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 5th in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2018. 

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.

Talking to vulnerable children on their terms helps to build trust

Polly Cowan has been verbally abused and intimidated with knives. Once, a desperate mother threatened to kill her if she tried to take her child away. "I didn't really believe her." says Cowan, a social worker in Edinburgh. "She was a new mum in a desperate situation; and it is not the case that we want to remove children from their families. Quite the opposite. As social workers, we have to have empathy for families who are in difficulty - often from one generation to the next. They are usually very scared and vulnerable, and the course of action you think is best may not align with what they want for their children."

Cowan took part in Talking and Listening to Children (TLC) - a three-year nationwide study of how social workers communicate with children. Led by academics from the Universities of Sussex, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Queen's Belfast, the research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). 

Read the full article.

Hiba Nour"I really want to use my own experience to help others": Hiba Nour talks about coming from Sudan and becoming a Social Worker

“If someone tells me how they feel they don’t need to say a lot because I will just understand without embarrassing them or asking questions.”

Hiba Nour, 37, has just finished three years studying for her social work degree, she came to the UK eight years ago after feeling unsafe in her home country of Sudan.

“I know about oppression and discrimination because in my country as a female you can be discriminated against and oppressed just for being a woman. One of the reasons I wanted to become a social worker is because I have been abused before.”

On leaving Sudan, Hiba says all she knew about social workers was from watching films where children were taken away from their parents. However after becoming homeless when she arrived in England and coming across social workers herself, Hiba became inspired by their work. She says: “I got some help when I first arrived here in England. I met with some social workers and I started to understand their work was not about snatching children, it was about advocating on behalf of families in need and referring them to services that would be helpful so they could actually stay together. Until then I had no idea social workers could make such positive changes to people’s lives.”

Read the full piece.