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Unit information: Practice Learning 1 in 2021/22

Unit name Practice Learning 1
Unit code SPOLM5103
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Ms. Tamlyn
Open unit status Not open



Social Work Studies 1 SPOLM5102

Applied Social Sciences and Law, SPOLM0034

Foundations of Social Work: The Professional Role SPOLM0032

School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit comprises two parts. Part One seeks to ensure that students are ready to commence practice-based learning. Teaching covers the core tasks and skills of social work practice, and is supported by skills-based workshops, aimed at ensuring that students have a basic competence in communication and interviewing skills. The rationale for Part One derives from the Department of Health (2002) requirement to ensure that social work students are safe to practice before undertaking any placement. Part Two of the unit provides students with a practice placement of 70 days, in an agency setting, supervised and assessed by a suitably qualified and experienced practice educator. Placements in the region are managed on a cooperative basis involving key HEIs and placement agencies. Students’ practice is assessed according to the Standards of Proficiency, which are minimum standards set by the Health and Care Professions Council. This is taken together with the Professional Capabilities Framework established by The College for Social Work which is designed to enable an holistic assessment of student capabilities beyond basic minimum standards. Placements are monitored and evaluated via established arrangements for quality assurance.

The aims of the unit are:

i) To enable students to develop a critical understanding of the common stages and processes of helping people and to think systematically about their work.

ii) To equip students to see beyond the individual cases to the family, the community, and the broader social context out of which social problems arise so that they can try to intervene at the most appropriate point.

iii) To review the core values of social work and develop students’ awareness of their implications in practice.

iv) To ensure that students are competent in communication and interviewing skills and that they are safe to begin practice learning.

v) To provide students with a practice placement in a social work context, managed and assessed according to the Standards of Proficiency for Social Work (Health and Care Professions Council), the Professional Capabilities Framework (The College of Social Work), and the Department of Health (2002) Requirements for Social Work Training.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will have the abilities to:

i) apply their knowledge of the stages of the helping process and the skills associated with each;

ii) be able critically to use law, policy, theory and research to inform practice at the level of a beginning practitioner;

iii) demonstrate a sound foundation in communication and interviewing skills;

iv) practise, in a social work setting, the Standards of Proficiency and the Social Work Capabilities, to a level commensurate with a student part-way through initial professional education;

vi) incorporate core social work values into their practice, recognising diversity and human rights, and, with support, address ethical dilemmas that arise in practice, making appropriate responses, both personally and professionally;

vii) understand and apply standards of professional behaviour appropriate to pre-qualifying levels of study;

viii) apply, with support and supervision, critical reflection and analysis in the practice context.

Teaching Information

Lectures, skills workshops, practice learning in a social work setting, supervised and assessed by a suitably qualified practice educator.Some placement opportunities will operate remotely , details to be finalised at practice learning agreement meetings

Assessment Information

In line with professional requirements, part one will be assessed by each student producing a portfolio of work that demonstrates their readiness to undertake direct practice. This information will be examined alongside DBS checks and personal references and a report from a qualified social worker whom the student will have shadowed for 2 days.( remote arrangements may need to be arranged for this ) This work will all be assessed on a pass / fail basis, and all elements must be passed.

Part two will be the assessment of practice by the practice educator in consultation with a University tutor and other relevant people who may be involved with the placement) and by a Practice analysis (currently set at 4000 words) marked by the University tutor. The outcome of the Practice Analysisi will provide the recorded mark for the unit. The student s practice will be assessed through the Practice Assess


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If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOLM5103).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.