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.

Black Lives Matter: Statement of Intent

The School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sussex has recently made a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, the UK and around the world.

The Department of Social Work and Social Care has decided that, in addition to a statement of solidarity, to also commit to concerted action in line with the values of the professions we support. As social workers, social care workers, educators and students we are committed to challenging injustice and we must not move on too swiftly without ensuring positive change. We have heard a call to consider more deeply what is happening in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, and what it means for our lives and our work and to change accordingly. This is a Statement of Intent.

Intention to Listen
George Floyd’s words “I can’t breathe” have reverberated around the world. Black people have taken that voice and amplified its call against injustice. This Department states its intention to listen to the concerns of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students, staff and others in the community with whom we work, and to respond to calls for change. We acknowledge that such concerns have long been present, and that they should have been addressed comprehensively before now. The Department commits to finding out directly from existing students and staff their views on the teaching of anti-racism on our courses.

Intention to Learn
The nine minute video of the killing in Minneapolis will undoubtedly become an important tool for learning. It contains not only the voice of George Floyd, but also the face and the look of the police officer with his knee on his neck. The look on the face of that police officer - and his whole demeanour - is an object lesson for those holding any authority. It is one of entitlement, privilege and complacency. Even more prominent in the video is the face of one of the other police officer present who saw his job as crowd control, holding people back to give his colleague space to do what he saw as his work. Whatever our espoused principles, and however we may believe we have acted upon them, there is no place for complacency. The hard questions we as individuals and as a Department are committed to ask and learn from include:

  • What has our own complacency led to?
  • What have our previous intentions not achieved?
  • Have we limited ourselves to crowd control?  
  • Where have we failed to act at all?
  • How have the structures in which we work as academics and social workers influenced or reinforced our action - or non-action?
  • How is white privilege embedded in our majority white department? 

Intention to Act
The answers to these and other questions, and the results of the whole listening process, must result in concrete actions. The Department commits to reviewing its teaching on anti-racism across courses in the light of views that will be obtained. It commits to deepening its appreciation of the history of racism, and its current impact on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students and what can be done to resist that. Beyond that, it would be premature at this stage to comment on what any other concrete actions will be, but the Department will not allow this moment to pass without decisions and actions on change. This Statement of Intent will therefore be followed by a clear commitment to a set of agreed actions.  

Department of Social Work and Social Care, University of Sussex
12 June 2020

Winter Graduation 2020: Lucinda's story

Read Lucinda Strong's inspirational first-hand account of finally getting into Sussex, her preferred university, and studying for a Social Work MA whilst also being mother to a one year old and dealing with a lifelong illness.

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.

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