BA Social Work

Overview

Social work is all about people: it is an extremely rewarding and challenging profession. You’ll need to be hard working, adaptable, honest and, above all, passionate about finding long-term solutions and supporting positive changes for children, adults and families. You develop the skills, knowledge and understanding of how to support people to improve personal, practical, psychological and social aspects of their lives.

As a student of BA Social Work at Essex you experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue your own interests whilst being part of a multidisciplinary school. We provide you with an active and stimulating environment for your studies and the chance to really make a difference within an essential profession in today’s society.

A unique feature of our School of Health and Social Care is that many of our staff work with our Local Authorities and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and practice.

As a School, we specialise in applied, multidisciplinary research that addresses issues of national and international concern to health and social care policy and practice and related fields. We also host the NIHR Research Design Service for the East of England.

Placement Opportunities

Within the School of Health and Social Care, we value the experience and opportunity that a placement can give you. It is an intrinsic part of many of our courses. Within our BA Social Work you will do at least 170 days in practice placement during your time with us – you will even have the opportunity to do an international placement as part of this.

Our partnerships with placement providers ensure you gain effective, high-quality training, allowing you to gain experience working with children, adults, families and communities.

When you are on placement, the placement provider is expected to meet the travel costs incurred as a result of work carried as part of that placement (i.e. travel to meetings, etc). However, you will be expected to meet the costs of travel to and from placement.

Social Work students may be eligible to apply for the NHS Social Work bursary, which can be put towards paying for tuition fees, maintenance costs, or travel to placement. More information is available on the NHS BSA website.

DBS and Occupational Health Checks

This course requires a satisfactory Occupational Health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (including child and adult barred list check) – both of these are organised by the University. Please contact our DBS team if you have any questions relating to getting your DBS check.

A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more. Further information about how to obtain an Overseas Criminal Record check can be found on the Gov.uk website.

You will also be required to register for the DBS Update Service (information relating to this service can be found here). You will need to register for this within 30 days of your DBS certificate being issues. The Update Service costs £13 per year, which the University will reimburse. You will need to keep the subscription to this Service active for the duration of your course.

Our expert staff

A unique feature of our School of Health and Social Care is that our staff continue to work within social care and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, and the issues of current social work practice.

Gert Scheepers qualified as a social worker in 1990 in South Africa and has worked in both the UK and South Africa. Gert is the programme lead for our BA Social Work, and his field of expertise is Adult Social Care.

Stephen Jordan originally worked as a senior social work practitioner from 1988-2004 then from 2011-2014. He joined the school in 2014 and has recently completed his Professional Doctorate in Social work with the Tavistock and Portman/ UEL doctorate programme. The focus of his doctorate was the relationship between humour, jokes and social work. Stephen also sits on the panel of a local fostering agency. His field of expertise is Children and Families.

Full details of our staff can be found on the HSC Staff Profiles page.

Specialist facilities

The School of Health and Social Care is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester Campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend Campus.

At Southend you will find purpose-built accommodation to meet the needs of a growing and lively School. Social Work is currently taught in our Southend campus. The Forum, our landmark new education facility, houses our student support, finance, registry, IT services, and an integrated library.

We offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials, and have simulation labs where you can practise developing your clinical skills safely, knowing that you are learning up-to-date and evidenced based practice from experienced registered practitioners.

Your future

With 100% of our School of Health and Social Care students in highly skilled employment or graduate-level further study (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021), we’re confident that this course will be just the start of great things for you. As a qualified Social Worker, you’ll be able to work with a variety of client groups in various settings, and it’s likely that no two days will be the same.

Successful completion of this course leads to eligibility to register with Social Work England as a Social Worker, but please note that other criteria also apply. See their website for further information.


Why we’re great

  • Our partnerships with placement providers ensure you gain effective high-quality training.
  • You study a wide range of specialist areas to gain the broadest possible perspective.
  • We meet Social Work England’s standards.

Structure

Course structure

This course consists of three years, each with a particular emphasis which reflects your development as a trainee social worker and the journey you take into becoming a professional practitioner.

Within the programme the central themes reflecting core values and principles of practice are always present; these include safeguarding and protection; evidence-based relational practice; inter-professional working; impact of practice; professional challenge; empowering service users autonomy; social justice and values; and equality and diversity.

These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students..

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Teaching

  • First year modules reflect fundamental understanding and skills essential for social work practice
  • As required by the Social Work Reform Board you will undertake a minimum of 30 days of development including interpersonal and communication skills
  • Gain experience through a 5 day Child Study as part of Lifespan Development
  • Second year placement of 70 days in a non-statutory setting
  • You will be actively engaged with service users and carers who are experiencing issues related to their emotional and mental health
  • Undertake a 100 day assessed placement in a statutory agency
  • Explore your own practice and to develop further a specialist area of interest
  • This course combines University learning, e-learning and work-based learning to help you enhance your practice skills
  • Modules have their own accompanying webpages on Moodle where you can download relevant readings, power-points, podcasts and YouTube clips, and contribute to online discussions
  • We also work closely in partnership with the NHS and the independent health sector to provide placement opportunities

Assessment

  • You are assessed by a combination of practical examinations, viva voce examinations, essays, reflective writing and poster and seminar presentations, practice-based learning assessment and practical examinations in the academic setting

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