Post-qualifying Award in social work with children, young people, their families and carers

Who is this course for?

This course is primarily intended for qualified social work practitioners who are registered with the HCPC and undertake direct work with children and young people, their families and/or carers. Colleagues from other disciplines may register for individual modules but are not eligible for either the full or any intermediate award.

Entry requirements

The course is offered at both graduate and postgraduate levels.  To be eligible for the postgraduate programme you must hold a degree (ordinarily a 2(i) or above) as well as a recognised social work qualification.  To enrol on the BPhil programme, you must hold a recognised social work qualification.  All candidates follow the same programme of study.

How to apply

All applicants need the support of their sponsoring authority unless they are self-funding.  You will need to complete an application form and write a 1000 word review of your learning post qualification.  If you require an application form, please contact the programme office at: or by telephone 0121 414 6549.

Course structure

The taught element of the course is delivered on a part time basis over 2 academic years. There are 6 modules, each attracting 20 academic credits. Each module involves 5 or 6 days of teaching in blocks of 2 or 3 days. All the modules may be taken on an individual basis.

Overall, the course seeks to highlight the importance of attachment minded practice, strengths based approaches, narrative thinking and relationship-based practice in direct work with children, young people, their families and carers. Attention to the user experience, working alongside colleagues from other agencies and disciplines, and anti-oppressive practice feature throughout the programme.Ultimately our aim is for our candidates to be known as 'thinking performers'.


All of our modules aim to address aspects of the Knowledge and Skills Statement for Child and Family Social Work and the domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework at either social worker (modules 1 and 6) or experienced social worker levels (modules 2-5).

Module 1: A Consolidation Module (6 days)

This module includes attention to: diversity, reflection and reflexivity; child development; communication and engagement; interagency working and safeguarding; and information sharing. Ideas from relationship based practice and attachment theory are prominent in the module. The module may be taken during or following the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment and aims to provide a solid grounding from which practitioners should be able to address the Knowledge and Skills Statement for Child and Family Social Work.

Module 2: Law and Professional Practice (5 days)

This module is in two parts - the first 3 days are led by a practising barrister and aims to ensure candidates have an up-to-date grasp of current child care law.  The final 2 days look at presenting complex information in formal arenas (for example at case conferences and court).  There is a strong skills element to this section of the programme.

Module 3: Assessment and Risk (6 days)

This module aims to develop practitioner skills in assessing complex situations and starts with an overview of analysis and assessment in direct practice. Thinking about adult states of mind about their early attachment experiences in the context of assessing caregiving capabilities, as well as assessing risk from a strengths based perspective feature.

Module 4: Child Centred Practice / Child Observation (6 days)

The primary aim of this module is to encourage practitioners to adopt a more child centred (as opposed to child focused) approach to their work. Mind-mindedness is emphasised alongside thinking about practice from a narrative perspective and promoting resiliences. This module includes inputs from service users. 

Module 5: Change, Transitions and Empowerment (6 days)

This module canvasses some of the key ideas about change, particularly in relation to direct work. The importance of transitions and relationships are emphasised alongside motivational interviewing and systemic ideas about change.

Module 6: Practice Education: Stage 1 (5 days)

This module enables candidates to directly supervise, teach and assess social work students (except final year students. Stage 2 will be needed for that). They will have demonstrated and provided evidence of how they met the Stage 1 Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) and shown a sound value base as a practice educator.

Further details about each of these modules can be obtained from the Programme Director.

How is the course assessed?

Module 1: There are three assessed pieces of work: a written case study, a report from the candidate's supervisor on an observed piece of work and the completion of Situational Judgement Inventory.

Module 2: A written 'open book' exam and presentation.

Modules 3, 4 & 5: A written case study and structured critique of an academic paper focusing on a specific area of interest within the area of study (for example, safeguarding the needs of asylum seeking children or young people with mental health problems).

Module 6: A written case study plus specific supporting evidence and direct observation of the candidate's practice.

Candidates also have to provide an additional observation of their direct practice during Modules 3 or 4.

All case studies are approximately 3,000- 4,000 words in length. 

Further information

Start date: September/October

Duration: 2 years (part time)

Fees for the academic year 2015-2016: £690 per module.  Please note there is a discount if two or more candidates are registered on the same module

If you already hold the Consolidation module, the Stage 1 Practice Educator's module or a certificated Practice Teacher Award, or other relevant certificated awards, you may be able to claim exemption from one or two of the modules (provided these meet the requirements for APCL).

Further reading

Papers that make a difference: Download the list of papers here.


Donna Purkiss
Programme Office
Tel: +44(0)121 414 6549

Mark Chesterman
Director of PQ Programmes
Tel: +44(0)121 414 5731

Self-financing applicants should discuss their application with Mark Chesterman prior to submitting any application.