module specification

IF3069 - Understanding Social Work (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Understanding Social Work
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
114 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 50%   Group work practical oral exam
Coursework 50%   Practical written exam 1000-1500 words
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Friday Afternoon
Spring semester North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module is an introduction to social work and will provide students with a broader understanding of social work as a professional discipline, the various roles of social worker, as well as the socio-political context within which social work services are delivered. The relevant values and ethical frameworks which underpin direct social work practice will be explored, as examining how values influence professional identity. Furthermore, students will be introduced to various service user groups and models of practice, and also examine the importance of social justice and human rights in advocating on behalf of service users. There is an emphasis on communication skills, reflective practice, and the importance of understanding how legislation underpins all decision making in social work practice.
Passing the two practical assessments will gain 15 academic credits  for the module.

PLEASE NOTE: For entry into level 4 BSc Social Work, students must have completed and passed both practical exams. They will then be invited for an individual interview which they must successfully complete for successful progression to the Level 4 BSc Social Work degree. This is a requirement of the HCPC (Health & Care Professional Council) If the assessment is passed and credits gained, but the outcome of the interview is unsuccessful, candidates will be offered progression to alternative degree pathways.

Aims of the module:
● Provide an understanding of the types of social work and the various roles social workers adopt in their daily practice
● Examine the values and ethical frameworks which underpin social work
● Develop understanding of the socio-political context within which social work services are delivered
● Develop the relevant communication and reflective practice skills
● Prepare for the formal social work interview process. Passing the individual interview is required for successful progression to the Level 4 BSc Social Work degree.


● What is Social Work? Is Social Work the right profession for you?
● Preparing for your social work interview for entry to the degree
● Communication skills/reflective practice
● What values underpin social work practice and professional identity
● Explore the ethical frameworks which guide social work
● Social work is a regulated profession – what does this mean?
● Examine the social context that is important to understand how social work services are delivered
● Explore the various roles of social work. What do social workers do?
● Understand the importance of social justice and human rights
● Examine diversity and difference within anti-oppressive social work
● What role does legislation play in underpinning social work?
● Service user groups and models of practice (adult and elder care, children and families/young adults, mental health, disabilities, inter-agency working)

Learning Outcomes LO1 - LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will be delivered through lectures, seminars, workshops and blended learning. Materials and interactive information will be provided on the virtual learning environment. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own personal, academic and professional development. There will be 36 hours of scheduled learning and teaching, and 114 hours of guided independent study.

Learning outcomes

1. Define the roles and types of social work practice
2. Examine social work values, ethics and professional identity
3. Develop personal and professional communication and reflective practice skills
4. Examine a diverse range of service user groups and models of practice
5. Develop understanding of social justice, human rights, diversity and difference within an anti-oppressive framework.

Assessment strategy

Describe the assessment instruments and provide a rationale for them in terms of the learning outcomes that they assess.
The  module assessment is designed to assess all five learning outcomes and replicate written and practical exams and prepare the individual interview and used for level 4 entry. Both components of the assessment need to be completed and passed in order to progress to level 4.


Identify core and additional reading
Liaise with Library Services to confirm availability of on-line licenses in academic year

Where possible, the most current version of reading materials is used during the delivery of this module.  Comprehensive reading lists are provided to students in their handbooks.  Reading Lists will be updated annually.

Textbooks:Core Text:
1. Lishman,J. Chris Yuill, C. Brannan, J. &  Gibson, A. (2017) Social Work: An Introduction (Second Edition). SAGE

Other Texts:
1. Banks, S (2006) Ethics and Values in Social Work (3rd edition) Basingstoke: Macmillan
2. Dalrymple, J. and Burke, B. (2006) Anti-Oppressive Practice: Social Care and the Law.  2nd edition Bucks: Open University Press.
3. Penketh, L and Lavalette, M (2013) Race, Racism and Social Work, Policy Press.
1. Community Care
2. British Journal of Social Work
1. Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) (2012) Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students.
2. Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency (SOP) SocialworkersinEngland.pdf
3. Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)
Electronic Databases:
Social Media Sources
The Guardian