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Social Work with Adults - SPY00130M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Polly Sykes
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module summary

This module is designed for students who intend to work as a social worker with adults, in the fields of health and disability or mental health social work.  The broad aim is to support students to build up specialist knowledge in relation to adults social work, to help prepare them for future practice.  The module will also enable students to explore in greater depth the range of practice within adults social work, so they feel able to make informed decisions about potential future pathways in social work. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module builds upon students’ practice experience and learning in stage one of the programme, so that they are prepared and able to work in a range of situations and settings related to specialist areas within adults social work.  Specifically in relation to mental health, it provides an overview of different mental health problems (schizophrenia, personality disorder, depression); ways of understanding them (theories of mental health); and socially-oriented ways of intervening. In relation to health and disability, it gives an overview of specific life-long, on-set and temporary health and disability needs and an insight into the theories drawn upon to understand and intervene (such as the social model of disability, life course approaches and person-centred theory). The module provides an overview of: the range of issues that arise in assessment, planning and intervention (including capacity and safeguarding);

and current policy and practice approaches (including personalisation). It incorporates the perspectives of those who use the service, as well as contemporary practice and research both from the UK and internationally. The module aims to locate adults social work within a critically informed theoretical framework. 

  • Relationship to the domains of the PCF:

This module aims to contribute to the ability of students to demonstrate that they have reached the qualifying level descriptors in all 9 of the domains of the PCF

  • Relationship to the KSS for social workers in adult services:

This module aims to prepare students for their first year in post-qualifying practice by contributing to their development across relevant aspects of the KSS.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will:

  • Have a critical appreciation of the difficulties and experiences relating to health / mental health needs that bring individuals into contact with social services.
  • Conceptualise these difficulties and experiences drawing on theory to inform their understanding.
  • Be aware of the different roles and specialisms for social workers in the field of adults social work.
  • Demonstrate a reflective awareness of the nature of anti-oppressive practice in this area of social work and the dynamics of partnership working with individuals.
  • Be able to place social work with adults within organisational and interagency contexts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current research both nationally and internationally in the field, and the ability to evaluate and make use of it.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the legal and policy context for adults social work
  • Critically analyse specialist assessment and intervention models, including for risk assessment and management
  • Reflect critically on their own practice within the specialist fields encompassed by adults social work.

Academic and graduate skills

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Work effectively as part of a peer-supported learning community
  • Present information in a visually effective format to a specialist audience. 
  • Demonstrate their in depth knowledge of health & disability and the relevance of their learning to their future career.
  • Understand the role of the KSS as a framework for post-qualifying practice in the statutory sector.

Module content

The module runs through the Autumn and Spring terms, and students will also be on placement throughout the majority of the module.  This means that the teaching for this module takes place in ‘recall days’ from placement. 


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 60
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Poster Presentation
N/A 40

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 60
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Poster Presentation
N/A 40

Module feedback

Students will receive support for the essay throughout the Autumn and Spring term and will receive marks and written feedback within 4 weeks of submission.  The formative presentations will have immediate verbal feedback from peers and staff.  The poster presentations will be discussed as part of the ‘conference’ session, and formal marks and feedback given within 4 weeks. 

Indicative reading

  • Bailey, D (ed.) (2000), At the Core of Mental Health: Key Issues for Practitioners, Managers and Mental Health Trainers, Brighton: Pavilion
  • Barker, P. (ed.) (2011) Mental Health Ethics: the Human Context, Abingdon: Routledge
  • Bogg, B. (2008) The Integration of Mental Health Social Work and the NHS, Exeter: Learning Matters
  • Bracken, P. and Thomas P. (2005) Postpsychiatry: Mental Health in a Postmodern World, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Coppock, V. and Dunn, B. (2010) Understanding Social Work Practice in Mental Health, London: Sage
  • Coppock, V. and Hopton, J. (2000) Critical Perspectives on Mental Health, London: Routledge
  • Davies, M. (2012). Social work with adults.  Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Fawcett, B. and Karban, K. (2005) Contemporary Mental Health: Theory, Policy and Practice, Abingdon: Routledge
  • Fletcher, A. and Sayce, L. (2015). Taking Charge : a Practical Guide to Living with a Disability or Health condition.  London: Disability Rights UK.
  • Gardner, A. (2014). Personalisation in Social Work. (2nd ed.). London: Learning Matters.
  • Grant, G. (2010). Learning Disability : a Life Cycle Approach. Maidenhead : Open University Press.
  • Gilbert, P. (2003) The Value of Everything: Social Work and its Importance in the Field of Mental Health, Lyme Regis: Russell House
  • Golightley, M. (2008) Social Work and Mental Health (3rd ed.) Exeter: Learning Matters
  • Gould, N. (2010) Mental Health Social Work in Context, Abingdon: Routledge
  • Hughes, J. and Lackenby, N. (2015). Achieving Successful Transitions for Young People with Disabilities: a Practical Guide.  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Johnson, K., Walmsley, J. with Wolfe, M. (2010). People with intellectual disabilities [electronic resource] : towards a good life? Bristol : Policy Press.
  • Karban, K. (2011) Social Work and Mental Health, Cambridge: Polity
  • Littlechild, R. and Glasby, J. (2016). Direct Payments and Personal Budgets : Putting Personalisation into Practice. (3rd ed).  Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Mandelstam, M. (2009). Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and the Law.  London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Oliver, M., Sapey, B. and Thomas, P. (2012). Social Work with Disabled People.  Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Pritchard, C. (2006) Mental health social work-evidence based practice, London: Routledge
  • Ramon, S. and Williams, J. (Eds.) (2005) Mental Health at the Crossroads: the Promise of the Psychosocial Approach, Aldershot: Ashgate
  • Tew, J (ed) (2005) Social Perspectives in Mental Health: Developing Social Models to Understand and Work with Mental Distress. London: Jessica Kingsley
  • Tew, J. (2011) Social Approaches to Mental Distress, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Webber, M. (2008) Evidence Based Policy and Practice in Mental Health Social Work, Exeter: Learning Matters

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.