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Unit information: Foundations of Social Work: The Professional Role in 2021/22

Unit name Foundations of Social Work: The Professional Role
Unit code SPOLM0032
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Aggie Bezzina
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is intended to provide an introduction to the professional values and principles which are central to the social work role. It familiarises students with the practice of professional social work, the range of methods used by professional social workers. It provides students with the opportunity to examine the principles and values of social work, the ethical standards required of professionals. It will introduce conceptual frameworks for understanding the impact of social inequalities, social injustice and discrimination on people who use social work services and the ways in which these frameworks influence practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate: i) A critical understanding of the role of social work in contemporary British society

ii) The application of ethical principles and values to the professional practice of social work.

iii) A critical understanding of the impact of culture, inequality and diversity on professional practice

iv) Knowledge of the principles of social work intervention in relation to the advancement of human rights and the promotion of social justice.

v) Critical knowledge of a range of social work theories and methods of intervention.

vi) Skills in working as a member of a group in planning, collecting, analysing and presentation.

Teaching Information

This unit will be delivered through a blended learning approach involving a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Synchronous sessions will be with the larger cohort, as well as in smaller seminar groups (on campus or online, depending on what is possible at that point in time). Students will also be expected to engage with an online community-analysis exercise, researching the impact of inequality, discrimination and oppression on the lives of services users from different backgrounds, and the resources available to assist them.

Assessment Information

Formative Group presentation on community profile ( verbal feedback)


A 4000-word essay. (100%).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

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. SPOLM0032).

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.