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 15th in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2019.

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.

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."

Gillian RuchPivotal role for University of Sussex in national programme developing careers in social work

The University of Sussex has been selected to play a key role in a nationwide career development programme supporting social workers.

Research in Practice (RiP), together with a group of partners including the University of Sussex, have formed a consortium to develop and deliver a national Practice Supervisor Development Programme (PSDP) funded by the Department for Education.

The programme is a significant investment by the Department for Education (DfE) and aims to provide high-quality continuous professional development (CPD) to up to 700 social workers taking up their first role in which they are responsible for supporting and developing the practice of others.

The wholly not-for-profit consortium led by RiP includes: The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, University of Sussex and Goldsmiths, University of London. 

Read the full article.

My journey as a social work student from placement to recruitment

Check out the Social Work in East Sussex blog which currently features a post by Sophie Stone, former Sussex Social Work BA student entitled 'My journey as a social work student from placement to recruitment'.

Blog editor, Nicola Mcgeown, is Principal Social Worker in Children's Services at East Sussex County Council.

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.