previously declared, the failure to disclose may result in the initiation of the Professional Suitability Procedure, and the result of initiating this procedure could lead to the termination of the student's training.

If a student has declared on their UCAS form that they have a conviction or caution and have provided information about any offences, a panel will be convened to consider whether the application should be considered by the University of Chester. The panel will include a senior management representative of a social services department. Should the DBS check result in the identification of a criminal conviction which has not been disclosed, a panel will meet to decide on further action. Consideration will be given to initiating the Student Disciplinary Procedure. The initiation of the Professional Suitability Procedure may result in the student's studies being terminated. Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to commence the Practice Placement 1 module without a satisfactory DBS check having been processed.

Students are also required to disclose any involvement in safeguarding issues relating to children or vulnerable adults, regardless of the outcome.

Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L)

The Faculty of Health and Social Care operates a robust AP(E)L system, developed in line with University of Chester's procedures and overseen by the faculty's AP(E)L co-ordinator. Students may therefore claim specific credit exemption against the programme modules in line with university procedures. Students are not able to claim any AP(E)L exemption against any of the practice placement days (170 and 30 days readiness for practice).

The Subject Benchmark Statements for social work (2008) and the Key Skills provide an analysis of the component elements of the broad area of capability or performance in which social work students are required to demonstrate their competence. Students' learning takes place within the context of the requirements of social work education, for example the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject Benchmark for Social Work (2008), the Health and Care Professionals Council Standards for Education and Training (2009), the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), the HCPC Standards of Proficiency (2012) and the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2008). The staff team consider that the teaching and learning which occurs in lectures, in seminars, in individual and group tutorials with the personal academic tutor, and in supervision with the practice educator in the two practice placements will all support students in the learning process.

The programme has been mapped against the relevant subject benchmarking groups (see separate documentation).

Students will experience a range of teaching and learning methods which are designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes, and to promote personal and professional development. Strategies employed in each module are appropriate to the achievement of the module aims and objectives.

Methods of learning and teaching will include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars, presentations and debates
  • Scenario-based learning
  • Action learning sets
  • Individual and group work tasks
  • Practice placements
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Discussion groups
  • Audio-visual material
  • Role play
  • Directed study
  • Online material

All modules are compulsory. These consist of a mixture of direct contact, directed study, and practice under the supervision of a practice educator. Subject experts will be invited to contribute to the delivery of the programme, ensuring the currency of the information and learning provided. This is essential to compete with other providers in the region. A group of service users and carers work alongside the teaching staff in programme planning, updating and evaluation of the course. They also deliver sessions and provide a crucial insight into the service user and carer experience of social work services. The methods of learning and teaching on the programme are congruent with ethics, values and principles of experiential education, and facilitate a process of learning through observing, listening, reflecting and analysing. The value of reflection in social work education and training is that it provides a structured process for exploring the evidence upon which practice is based. By the end of the programme, students should be able to critically and reflectively analyse the social work context as a reflective practitioner.

Professional Development Profile

The Readiness for Direct Practice module (SW4006) will introduce the student's Professional Development Portfolio (PDP). This will direct students to collect, collate and reflect upon their ongoing learning activities and their own development needs. Each section is designed (Gibbs (1983), and Kolb (1983) to help students think about their ongoing learning and the impact that it has upon their developing social work practice, as well as providing them with the resources needed to evidence the PCF and SoPs during placements, and ultimately when compiling their application for HCPC registration. It will help students to plan their career against the PCF as a newly qualified social worker in their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment. The PDP will be discussed as a set agenda item during personal academic tutor and practice educator supervision sessions.

E-learning

All of the modules will utilise e-learning activities (e.g. online sessions, discussion boards, quizzes etc.) via a dedicated Moodle module section. This will ‘house' all session materials along with further directed reading (pertinent e-books and online journals will be signposted), and will provide links to relevant websites and forums. All non-role-play assignments will be submitted online

Inter-professional learning (IPL)

There will be opportunities to share learning with other students within the University, through role play scenarios, conferences and specially designed inter-professional learning days. Inter-professional working is essential to good practice and this comes from learning alongside other students. There is a unique opportunity to share learning with other public service students e.g. nursing, midwifery, health visitors, police etc.  A range of professionals contribute to the delivery of the programme.

Students will be exposed to a range and variety of assessment methods which are designed to identify intellectual, personal and practical skills. Assessment strategies will ensure that the content, outcomes and level of the modules are measured in a fair and transparent manner, and will incorporate holistic assessment procedures. The range of assessment methods reflects the nature of the programme which leads to a professional qualification. Students are required to pass all modules in each year before progressing to the next year. Curriculum design supports a range of assessment methods throughout the course. The programme's approach to assessment will follow the underpinning principles which are contained in the University of Chester’s Quality and Standards Manual. Methods of assessment include essays, presentations, exams, portfolios, poster presentations and critical appraisal.

The PCF sets out the profession's expectations of what social workers should be able to do at each stage of their career and professional development. It will be used as a formal process for supporting judgements within the assessments about the students' progression in a holistic way for each capability, which will take place at three formal stages during the three year programme, namely: 

  1. Readiness for direct practice (as a precursor to the progression to the first practice placement in year 2).
  2. End of first placement (at the end of year 2 and as a precursor to the progression to year 3) and 
  3. End of last placement (at the end of year 3 and as a precursor to the progression of entry to their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). as a qualified social worker).

It is anticipated that the comprehensive and holistic assessment strategies adopted will support the high quality of learning delivered, and provide for a rigorous and robust threshold entry to qualified professional social work practice.

Assessment of both practice placements will be undertaken by a suitably qualified practice educator who is a registered social worker (Practice Educator Professional Standards, 2012).

In order to work as a practising social worker, students must develop skills in analysing their own and others’ actions and motivations. Students who are awarded the BA (Hons) Social Work will typically possess the following characteristics:

  • A systematic understanding of the knowledge base related to social work, and a critical awareness of current social issues which are relevant to people who experience difficulties in their lives and have a range of social care needs.
  • An acknowledgement and understanding of both the potential and the limitations of social work as a practice-based discipline.
  • An ability to relate effectively to service users, carers, colleagues and other professionals, and to establish and develop relationships where appropriate.
  • A conceptual appreciation of the way in which an understanding of ethics and values are relevant to the dilemmas facing social workers, and the ability to work in an anti-oppressive way in a variety of practice settings and with a range of service users and carers.
  • The ability to work within a legislative context and to follow agency and national policy guidelines in working with people.
  • A broad knowledge of the range of interventions that are available to support people who have social care needs.
  • A knowledge of and ability to meet the requirements of the HCPC Standards of proficiency for social workers (2012).
  • A motivation and knowledge about how to take responsibility for their ongoing professional development.
  • In line with the PCF, completing students will be able to ‘demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Values to work with a range of user groups, and the ability to undertake a range of tasks at a foundation level, the capacity to work with more complex situations; they should be able to work more autonomously, whilst recognising that the final decision will still rest with their supervisor; they will seek appropriate support and supervision'.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

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