School of Education and Social Work

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Welcome to the Department of Social Work and Social Care

Social work at Sussex is currently ranked 7th in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Social work is a rapidly changing profession and here at Sussex we are at the forefront of innovation and development. We offer attractive opportunities in a department noted for its strength in professional education and its contribution to professional knowledge and practice.

We are among the leading institutions in the UK for the quality of our research. The Department currently hosts three research centres: The Centre for Innovation and Research in Wellbeing (CIRW), the Centre for Innovation and Research in Social Work (CSWIR), and the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY). We also have a proud tradition of providing rewarding opportunities for study, whether at initial qualifying, post-qualifying or doctoral levels.

We constantly build on our strong track record of interdisciplinarity to develop new approaches to inter-professional learning and research which recognise both the distinctiveness and the interconnected nature of social work as a discipline and a profession.

#KitbagCampaign seeks to provide all social workers with toys to build relations with the children they visit

The ‘Kitbag Campaign’ is a call to local authorities “to supply social workers with play materials to help build better relations with children” following research which suggested that “fewer than 20% of social work practitioners currently use play resources during their work with children.” Professor Gillian Ruch led the research as part of the Talking and Listening to Children project - a collaboration between the University of Sussex, Cardiff University, Queen’s University in Belfast and the University of Edinburgh. Social workers at Brighton and Hove City Council will be the first English local authority staff to have access to the Kitbag to use in a six month trial. 
The next step for the project is to get a comprehensive picture of what materials councils from around the country are supplying for their staff currently.
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Applications now being taken for PG Diploma in Social Work (Step Up) 2020!

‘Step Up to Social Work’ is an intensive 14-month, full-time programme for trainee social workers who will undertake academic learning and skills development at university and complete practice placements within a local authority to gain hands-on practitioner experience. Following successful completion of the programme, trainees are awarded a postgraduate diploma in social work allowing them to register and practise as a social worker. Step Up trainees receive a bursary of £19,833 for the duration of the course (may be subject to change).

For more details - including eligibility – and to apply, visit the DfE website

If you want to study at Sussex, you will need to start your application process by clicking on the 'Apply' icon against 'Brighton & Hove City Council and East Sussex County Council' as your preferred Local Authority provider.

Step Up to Social Work is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Social Work faculty scoop prestigious award for paper in British Journal of Social Work

Huge congrats to Michelle Lefevre, Kristi Hickle, Barry Luckock and Gillian Ruch have won the British Journal of Social Work's prestigious Kay McDougall prize 2018 for their paper 'Building trust with children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation: The professional challenge', British Journal of Social Work, Volume 47, Issue 8, 1 December 2017, Pages 2456 -2473

The award is based on:

  • Breadth of scholarship
  • Sophistication of theory
  • Rigour of research
  • Relevance to practice
  •  International appeal

Louise SimsDoctoral Researcher, Louise Sims', "beautifully written" essay wins Clare Winnicott Essay Award 2018 for social work practitioners and students

Louise Sims, final stage Doctoral Researcher on the PhD in Social Work and Social Care, submitted what became a winning essay for the Clare Winnicott Essay Awards 2018. Juliet Koprowska, Chair of GAPS (Group for the Advancement of Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy in Social Work), said of Louise's submission which was entitled 'Making and Breaking Families: A short essay on loss, hope and staying connected':

"Your essay is beautifully written and showed creative flair in the approach that you took. We are confident that the readers of the journal (Journal of Social Work Practice) will enjoy your insights as much as the panel of readers did".  

Every year, two awards are made by GAPS with a prize of £300 in honour of Clare Winnicot, OBE. The competition aims to encourage writing among practitioners and students who have not previously been published. Winning essays are published in the Journal of Social Work Practice.

Speaking of her submission and delight at scooping her prize, Louise said:

"Clare Winnicott's work has always spoken to me as a social worker. Her writing is thoughtful and wonderfully clear-sighted. She was writing about children's everyday emotional experiences in ways that were exploratory and pioneering for her time (her husband did some interesting work too!). I loved writing this essay because I felt/feel connected to her. I also wanted to support the aspiration behind this competition, recognising our history and our evolution as an intellectual and applied discipline. Claire's work reminds us to keep challenging ourselves and to try and forge connections to each other. Everyone interested in social work should read her."

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