In the first year you will study five modules introducing you to the social and organisational content of social work. This introduction to social work will provide you with the opportunity to develop your skills to prepare you for working with service users and carers:
- Psychology and Human Development for Social Work
- Research for Evidence Based Learning
- Social Issues and Social Policy for Social Work
- Social Contexts for Social Work
- Social Work Skills, Values and Approaches
The social work regulatory body, Social Work England, requires that before students go out into their practice placements, they have the basic skills needed to work with a variety of people and to communicate with service users with understanding and respect. As part of the assessment of your ‘readiness for practice learning’, you will carry out an assessed role play interview with a service user or carer and also spend time in a local social care organisation.
Students’ readiness for practice will be assessed through observed simulations. These simulations do not carry academic credits but a pass mark is required to proceed to year 2. Those failing the readiness for practice assessment but passing their academic assessments in year 1 would receive 120 credits and continue with the academic components of year 2 and 3 and would transfer to the existing Level H programme BA Applied Social Sciences. Students who fail the readiness for practice assessment cannot continue on the BA Social Work programme as they cannot undertake placements.
You will complete 70 days professional practice learning, in addition to five academic modules designed to help you develop and apply the knowledge, values and skills required in social work practice.
We currently run an International Exchange Project in second year, where students have the opportunity to go abroad to work with the social work department and social work students from a University in another country. This may be offered for new students, further details to follow.
Students who pass the academic but fail the practice component of Placement 1 will be switched to Reflection on Practice 1.
The University of Birmingham has joined one of the government's Teaching Partnerships. This is the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership and involves the University of Birmingham working collaboratively with 11 Local Authorities. The overall aim of the Partnership is to enhance practice leadership across the region via a 'University at Work' model.
The Teaching Partnership will strengthen the existing relationships between service users, carers, practitioners and academics at the University of Birmingham. The relationship between the University and these 11 Local Authorities will be enhanced in many ways including in terms of placement opportunities.
We will continue to work in collaboration to shape evidence based curriculum that aims to raise the standards of social work education and ensure that it is fit for purpose for local employers.
At present the majority of our Practice Learning Placements are provided by Birmingham City Council. We also have some placements in a range of voluntary and private sector organisations. We also have a few placements with some neighbouring local authorities. However at present we cannot guarantee any placements outside of Birmingham itself and so students who live outside of Birmingham will be required to travel. It is anticipated however that over time, due to the West Midlands Teaching Partnership, placements may become available across a wider range of local authorities within the Teaching partnership.
The placements on offer are challenging and also very rewarding. Some of the areas of social work covered on placement are:
- Family support and prevention
- Domestic violence/Women’s Aid
- Refugee and asylum
- Special educational needs
- Child protection
- Substance misuse
- Mental Health
- Older adults
You will need to be aware that placements in particular areas of interest are not guaranteed. However all placements are quality assured, meet required Social Work England standards and provide a wide range of learning which is transferable to any setting.
In your final year you will complete a further 100-day professional practice placement and the following modules:
- Advanced Practice: Individuals, Families and Communities
- Dissertation A
- Placement 2
- Dissertation B
Students who pass the academic but fail the practice component of Placement 2 will be switched to Reflection on Practice 2.
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2021. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.