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Readiness for Practice - SPY00068M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Andrew Hill
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18 to Spring Term 2017-18

Module aims

This module is intended to provide students with an initial understanding of social work practice, and the role of the social worker. It provides opportunities for professional development, so that by the mid-point of the module they will demonstrate readiness for direct practice. By the end of the module, students will demonstrate theoretical understanding of the practice basis of social work and the associated tensions, primarily: competing rights and values; ethical problems; the nature and impact of power differentials; competing perspectives on roles and tasks; the purpose and practices of different agencies. Opportunities will be provided for skill development and students will engage with both service user and employer perspectives. Students will shadow an experienced social worker for one day. Professional Development Groups will provide a thinking space for students to integrate knowledge from all three modules, and to reflect on their personal and professional development.
Communication and Assessment Skills
It is assumed that Masters students enter the social work programme with the ability to communicate sensitively with people in a range of diverse, usually voluntary settings. This module aims to verify and extend these skills. The module aims to establish both academic and performative understanding of the core skills of effective communication. Students will consider strategies for employing core skills in the context of professional social work, in which relationship-building must encompass significant power differentials, due to the statutory nature of many roles and tasks. To this end, the module will develop an understanding of the range of social and ethical complexities often present in social work assessment and will offer simulated opportunities to adapt core skills to achieve sensitive, ethical and effective communicative practice in social work situations. Students will be introduced to the conceptual and research base of communication practice, and will critically research and theorise aspects relevant to social work. Students will explore and consider different approaches to assessment. Preparation for Practice The module aims to introduce students to a range of perspectives, through service user accounts of social service provision, employer expectations, and the observation of social workers in the workplace. The ethical and value base of social worker will be central to the analysis of these accounts. Concepts of critical reflection will also be introduced. These sessions will prepare students for professional practice by introducing them to the HCPC's Standards of Proficiency, the Professional Capabilities Framework, and by preparing them for placement assessment processes such as holistic assessment and direct observation.
Practice skills days
In preparation for the first placement, seven separate days will give students the opportunity to develop practice skills. Topics will include:
  • Assessment skills
  • Working with substance misuse
  • Working with trauma
  • Intervention skills
  • Working with violence and aggression
  • Report writing
  • Developing emotional intelligence
Integrative skills days
These days aim to bring together the three strands of knowledge, context and practice in order to develop the skills needed in specific areas of social work. A whole week will be spent on each of 4 topics, with students having preparatory research tasks to complete individually in groups for the first three days, followed by 2 days of face to face teaching and learning.
Topics will include:
  • Working with poverty
  • Working with domestic abuse
  • Working with race and ethnicity
  • Skills in child and adult protection
Professional Development Groups
The module aims to support the integration of knowledge from all three modules. Personal responses to new knowledge and experience, as well as seminar discussion of guided reading, will take place in a facilitated group so that students are able to explore their development in a small group environment, and to establish their own distinctive identity as a social worker.
Relationship to the domains of the PCF
This module aims to contribute to the ability of students to demonstrate their readiness to practice and end of first placement capabilities in the following principle domains:
  • professionalism
  • values and ethics
  • critical reflection and analysis
  • intervention and skills
and to contribute to their capabilities in these additional domains:
  • diversity
  • rights, justice and economic wellbeing
  • values and ethics
  • knowledge
  • professional leadership

Module learning outcomes

Subject Content

  • By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • An understanding of the significance of communication in social work practice, with service users and between professionals
  • An understanding of theories and models for communication in social work practice, with service users and between professionals, including models for work with resistance and conflict
  • Capability in communication at the readiness to practice level
  • An understanding of assessment models in social work practice, including risk assessment and the development of hypotheses
  • Capability in assessment, using simulated cases, at the readiness to practice level
  • An understanding of service user knowledge and experience of social work practice, including the emotional dynamics of relationships with professionals
  • An understanding of the professional context for social work practice, including professional boundaries, workload, health, safety, wellbeing and emotional resilience
  • An understanding of the employment context for social work practice, including roles and responsibilities in supervision, and the significance of professional leadership
  • An understanding of the role of the social worker in a particular social organisation
  • An initial understanding of the variety of sources of knowledge that they can draw upon in making decisions and arriving at judgements in social work;
  • Capability in critical reflective thinking, specifically to describe and analyse their personal and professional development, with a focus on communication skills
  • An understanding of key concepts relating to reflective practice and its significance

Academic and graduate skills
By the end of the module student will be able to:

  • Identify and analyse theoretical issues in lived world situations
  • Demonstrate transferable interpersonal skills
  • Understand the employment context of the chosen professional field


Task Length % of module mark
Communication Skills Audit
N/A 0
Communication skills essay
N/A 50
Preparation for Practice workbook
N/A 50

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Communication Skills Audit
N/A 0
Communication skills essay
N/A 50
Preparation for Practice workbook
N/A 50

Module feedback

Feedback matrix, 4 weeks

Indicative reading

  • Bell, M. & Wilson, K. (2003) The Practitioners Guide to Working with Families,Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Egan, G. (2006) The Skilled Helper: a problem-management and opportunity development approach to helping (8th edition), London: Wadsworth.
  • Ferguson, H. (2010) Walks, Home Visits, Atmospheres: Risk and Everyday Practices and Mobilities of Social Work and Child Protection, British Journal of Social Work. 40(4): 1100-1117.
  • Koprowska J. (2010) Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Social Work, Exeter:Learning Matters.
  • Killick, J. & Allan, K. (2001) Communication and the Care of People with Dementia, Milton Keynes: OU Press.
  • Lefevre, M. (2010) Communicating with Children and Young People: Making a difference,Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Lishman, J. (2009) Communication in Social Work (2nd Edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Munro, E. (2011) The Munro Review of Child Protection: Final Report - A child-centred system, Cm 8062, The Stationary Office, Norwich. Available at:
  • Preston-Shoot, M. (2003, 2nd edn) Effective Group Work, Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Szmukler, G. & Applebaum, P. S. (2008). Treatment pressures, leverage, coercion, and compulsion in mental health care. Journal of Mental Health, 17(3): 233-244.
  • Online (Yorkshare VLE): Yorkshare VLE: Service User and Carer Participation Centre:

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

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