Department of Social Work and Social Care


Looking for a placement? To offer you the best opportunities for on-the-job training, we have developed close links with local authorities, schools, colleges and various social care settings.

About practice learning

All students on qualifying social work courses must complete 200 practice learning days, including two block placements and practice development workshops. 

We work closely with our local partner agencies who provide exciting and a varied range of practice learning opportunities in both the statutory and non-statutory sectors. While on placement, you are assessed and supported by experienced placement supervisors, practice educators and practice educator consultants. Additional support is provided by university Academic Advisors and Student Services where required.

The Director of Practice Learning is responsible for organising and arranging placements, matching students with placements and preparing them - and the practice educators - for the placement seminar series.

You are expected to demonstrate readiness to engage in direct practice before embarking on any direct work or practice placements with vulnerable people.

Practice learning on our undergraduate course (Social Work BA)

  • Stage one of your training involves a range of activities preparing you for practice. You will undertake a four-day work shadowing placement in a statutory agency, as well as observational activities. The readiness for direct practice is assessed through a range of tasks and a verbal examination (VIVA).
  • For stage two, you will undertake the first professional practice placement of 70 days in the local community.
  • For stage three, you will undertake your final professional practice placement of 100 days in the local community.

 Practice Development Workshops are delivered across all three years of the course.

Practice learning on our postgraduate course (Social Work MA)

Before you start working on placement, you will be involved in a range of activities preparing you for practice; one of the requirements before you start the MA is to undertake a four-day work shadowing placement of a Social Worker in a statutory agency.

  • In Year 1, Semester 1 your readiness for direct practice is assessed through a verbal examination (VIVA).
  • In Year 1, Semester 2 you will undertake the first professional practice placement of 70 days in the local community.
  • In Year 2 you will undertake your final professional practice placement of 100 days in the local community.

Practice Development Workshops are delivered across both years of the course.

Types of placement

Placements vary from year to year, taking place both in the statutory and voluntary sector. Examples of placement settings include :

Children and family placements

These include duty teams, long-term teams, family centres, children's hospitals, child protection services, children's disability teams, fostering and adoption services.

Adult and community care placements

These include older people's assessment teams, hospital-based teams, community mental health teams, independent living teams, day centres, disability teams, homelessness and addiction services, and residential units.


Since 2018, the Department of Social Work & Social Care at Sussex has been part of a flagship teaching partnership with East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Brighton. The South Coast Regional Centre for Education (SCRC) focuses on delivering excellent social work education on the frontline with funding from the Government's Department for Education. Consisting of three hubs - the Student Learning Hub, the Professional Development Hub and the Practice Research Hub - the SCRC provides an enhanced teaching and placement experience for students, a defined career pathway for social work practitioners and research which is driven by issues experienced by adults and children’s social workers.
See the internal release for more details.