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Social Work is a practice based profession which engages people and groups to address complex life challenges and enhance well being. The social work discipline is underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and practice based knowledge. Our enthusiastic staff group bring a wide variety of experiences from practice and research which include: child rights, gerontology, protection and safeguarding and the value base of social work. We have a long established history of providing social work at Keele and offer an informed and critical approach to knowledge about the social content in which social work is practiced. We offer an excellent range of practise placements and our highly regarded skill based learning is led by social work practitioners and people who use services.
Aims of the Course:
In line with professional and academic regulations, the course leading to the award of degree in Social work aims to develop high levels of professional capability and underpinned by relevant research, evidence and knowledge. In conjunction with relevant academic study, you will spend 170 days of your studies in assessed practice learning in social work/care settings. In the first year you must demonstrate your readiness for practice in order to progress to the next stage of the award. Social Work is a regulated profession. As a social work student you will be expected to adhere to the standards set out in the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC ) guidance on conduct and ethics. After qualification students are eligible to apply for registration to the HCPC. For this process all social work students (undergraduate and postgraduate) must be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, critical evaluation and practice application of the following:
- Principles, values and ethics, theories, models and methods
- Legislation and policy/social work services and service users
- Organisational/service delivery context
Personal and Professional Development spans two semesters and aims to develop your personal, interpersonal and wider communication skills as preparation for direct work with service users and carers. It will also begin to develop your understanding of the modes and means by which social work services are delivered. As part of this module you will prepare for, and undertake, 30 days' skills preparation for practice. Through assessment for the module you must demonstrate your readiness for practice before being able to undertake your first practice learning setting of 70 days in the 2nd year of the course.
Human Growth and Development is designed to provide basic, underpinning knowledge of human growth and development in order to prepare you to practice more effectively with diverse service user groups.
Inequality and Discrimination is intended to provide a basic understanding of the nature and impact of inequality and disadvantage in contemporary Britain and thus develop an appreciation of the broader context within which social work is practised.
Foundations of Social Work is designed to provide an introduction to the values, ethical principles and general professional boundaries (including policy and law) that may give rise to dilemmas and conflicts when working with individuals, families, groups and communities, with the aim of enabling work towards resolution.
Key Concepts in Social Sciences is intended to develop an appreciation of a number of key concepts from the social sciences that are used to understand and explain the relationship between individuals and their social contexts. Thus, it seeks to develop an awareness of how social processes create and sustain identity, social structures, social roles and perspectives. This module will be particularly valuable for students who have not previously studied any of the social sciences.
Introduction to the Legal Processes aims to provide you with an introduction to the complex relationship between law and practice in social work by examining the sources of law and the formal operation of the judicial system in the UK.
Area of Practice (1) Working with Children and Families is designed to provide basic underpinning knowledge of the experience and circumstances of children and their families as service users, and the service delivery context (law, policy and practice) in which social work with children and families takes place, with the aim of enabling students to practice effectively with this user group.
Area of Practice (1) Working with Adults is designed to provide basic underpinning knowledge of the experience and circumstances of adult service users and the service delivery context (law, policy and practice) in which social work with adults takes place, with a view to enabling you to practise effectively with adult service users.
Social Work Theories and Methods (I) is designed to prepare you for a theoretically informed practice in which you are able to provide clear and reasoned justifications for the methods they employ.
Area of Practice (2): Working with Children and Families builds on the Level 1 module Area of Practice (1): Working with Children and Families and is designed to provide further underpinning knowledge of the experience and circumstances of children and families as service users and the service delivery context, to enable you to practise more effectively with this service user group. Specifically, you will further develop knowledge in relation to: law, risk assessment, monitoring and review, working with children and families who have complex needs and inter-agency working.
Area of Practice (2): Working with Adults builds on the Level 1 module Area of Practice (1) Working with Adults and is designed to provide further underpinning knowledge of the experience and circumstances of adult service users and the service delivery context in which social work with adults takes place to enable you to practise more effectively with adult service users and their carers. Specifically, you will further develop knowledge in relation to: law, risk assessment, monitoring and review, working with adults service users who have complex needs and inter-agency working.
Personal and Professional Development aims to enable you to apply your personal, interpersonal and wider communication skills as well as your knowledge of key social structures and processes to develop a repertoire of interventive techniques to assist service users. It is also intended to enable you to begin to refine your sense of your professional role and to operate as informed, competent and ethically sound professionals. You will prepare for, and undertake, 70 days' practice learning.
Social Work Theories and Methods (2) is designed to prepare you for a theoretically informed practice in which you are able to provide clear and reasoned justifications for the methods you employ.
Applying Social Work Knowledge enables you to develop skills and knowledge needed to understand and critically evaluate research processes and their findings that are relevant to social work.
Social Work Research provides the opportunity to research, analyse and use current knowledge of best social work practice by undertaking a library-based, evaluative study of an issue drawn from social work practice.
Personal and Professional Development seeks to enhance and develop social work practice and your identity as a professional social worker.
You will prepare for, and undertake, 100 days' practice learning. You will have the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops that address current social work knowledge, research and practice, with the aim of developing your own critical social work practice. Inter-professional working, and wherever possible, inter-professional learning, will be integral to the workshops.
Codes and Combinations
Single Honours Course available:
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Single Honours, Major and Foundation course information
Teaching and Assessment
A variety of teaching, learning and assessment strategies are integrated into the programme. You are expected to take responsibility for your own learning and the volume of independent work increases over the three years of the course. All student social workers will be assessed in the following: Practical application of skills, knowledge, research and analytical abilities to deliver a service that creates opportunities for people who use services; ability to reflect social work values in their practice; ability to manage change and deliver required outcomes; ability to communicate with users and carers of all ages from all sections of the community; knowledge of social work theory and how it can be applied in practice; ability to function effectively and confidently in multidisciplinary teams.
Skills and Careers
On successful completion of the programme, you will have achieved the recognised professional qualification in Social Work and be eligible to apply with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Career opportunities are available in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.
- Additional costs for textbooks, inter-library loans, photocopying, printing, and potential overdue library fines.
- DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks: In addition to meeting academic requirements, all offers are conditional on candidates obtaining a satisfactory, enhanced disclosure and barring service check. This procedure is carried out before the start of the course and will incur a charge of £44 (the current cost of a DBS disclosure).
For course enquiries see below. For individual staff see here.
BA Administrator: Ann Greatrex
Phone: 44(0)1782 734532
Tel: (01782) 734156
We accept a range of entry requirements, including BTEC, Access and A Level, which must add up to 280 UCAS points.
Applicants must have the following:
- English Language and Mathematics GCSE Grade C or above (or Functional Skills Level 2);
- a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (Enhanced and Barred Lists) check;
- satisfied health checks by student self-declaration and Occupational Health referral where appropriate;
- meet the HCPC requirements for registration.
Further information on the general University undergraduate requirements can be found here.
Screening and Selection
During the first stage of your application process, the academic team will screen paper applications received from UCAS. At this stage, academic qualifications and references are checked. We pay particular attention to your personal statement and the extent to which you have demonstrated:
- Ability to present a coherent statement of relevant experiences;
- Understanding what a social worker does;
- Awareness of discrimination and social work values;
- Willingness, ability and commitment to undertake social work education and training.
If you are called for interview, our selection process addresses:
- Your capacity to engage in group discussions and problem solving exercises;
- A written test;
- and individual interview.
It is important that you demonstrate awareness of the field you are seeking to enter. Although it is not a requirement for entry, relevant experience is recommended.
We are unable to consider international candidates for Social Work.
As you may be aware, due to recent changes in Department of Health policy on social work bursaries, the number of recipients from 2013 onwards has been reduced. Students in the first year of their studies are not eligible to be nominated for a bursary award. Students in years two and three maybe eligible to be nominated for a bursary award. Each University is allocated a certain number of bursaries for its BA social work students and, therefore, some students on their second and third years of the course have bursaries and some fund themselves from other sources e.g. student loans.
At Keele we use a transparent allocation process to award bursaries. We review all students at the end of their first year in relation to a set of criteria in line with the NHS Business Services Authority’s “Inclusion Criteria for Undergraduate Students’ which states that students to be nominated for a bursary should be prioritised for inclusion if they:
- Meet the outcomes set out at entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) which is owned by The College of Social Work (TCSW) on behalf of the profession; and
- Have experience of the sector e.g. work related, or user/carer experience; and/or
- Have other work/life experience related to the sector or likely to be of value to the sector; and
- Have already passed the ‘readiness for practise’ threshold (prior to first placement) which is part of the PCF.
We then apply our own selection criteria which are based on:
- Academic performance from the first year modules;
- A ‘clean’ record with respect to referrals for behaviour which are upheld by the University Disciplinary Committee or the Social Work Suitability process.
The top students equivalent in number to the number of bursaries we have been awarded are nominated for a bursary. For example if we were awarded five bursaries we would nominate the top five students; if we were awarded fifteen bursaries we would nominate the top fifteen students. Through this selection process we compile a list of nominated students to meet the number of bursaries allocated to us and send this to the NHS Business Services Authority. A reserve list is then compiled, again, in order of the selection criteria detailed above.
Following this assessment, those nominated for a bursary will be advised by the end of June in the first year of study in time to make a bursary application via: http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students
The social work bursary is administered by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) on behalf of the Department of Health, who fund and set policy for the bursary. The number of bursaries we are awarded varies from year to year therefore it is not possible to state in advance how many bursaries we will be awarded.
The basic grant includes a fixed contribution towards your placement travel expenses between your term time address and your placement agency. No further payments will be made for placement expenses through the social work bursary.
If you are not allocated one of our bursary places then you may be still eligible to receive the fixed contribution towards your placement travel expenses as above. This will only be available from the second year of your course and you are still required to satisfy all of the normal eligibility and residency criteria.
PLEASE NOTE: The information above regarding bursaries for BA (Hons) Social Work programme at Keele is currently accurate but can be subject to change at short notice in order to respond to external changes in policy.
Other courses you may be interested in
For Dual Honours courses, other combinations are available