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Undergraduate Courses 2017
Applying through clearing?
Clearing applicants and others planning to start in 2016 should view Social Work for 2016 entry.

Social Work - BA (Hons)

Medway

Overview

Social work is about changing lives for the better. Kent offers a rewarding academic programme, developed with professional practice in mind and taught by qualified social workers. You will have access to placements across a range of settings to enable you to develop your skills and apply knowledge to practice. Our graduates become confident, competent social work practitioners and 86% of our recent graduates are in work/further study 6 months after graduation. Home/EU students may be eligible to apply for a Department of Health bursary for their 2nd/3rd years of study.  We are Kent Social Work. Your career starts here. 

Broaden your outlook

The degree is based on the new curriculum for Social Work and allows you to gain a broad base in the key issues related to social work, such as the values and ethics that underpin social work, how social policies are formulated and put into practice, and the role of the law in social work. There are also modules that focus on specific areas of social work with children and families, with adult service users and community care. The curriculum is based on the new Professional Capabilities Framework.

Social Work is an area where it is important to consider a wide range of views and learn from others’ expertise. Service users and carers deliver sessions in modules highlighting their experiences of receiving social care services. Every year, a number of external public speakers visit the University to talk about contemporary issues and debates.

Social Work runs at the University of Kent’s Medway campus and benefits from the excellent new facilities on site. You are taught by lecturers with diverse social work practice experience who are active in research and scholarship, and the student body is a cosmopolitan mix of mature and younger students, from different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities.

These programmes have been endorsed by The College of Social Work as having met the social work professional quality criteria.

Independent rankings

According to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey*, 86% of Kent students graduating with a social work degree in 2014 found a professional job within the field.

The 2015 Times League Table ranked Social Work at Kent 1st in the UK for research quality.

*conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

SO307 - Communication and Interpersonal Skills (15 credits)

In this module students will be introduced to concepts of professionalism and ‘relationship’ in social work and the role of self-monitoring and reflection. They will learn about, discuss and practise a range of communication and interpersonal skills. These will include: the commencement of effective contacts with service users and colleagues; active listening and attending skills; the role of non-verbal communication; empathy; effective use of questions; paraphrasing and summarising; challenging constructively and managing conflict; the use of electronic and telephone communication; and working with people with special communication needs. Students will also explore the use of feedback in the classroom and in professional practice and supervision.



In addition the module will introduce students to the theoretical underpinnings of models of personal and professional communication. They will also be encouraged to explore and reflect on the application of social work values and will analyse the impact of inequality, power and diversity in relation to engaging with the experiences of others.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO308 - Lifespan Development (15 credits)

The module will begin with a general introduction to lifespan approaches and subsequently address the following areas incorporating multiple perspectives on each topic (biological/medical, cognitive, developmental, psychodynamic, social, humanistic and other prominent approaches, focusing specifically on bio-psychosocial approaches):



• Development in early childhood.

• Relationship between brain development and attachment in infancy.

• Childhood development influences on later life.

• Early socialisation.

• Cognitive development and learning in middle/later childhood.

• Social factors: education, gender roles and gender stereotypes, child abuse, and children in care.

• Theories of adolescence: identity and transitions, biological, emotional, social and cultural influences in adolescence.

• Disability and adolescence.

• Sexuality.

• Young adulthood: independence, leaving home, homelessness, mental health and prison, voluntary and forced migration.

• Adult attachments: relationships, family dynamics and parenting, sexuality, sex and gender.

• Maturity: (un)employment, poverty, domestic violence and sexual assault, mental health, people with learning disabilities and stigma.

• The concept of self and humanistic approaches.

• Ageing: body and mind, psychological, social and cultural aspects of ageing, understanding self. Social, political and socioeconomic influences.

• Retirement.

• Death and dying, grief and mourning.

• Terminal illness and physical decline.

• Dementia-type illnesses: anticipatory grief, self- and other-perception.

• Recognising diversity and difference throughout the life span, acknowledging cross-cultural differences in attachment, development and separation.



The relevance of the above topics to social work theory and practice will be discussed during lectures and seminars.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO309 - Law, Rights and Justice (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to why social workers need to know the law; how laws are made and classified; natural law and positivist law and their intersection with ethics and philosophy; the sources and context of English law; and the ‘legal framework’ of English social work including legislation, quasi-legislation and social policy.



An introduction will be provided to the primary and secondary legislation and guidance and the cases that together constitute ‘the law’ relating to: children and families; youth justice; adults - including those with a learning disability, a physical disability and who are vulnerable as a consequence of age related ill health & carers; and mental health work.



Students will consider the application of legislation as it relates to social work activities, duties and decisions including Case Law, the role and nature of Courts and the legal profession, legal procedure, and the nature of evidence including forensic vs therapeutic interventions. They will be introduced to Human Rights and equality law with a particular focus on justice and the promotion of equality in the areas of “race”, gender and sexual orientation, disability and age. They will also consider safeguarding, mental capacity law, confidentiality and responsible information handling.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO310 - Social Policy and Social Problems (15 credits)

Students will explore definitions of social policy, need and social problems, the concept of the welfare state – including a historical overview from Social Democracy to the New Right and ‘The Third way’, and a comparison of ‘welfare types’.

They will study poverty, social need, patterns of inequality and their impact, the policy context in relation to trends in family life and family problems, the role of feminism in shaping social policy, the gendered nature of domestic violence, and policy around domestic violence from the crisis to the multi-agency approaches of the late 1990s. Key themes and perspectives in child care policy will be explored, including the tensions between the philosophies of ‘child rescue’ and ‘family support’, and New Labour and the ‘social investment’ approach.

Students will examine ethics and risk in relation to social policy, including the ethical considerations that impact on people’s lives as recipients and providers of services, and the concepts of rationing, targeting and entitlement. They will consider health inequalities and the impact of key variables of gender, ethnicity and social class on patterns of health inequality. Ageing as a social issue will be explored, and the idea of Community Care and a reliance on the community and more informal care. Students will also consider the causes of youth unemployment and policy responses, youth offending and youth justice policies, and will explore the tensions between ‘care’ and ‘control’ and public protection.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO311 - Sociological Perspectives for Social Workers (15 credits)

The module will introduce students to the three main theoretical perspectives in sociology: functionalism, symbolic interactionism & conflict theories; the role of sociological theory in social work practice; and putting theory into reflexive social work practice. Students will explore theories of power, including the distribution and production of power, how power works, and Weberian and Foucauldian theory.



The social locations of gender, ethnicity, social class, disability, sexuality and age will be examined. Students will consider formations of identity, recognising and respecting difference in relation to race and ethnicity, social divisions, social class and stratification, and ‘difference as a deficit’.



The module will also explore contemporary theories of the ‘family’, households and domestic life; themes and perspectives relating to community, and community work and social work; the sociology of childhood in relation to social work; the sociology of health and illness, and mental health and illness; crime and deviance and the dilemmas of caring and controlling; modern organisations, power, authority and the role of social work in a changing professional and policy environment; and the sociology of ‘risk’ as a unit idea in sociology and its importance in understanding the focus on risk in social work practice.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO312 - What is Social Work (15 credits)

In this module students will be introduced to key aspects of the nature and contemporary context of social work, including the defining characteristics of social work, key terms in social work, and foundation concepts underpinning social work practice. Students will consider the development of social work as a profession, its socio-political location and the various roles social workers may undertake in their work and in society in general, gaining an initial awareness of the complexity and contested nature of the social work role.



Students will be introduced to the nature of problems and needs that may lead to social work support and intervention. A range of approaches to service delivery in the statutory and private and voluntary sectors will be considered and discussed.



The module will also provide a basic introduction for students to the impact of the organisational context for social work practice, aspects of teamwork, supervision, leadership and management and multi-agency working.



Throughout the module students will explore the experience and perspectives of people who use services and carers both in the taught content and through the direct involvement of experts by experience.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO313 - Social Work Theories, Intervention and Skills (15 credits)

In this module students will be introduced to the dialogue between theory, current context, values and practice models, and they will also learn about the assessment process in social work. A number of theories, approaches and methods will be introduced to the students, including systemic, psychodynamic, person-centred, task-centred, cognitive behavioural, postmodern, constructionist, strengths-based, solution focused and narrative approaches and crisis intervention models.

Students will be encouraged to consider and evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of the theoretical approaches in practice, apply evidence from national and international research, and discuss service user perspectives. They will consider the theories and approaches in relation to principles of partnership, empowerment and anti-oppressive practice.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO314 - Values, Ethics and Diversity (15 credits)

The module will encourage students to develop their capacities to respect and promote each person as an individual, the independence and quality of life of individuals whilst protecting them from harm, and the dignity and privacy of individuals, families, carers, groups and communities. During the module students will also examine the importance of recognising and facilitating the use of language and form of communication of each person’s choice and value, and recognising and respecting the diversity, expertise and experience of individuals, families, carers, groups and communities. They will explore how to maintain the trust and confidence of individuals, families, carers, groups and communities by communicating in an open, accurate and understandable way, and discuss strategies to challenge discrimination, disadvantage and other forms of inequality and injustice.



The module will cover the nature, historical evolution and application of social work values, the concept of professionalism and the role of codes of practice and ethics, and the moral concepts of human rights, responsibility, freedom, authority and power inherent in the practice of social workers as moral and statutory agents. Students will be introduced to the complex relationships between justice, care and control in social welfare and the practical and ethical implications of these, including social workers’ roles as statutory agents and in upholding the law. They will consider aspects of philosophical ethics relevant to the understanding and resolution of value dilemmas and conflicts in both inter-personal and professional contexts. The importance of recognising key dimensions of social difference and sources of inequality – class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age and disability – in delivering ethical social work practice will also be a key focus of the module.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO409 - Readiness for Direct Practice (10 credits)

The module ensures that each student is ‘ready for direct practice’ before they embark on their first placement in the second stage of their studies as required by the accrediting professional body. Students are required to complete all elements of this module, including attendance at University-based sessions, in order to pass the module.



The skills development activities will include both class-based and guided independent activities undertaken by students.



Class-based activities will encourage the development of skills used in communication, observation and reflection, and relating theory and practice. This will enable students to practise and further develop the skills and knowledge they are learning in other modules that form part of the ‘Readiness for Direct Practice’ assessment, in particular SO307 Communication and Interpersonal Skills and SO313 Social Work Theories, Interventions and Skills.



Learning activities within modules and skills development days will also address the importance of professional behaviour and boundaries, awareness of values and diversity in social work, an initial awareness of risk and safeguarding, the role of professional supervision, and the importance of emotional resilience in social work.



Students will also develop their awareness of the perspectives of service users and carers, and will gain understanding of the context of social work and how social work is organised and practised in a range of settings. Students will have contact with practitioners and service users and carers within class sessions and through visiting social care settings. Each student will also undertake a two-day shadowing placement with a final year student and practice educator in a social work setting. During this they will observe and discuss examples of social work practice and meet service users and/or carers.

Students will develop their self-awareness and skills of reflection on their learning and experiences through individual activities and class discussions. They will be guided to identify their individual learning needs and monitor and reflect on their own progress.

Credits: 10 credits (5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

SO716 - Social Work with Children and Families (15 credits)

This module will outline the principles underpinning the assessment of children in need (including children with disabilities) and their families. The legal and policy framework within which social work in children’s services operates will be addressed, including its core principles such as working in partnership with parents. The relationship between child protection and family support; outcomes, best practice and early intervention will be examined.

Working with Children in Care as another core area of practice will be outlined, including fostering and adoption issues and aftercare.

Key messages from research and theory in relation to interventions and outcomes, along with key messages from Inquiry reports, serious case reviews and government commissioned reports will form part of the curriculum. Here, multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working will feature as a core theme.

The identification of child abuse and assessment of significant harm, including the assessment of risk, thresholds, child protection investigations, changing practice and policy trends and the different ways in which children might be subject to neglect and abuse will be examined. Here, procedural intervention in child protection and safeguarding work; developing critical analysis and professional judgement will be discussed in depth.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO717 - Issues for Families (15 credits)

This module provides an exploration of contemporary family life with a focus on diversity and emerging sociological trends in relation to family. The legal and policy framework of both adults and children’s services across the spectrum is examined. The key issue of multi and interagency working at both a policy and practice level is addressed. In particular, cross service divisions and tensions, particularly in the interface between adult and child services are explored in depth.

A core knowledge of some key issues and their effect on families – namely: disability, mental health, caring, alcohol & substance misuse, illness, learning disability, loss are discussed. The issues in engaging with a variety of family members and partnership working in complex situations along with the multiple perspectives of service users are examined. Throughout the module, key messages from research around best practice in assessment and intervention will be utilised.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO720 - Practice Placement 1 (30 credits)

Students will attend placement for a total of 70 days (420 hours) and carry out direct work with service-users in a social work or social care environment. They will develop skills, knowledge and values through experiential learning. They will be supervised by either an on-site or off-site practice educator.

By the end of the first placement students should demonstrate effective use of knowledge, skills and commitment to core values in Social Work in a given setting in predominantly less complex situations, with supervision and support. They will have demonstrated capacity to work with people and situations where there may not be simple clear-cut solutions

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO723 - Practice Assignments 1 (30 credits)

This module is an integral part of the practice learning and is designed to sit alongside the Practice Placement module. It offers an opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning in academic form. The two assignments incorporated in the module enable to the student to demonstrate their competence in both short term and longer term pieces of practice carried out over the course of the placement. The student will have the opportunity to apply relevant theoretical learning to their own practice and demonstrate reflection and critical thinking

The students will also attend for 5 full days (25 hours total) of skills development. These days will expand and consolidate both the skills development days undertaken prior to placement and the practice learning opportunities.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO724 - Social Work with Adults (15 credits)

The overall aim of the module is to equip students with the knowledge and understanding required for them to function effectively as social workers in the context of adult social care settings. This might include working with older people, people with a physical or learning disability, or people from all of these groups. The module will enable them to appreciate the impact of injustice, social inequalities and oppressive social relations on the lives of adult service users. It should enable them to critically analyse and evaluate key concepts such as ‘care’ and ‘risk’ in adult services, and demonstrate the knowledge necessary for them to design and implement effective social work interventions with service users



The module equips students with knowledge of the main types, indicators and patterns of incidence of abuse affecting adult service users, including discriminatory abuse. This includes guidance on how they can plan appropriate strategies for protecting vulnerable adults whilst remaining aware of the potential for defensive practice in adopting a ‘risk-minimising’ approach. Through group work and seminar discussions, student will demonstrate their capacity for effective and appropriate communication with others.



In this module, a critical understanding of different models of disability including individual/medical and social models and an awareness of ageism and how ‘old age’ is socially constructed will be discussed. The concepts of personalisation and person-centred practice and how these relate to processes of self-directed support and individual budgets as ways of delivering services will be outlined. Terms such as ‘learning disability’, ‘physical disability’ and forms of chronic illness with awareness of key diagnostic and descriptive categories/labels, their potentially problematic nature and their action in mobilising particular service responses will be examined.

The practical and emotional support needs of carers and the complexity of the social work role in relation to them, including understanding of the contested nature of the concepts of ‘care’ and ‘caring’ will be explored. The key procedures involved in safeguarding/adult protection and the role of the social worker in this context including awareness of the importance of balancing rights with risk in decision-making in working with ‘vulnerable adults’ will be covered as a core area in this field. Knowledge of the main legal and professional responsibilities of a qualified social worker, including the key legislative systems and guidance they are expected to use, and awareness of the changing role of social work in adult services

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO725 - Making Sense of Mental Health (15 credits)

The overall aim of this module is to equip students with the knowledge required for them to respond and intervene appropriately in their work with individuals who are experiencing mental distress and their families. It will enable students to function effectively in contemporary service settings including mental health services.



The module curriculum comprises a basic introduction to the key definitions, the professional roles and tasks, the medical model of mental health and the broad diagnostic categories in psychiatry, as well as a detailed account of social models of mental distress. The module provides students with a critical introduction to key concepts including stigma and labelling theory, and problematic concepts such as ‘care’ and ‘risk’. Using case study material, the module emphasises the importance of understanding diversity in experiences of mental distress, particularly in terms of the social location of individuals (including ‘race’, social class, gender and age) and the impact of disadvantage and discrimination. The module introduces students to different models of care in mental health services and also provides specialist input on mental health law.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

SO719 - Advanced Interventions (15 credits)

The aim of this module is to assist students work professionally with a variety of service users in complex situations in a range of settings. The module is designed to equip students with the practical skills and knowledge for professional practice. This will prepare them for theoretically informed practice to enable clear and reasoned justifications for social work interventions.



Systemic theory will provide an overall framework for the module, enabling the consideration of the complex and interconnected nature of social and personal issues for individuals, families, and communities. The module will provide an outline of key principles and practice in methods of intervention such as solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing, family therapy techniques, group work skills and other approaches. Methods of intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities will be explored.



Ethical issues and anti-oppressive practice will be considered throughout the module, and there will be a particular focus on the challenges of empowering service users. Students will be encouraged to reflect on and critically evaluate a variety of methods based on best practice and research evidence. Critical thinking, analysis and professional judgement are vital capacities to develop for professional practice, as well as self-awareness and openness to examining assumptions and emotions.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO672 - Social Work Practice in a Multi Agency Context (15 credits)

This module will engage students’ understanding of the legal, social and political context for multi agency working with an emphasis on current national initiatives and the rationale for them. Students will critically analyse the professional and practical barriers to partnership working and how these might be minimised. Models for team work in social care and their relevance to multi disciplinary settings will be outlined. Exploration of systems theory and psychodynamic models as explanatory frameworks will also be a feature. Examples of multi disciplinary teams in practice – i.e. Sure Start, Youth Offending, Mental Health etc. will enable students to apply these theoretical frameworks effectively.



The module will include a focus on skills in multi–disciplinary working, including negotiating across professional boundaries and addressing issues of power and inequality. The module will explain the links between national initiatives to improved services and outcomes for users.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO673 - Research for Social Work Practice (15 credits)

The overall aim of the module is to equip students to become ‘critical consumers’ of research as practitioners by providing them with the knowledge and understanding necessary to evaluate research appropriately and apply findings appropriately in practice.

The module provides an introduction to a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods including different types of interview (narrative, biographical, in-depth, semi-structured, structured) ethnography, focus groups, surveys and questionnaires, experimental and quasi-experimental research, randomised controlled trials, documentary and textual analysis, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, and approaches that involves mixing methods.



The module also includes brief introductions to the techniques involved in analysing both qualitative and quantitative data. It also includes consideration of ethical issues relating to research.

Each week students are provided with research articles that are compulsory reading for discussion in seminars. Each reading provides an example of each method and its potential for addressing research questions relevant for social work practice.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

Social Work is an applied degree that links theory to the practical skills required of social workers. Most staff teaching on the Social Work degree are qualified social workers and all have a varied range of practice, managerial, research and academic experience. Practice experience is an integral part of the course and placements allow you to try out the knowledge and values you have learned in your studies.

Teaching methods include formal lectures, large and small group discussion and experiential work, and a programme of seminars.

During placement periods, you will be supported by a practice educator and assessed in accordance with the College of Social Work’s Professional Capabilities Framework.

In addition to the assessed placements, you will be assessed through a mixture of written assignments, in class tests, presentations and video work. Successfully completing Stage 1 also includes satisfying the Board of Examiners that you are safe to undertake the practical component of Stages 2 and 3.  This will include completing the Readiness for Direct Practice module.

Social workers are required to be computer literate and you will be expected to develop these skills.

Programme aims

Our aims are to provide students with:

  • education and training that meets
    • the standards set out by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC 2012)
    • the standards of proficiency required for registration as qualified social workers with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC SoPs; SETs 4.1; 6.1)
    • the outcome statements for qualifying education in relation to the Professional Capabilities Framework (The College of Social Work)
    • expectations about the standards for the award of the bacherlor's degree in social work as set out in the Subject Benchmark Statement for Social Work (QAA 2008)
  • a research-led social work education that will equip you with the knowledge, skills, confidence and critical understanding necessary to practise social work in complex and demanding environments
  • knowledge that emphasises the importance of social work as a moral activity involving the study, application of, and reflection upon, ethical principles (SB4.6) and understanding of the implications of the HCPC’s standards of conduct, performance and ethics (HCPC SETs 2012: 4.5)
  • the ability to become accountable, reflective, critical and evaluative (SB4.7), and to support and develop autonomous and reflective thinking (HCPC SETs 4.6)
  • knowledge and understanding in the specified compulsory areas of study (SB5.1) and to effectively integrate theory and practise (HCPC SETs 4.3)
  • skills that are of value in many situations: analytical thinking, building relationships, working as a member of an organisation, intervention, evaluation and reflection (SB5.2)
  • an education that is relevant, current and which encourages creativity, evidence-based and research-informed practice (HCPC SETs 4.4; 4.7)
  • an effective 'process curriculum' in terms of how content is taught, paying close attention to the involvement of service users and carers, practitioners, modelling anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practice and confident professional identity (TCSW edref4)
  • partnerships with regional employers and other stakeholders in order to: supply practice placements and suitably qualified practitioners; exchange ideas concerning the content of the qualifying programme; lead at strategic level (TCSW)
  • relevant teaching, learning and assessment across the full range of knowledge and skills as required by the relevant professional agencies (TCSW PCF, HCPC Sop, SETs, and SB) to allow students to undertake specific learning and assessment in key areas.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • social work services, users and carers (SB5.1.1), the service delivery context (SB5.1.2) and the nature of the practice of social work (SB5.1.5)
  • theories and models for social work intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities and the methods derived from them (PCF5.8; SB5.1.4; SoP13.4)
  • the nature, definition, development and application of relevant values and philosophical ethical principles (SB5.1.3; SoP13.4)
  • the principles of rights, justice and economic well-being and their significance in the practice of social work (PCF4)
  • the relevance of research from psychological, environmental, sociological, economic and physiological perspectives for understanding the impact of a range of factors on personal and social development and functioning (SoP 13.4; PCF5.4), including spiritual and cultural factors (PCF5)
  • human growth and development across the lifespan, including mental health, disability and needs arising from age-related ill-health and disadvantage (PCF5.3; SoP13.4)
  • the legal and policy framework for social work with individuals, families, groups and communities (SoP 13 4), including a critical understanding of the scope for professional judgment (PCF5.2)
  • the impact of injustice, social inequalities, policies and other issues that affect the demand for social work services (SoP13.4)
  • concepts of participation, advocacy, empowerment, partnership working, including with service users and carers, and sharing information across professional disciplines and agencies (SoP13.4)
  • the relevance of sociological perspectives to understanding societal and structural influences on human behaviour (SoP 13.4).

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • a developed capacity for the critical evaluation of knowledge and evidence from a range of sources, including empirical research (SB7.3)
  • to use research and inquiry techniques with reflective awareness, to collect, analyse and interpret relevant information (SB7.3)
  • to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising your own professional judgment (SoP4), autonomy and initiative in individual decision making (SB7.4)
  • an awareness of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on the practice of social work (SoP5)
  • to reflect on and review practice (SoP11), incorporating appraisal of previous learning into future learning and practice (SB7.3)
  • an undertanding of the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to the profession (SoP13)
  • to acknowledge and understand the potential and the limitations of social work as a practice-based discipline to effect invidual and social change (SB7.3).

Subject-specific skills

You gain specfic skills in the following:

  • the ability to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform your practice of social work (SoP14) using knowledge and understanding in an integrated way in specific contexts and to engage in effective relationships with service users and carers (SB7.3)
  • to practise safely and effectively within your scope of practice (SoP1), applying a repertoire of core skills (SB7.4)
  • the ability to acquire and integrate skills in problem solving, including managing problem-solving activities, gathering information, analysis and synthesis and intervention and evaluation (SB5.5)
  • to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of the profession (SoP2) with a clear understanding of ethical issues and codes of values in practice (SB7.4)
  • an ability to maintain your fitness to practise (SoP3)
  • to practise in an anti-discriminatory and non-oppressive manner (SoP6)
  • the ability to maintain confidentiality (SoP7) and keep records appropriately (SoP10)
  • the ability to assure the quality of your work (SoP12), demonstrate habits of critical reflection on your performance and take responsibility for modifying action in the light of this (SB7.4).

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • effective communication to an advanced level (SB5.6; SoP8)
  • the application of IT and numerical skills (SB5.9)
  • problem solving, including managing problem-solving activities, gathering information, analysis and synthesis, intervention and evaluation (SB5.5)
  • to work effectively and appropriately with others, including challenging others where necessary (SB5.7; SoP9)
  • personal and professional development, including managing uncertainty, change and stress and the critical and effective use of research (SB5.8).

Careers

Our programmes provide you with knowledge and skills that will appeal to employers such as the NHS, local authority adults’ and children’s services, and the voluntary and private social and healthcare sector. You also develop transferable skills such as planning and organisation, teamwork, leadership.

The programme has a good record of graduate employment. Jobs are available in local authority and health settings (for example, working with children and families, disabled people, people with mental health problems, and older people); voluntary organisations (for example, Barnardo’s, NSPCC); and private agencies (for example, private fostering agencies).

Some graduates choose to do agency supply work.

Professional recognition

Social work is a regulated profession. A qualifying degree in Social Work is a prerequisite for eligibility to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a qualified social worker. As a social work student, you will be expected to adhere to the HCPC's Guidance of conduct and ethics for students. As well as regulating individual social workers, the HCPC also regulates the performance of social work courses, and publishes its reports on its website.

The Partnership Initiative

The Partnership Initiative (PI) works to embed service user and carer perspectives, experience and expertise into social work programmes at the University of Kent, including student selection, teaching and assessment and research activities. The PI was set up when the BA Social Work was founded at Kent in 2003 and also works closely with the MA Social Work programme that began in 2013.

The PI’s mission statement is that, ‘PI exists in order that people who use services and carers work collaboratively with staff and students. This is to ensure that the skills and experiences of all are integral to the social work programmes at the University of Kent.’

Membership of the Partnership Initiative is open to people in Kent and Medway with direct experience of social services and social workers, whether as service users or as carers. The PI meets and collaborates regularly with academics and representatives of the student body. PI members are paid for involvement in teaching, student selection and any other programme related activities through contracts with the University. Further details of the Partnership Initiative’s work are available in the PI newsletter, Bridging the Gap.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The academic qualifications required at entry level are the equivalent of grades BBB at A level or 34 points overall (or 15pts at higher level) in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or an acceptable equivalent.

Mature candidates with equivalent qualifications are considered dependent on their qualifications and experience.

Access applicants are required to pass with at least  75% level 3 credits at merit and must include English and Maths at GCSE equivalent if not already obtained.

Completed qualifications in both English and Maths (at GCSE grade C or above) are essential for all candidates. Applicants who do not have English as their first language must complete the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) qualification and achieve a score of 7.0 overall and in each subtest.

Satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and a satisfactory health declaration are required for applicants receiving offers. 

Candidates must demonstrate awareness and understanding of the needs of people requiring social care or social work. Paid/voluntary social care experience of dealing with vulnerable groups in society or some personal experience is required. All candidates are assessed against the criteria for entry level of the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work.

Applicants being considered will complete a written test, and if satisfactory, will be invited to attend for an individual interview and observed group discussion. Individual interviews are carried out by a member of the programme team and an experienced practitioner, and service users and carers are members of the panel that observe each group discussion.

Accreditation of prior learning

In certain circumstances it may be possible for a student who has completed a stage of the BA Social Work from another university to be accepted onto a subsequent stage of the BA at Kent e.g. Stage 2 or 3. Before considering a transfer, the Admissions Tutor for the BA Social Work will need to be satisfied that the student has met the preceeding stage's learning outcomes as required and defined by the University of Kent.

Once this has been accessed and to be considered for direct entry, the student must complete health and criminal offences declarations and also provide evidence that:

  • they would have met our entry criteria at Stage 1
  • their standard of work is good (providing evidence of a minimum of 4 essays, marks and feedback, plus an academic reference from their tutor or lecturer)

A reason for requesting the transfer will also be required and normally, the student will be invited to an interview with a member of the Social Work team.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB plus relevant experience including awareness and understanding of the needs of a person requiring social care assistance. Compulsory admissions tests also required.

GCSE

English and Mathematics at grade C or above.

Access to HE Diploma

Access applicants are required to pass with at least  75% level 3 credits at merit and must include English and Maths at GCSE equivalent if not already obtained. 

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Distinction, Merit, Merit plus additional requirement described above

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at higher level

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Funding

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for the administration of social work bursaries. Please refer to the NHSBSA website for the latest available information including the eligibility criteria www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Students/825.aspx

Students on Social Work BA programmes are only eligible to receive a bursary during Stages 2 and 3 of their programme. No student receives a bursary at Stage 1.

We do not expect to receive confirmation of the number of bursaries for Stage 2/3 of our BA programme until the Spring Term of Stage 1. However, we anticipate that there will be fewer bursaries than students registered. We are obliged to provide the NHS Business Services Authority Students with a list of students. Students will be ranked according to a combination of the following 3 criteria: academic achievement, performance during the selection process, and attendance on the programme during Stage 1.

Students who do not receive a bursary, but meet the eligibility criteria, are currently able to apply to the NHSBSA for a Travel Allowance to help with placement related travel costs.

Undergraduates (including those who receive a bursary) may continue to be eligible for a student loan from Student Finance England, subject to eligibility criteria.

In addition, Kent offers generous financial support schemes to support eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Find out more on our fees and funding page.

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created a new scholarship, The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence, which will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our funding pages.

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources

Read our student profiles

Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272

Fees

The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

The University of Kent intends to increase its regulated full-time tuition fees for all Home and EU undergraduates starting in September 2017 from £9,000 to £9,250. This is subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise by 2.8%.

Key Information Sets


The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000