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.

Sing for your Wellbeing!

Following the incredibly successful 'Singing For Wellbeing' event hosted by the Centre for Innovation in Research in Wellbeing on 16 October 2019, the following video has been made to encourage the use of singing to improve mental health.


Thanks to professional film-maker, Caleb Yule, from Stories of Note.

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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