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SWK437 Practice Placement 2

Course convenor: Wendy Tonge

In order to facilitate the process of professional learning, personal development and assessment all social work students must spend at least 170 days gaining required experience and learning in practice settings. Each student should experience practice based learning:

  • In at least two practice settings
  • Of statutory social work tasks involving legal interventions
  • Of providing services to at least two user groups (e.g. child care and mental health)

The setting selected for the last placement must prepare students for the statutory aspects of a social worker's role by offering opportunities to demonstrate engagement with formal assessment processes (observation, gathering of information, analysis, reporting, use of evidence base, development of clear recommendations) to include:

  • Opportunities to reflect on, discuss and analyse appropriate use of authority (PCF 7,6)
  • Understanding and application of legal frameworks relevant for social work practice (PCF 5, 8)
  • Organisational policies and decisions and their impact on service delivery to people who use services (PCF 8)
  • The demands of high pressured environments, where time and competing interests have to be managed effectively (PCF 1)
  • Multiagency working, including planning interventions with other agencies and analysing and managing tensions (PCF 7, 8)
  • Presentation of outcomes of formal assessment processes, including analysis of risk/recommendations in line with organisational policy/procedure in settings such as conferences, panels, meetings, courts (PCF 6,7, 8)
  • Use of formal agency recording for assessment/risk (PCF 1).

Course Aims

By the end of last placement/ the completion of qualifying programmes newly qualified social workers should have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, values and overall capability to work with a range of user groups, and the ability to undertake a range of tasks at a foundation level, the capacity to work with more complex situations; they should be able to work more autonomously, whilst recognising that the final decision will still rest with their supervisor; they will seek appropriate support and supervision.  Learning outcomes across the 9 domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework mean that the student will:
Professionalism -

  • Be able to meet the requirements of the professional regulator
  • Be able to explain the role of the social worker in a range of contexts, and uphold the reputation of the profession
  • Demonstrate an effective and active use of supervision for accountability, professional reflection and development
  • Demonstrate professionalism in terms of presentation, demeanour, reliability, honesty and respectfulness
  • Take responsibility for managing your time and workload effectively, and begin to prioritise your activity including supervision time
  • Recognise the impact of self in interaction with others, making appropriate use of personal experience
  • Be able to recognise and maintain personal and professional boundaries
  • Recognise your professional limitations and how to seek advice
  • Demonstrate a commitment to your continuing learning and development
  • With support, take steps to manage and promote own safety, health, wellbeing and emotional resilience
  • Identify concerns about practice and procedures and, with support, begin to find appropriate means of challenge

Values & Ethics -

  • Understand and apply the profession's ethical principles and legislation, taking account of these in reaching decisions.
  • Recognise and, with support, manage the impact of own values on professional practice
  • Manage potentially conflicting or competing values, and, with guidance, recognise, reflect on, and work with ethical dilemmas
  • Demonstrate respectful partnership work with service users and carers, eliciting and respecting their needs and views, and promoting their participation in decision-making wherever possible
  • Recognise and promote individuals’ rights to autonomy and self-determination
  • Promote and protect the privacy of individuals within and outside their families and networks, recognising the requirements of professional accountability and information sharing

Diversity -

  • Understand how an individual's identity is informed by factors such as culture, economic status, family composition, life experiences and characteristics, and take account of these to understand their experiences, questioning assumptions where necessary
  • With reference to current legislative requirements, recognise personal and organisational discrimination and oppression and with guidance make use of a range of approaches to challenge them
  • Recognise and manage the impact on people  of the power invested in your role

Rights, Justice & Economic Wellbeing -

  • Understand, identify and apply in practice the principles of social justice, inclusion and equality
  • Understand how legislation and guidance can advance or constrain people's rights and recognise how the law may be used to protect or advance their rights and entitlements
  • Work within the principles of human and civil rights and equalities legislation, differentiating and beginning to work with absolute, qualified and competing rights and differing needs and perspectives
  • Recognise the impact of poverty and social exclusion and promote enhanced economic status through access to education, work, housing, health services and welfare benefits
  • Recognise the value of - and aid access to -independent advocacy

Knowledge -

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the application to social work of research, theory and knowledge from sociology, social policy, psychology and health
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the legal and policy frameworks and guidance that inform and mandate social work practice, recognising the scope for professional judgement
  • Demonstrate and apply to practice a working knowledge of human growth and development throughout the life course
  • Recognise the short and long term impact of psychological, socio-economic, environmental and physiological factors on people’s lives, taking into account age and development, and how this informs practice
  • Recognise how systemic approaches can be used to understand the person-in-the-environment and inform your practice
  • Acknowledge the centrality of relationships for people and the key concepts of attachment, separation, loss, change and resilience
  • Understand forms of harm and their impact on people, and the implications for practice, drawing on concepts of strength, resilience, vulnerability, risk and resistance, and apply to practice
  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the range of theories and models for social work intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities, and the methods derived from them
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of social welfare policy, its evolution, implementation and impact on people, social work, other professions, and inter-agency working
  • Recognise the contribution, and begin to make use, of research to inform practice
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of research methods
  • Value and take account of the expertise of service users, carers and professionals

Critical Reflection & Analysis -

  • Apply imagination, creativity and curiosity to practice
  • Inform decision-making through the identification and gathering of information from multiple sources, actively seeking new sources
  • With support, rigorously question and evaluate the reliability and validity of information from different sources
  • Demonstrate a capacity for logical, systematic, critical and reflective reasoning and apply the theories and techniques of reflective practice
  • Know how to formulate, test, evaluate, and review hypotheses in response to information available at the time and apply in practice
  • Begin to formulate and make explicit, evidence-informed judgements and justifiable decisions.

Intervention & Skills -

  • Identify and apply a range of verbal, non-verbal and written methods of communication and adapt them in line with peoples age, comprehension and culture
  • Be able to communicate information, advice, instruction and professional opinion so as to advocate, influence and persuade
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage with people, and build, manage, sustain and conclude compassionate and effective relationships
  • Demonstrate an holistic approach to the identification of needs, circumstances, rights, strengths and risks
  • Select and use appropriate frameworks to assess, give meaning to, plan, implement and review effective interventions and evaluate the outcomes, in partnership with service users
  • Use a planned and structured approach, informed by social work methods, models and tools, to promote positive change and independence and to prevent harm
  • Recognise how the development of community resources, groups and networks enhance outcomes for individuals
  • Maintain accurate, comprehensible, succinct and timely records and reports in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines, to support professional judgement and organisational responsibilities
  • Demonstrate skills in sharing information appropriately and respectfully
  • Recognise complexity, multiple factors, changing circumstances and uncertainty in people’s lives, to be able to prioritise your intervention
  • Understand the authority of the social work role and begin to use this appropriately as an accountable professional
  • Recognise the factors that create or exacerbate risk to individuals, their families or carers, to the public or to professionals, including yourself, and contribute to the assessment and management of risk
  • With support, identify appropriate responses to safeguard vulnerable people and promote their well being

Contexts & Organisations -

  • Recognise that social work operates within, and responds to, changing economic, social, political and organisational contexts
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of social workers in a range of organisations, lines of accountability and the boundaries of professional autonomy and discretion
  • Understand legal obligations, structures and behaviours within organisations and how these impact on policy, procedure and practice
  • Be able to work within an organisation's remit and contribute to its evaluation and development
  • Understand and respect the role of others within the organisation and work effectively with them
  • Take responsibility for your role and impact within teams and be able to contribute positively to effective team working
  • Understand the inter-agency, multi-disciplinary and inter-professional dimensions to practice and demonstrate effective partnership working

Professional Leadership -

  • Recognise the importance of, and begin to demonstrate, professional leadership as a social worker
  • Recognise the value of, and contribute to supporting the learning and development of others

Introductory Reading

Green Lister, P (2012) Integrating social work theory and practice: A practical skills guide. Abingdon: Routledge.

Hammick, M, Freeth, D, Copperman, J, Goodsman, D (2009) Being interprofessional. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Howe, D (2009) A brief introduction to social work theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lindsay, T (ed) (2009) Social work intervention. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Lishman, J. (ed) (2007) Handbook for Practice Learning in Social Work and Social Care. 2nd Ed. London: Jessica Kingsley

Littlechild, B and Smith, R (eds) (2012) A handbook for interprofessional practice in the human services: learning to work together. Harlow: Pearson.

Payne, M (2005) Modern social work theory, 3rd edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  

Pollard, KC, Thomas, J and Miers, M (2010), Understanding interprofessional working in health and social care theory and practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Quinney, A and Hafford-Letchfield, T (2012) Interprofessional social work: Effective collaborative approaches. London

Taylor, BJ (ed) (2011) Working with aggression and resistance in social work. Exeter: Learning Matters 

Teater, B (2010) An introduction to applying social work theories and methods. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Trevithick, P (2012) Social work skills and knowledge: A practice handbook, 3rd edition.  Maidenhead: Open University Press

Walker, S and Beckett, C (2011) Social work assessment and intervention, 2nd edition.  Lyme Regis: Russell House Publishing.


100% Practice Portfolio

MA / PGDip
Social Work



Fees and funding


This programme has been endorsed by TCSW as having met the social work professional quality criteria.



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