Foundations for social work practice
Are you interested in social work or social care? Whatever your starting point, this key introductory OU level 1 module will develop your knowledge of the key roles of social work, and introduce the social work standards and codes of practice relevant to each UK nation. You will also build key skills in information and communication technologies (ICT), information literacy and reflective writing. This module includes a minimum 10-day period of verified practice learning in a social care/social work setting, which you will be responsible for organising and attendance at eight workshops.
Registration onto this module doesn't lead to automatic entry to a social work degree. To register for this degree, you must meet a number of criteria, outlined in the sections on the BA (Hons) Social Work (England) or (Scotland).
KYJ113 is not available to students studying in Wales, where students should study Foundations for social work practice (KZW113) instead.
What you will study
The module concentrates on writing about practice, and learning how to apply theoretical learning to practice contexts. The module is divided into eight blocks of learning. Each block covers a particular aspect of understanding social work and use case study material to illustrate and apply these ideas into practice situations.
Block 1 - provides an overview of some of the ideas about how individual psychology and identity are relevant to all social work settings. This includes what values underpin professional identity in the complex situations social workers deal with.
Block 2 - explores the social context that is important both to understand how services are delivered, but also the wider supports and environments that can support or restrict people’s opportunities and life chances. How social workers are concerned with these inequalities, and issues of social justice are examined.
Block 3 - uses children and family work to consider how and why social workers might come to be engaged with people.
Block 4 - concentrates on using issues facing older people in coming to consider the skills and approaches to formal assessment in social work, and how to establish an understanding of someone’s situation.
Block 5 - develops social work approaches of groups and community work to support people with mental health distress. The themes of stigma and discrimination are explored in particular and the models of the constructive ways social workers can address these issues.
Block 6 - provides information about adults with learning disabilities and in particular how their engagement in reviews of services they receive personally, or more general service reviews and evaluations is an important principle for social work with all service users and their carers.
Block 7 - uses models of work with families with children with disabilities to consider partnership working and ideas of early intervention in social work.
Block 8 - concentrates on the issues of professional development and understanding of the personal and regulatory requirements for individuals wishing to develop their professionalism generally or continue with the social work programme.
In addition, to pass the module assessment, you will be required to:
- complete a minimum period of 10 days verified practice learning in a social care/social work setting. It will be your responsibility to arrange the practice experience including identifying a verifier. To carry out this shadowing experience you may be asked to provide a current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) certificate. If you do not have a certificate and one is required, it will be your responsibility to negotiate and fund it.
It is also recommended that you shadow a social worker during your 10-day practice experience. This is not a requirement, however, if this opportunity is not available.
- attend eight one-day practice skills workshops (normally held on a Saturday) with your tutor group to provide you with the chance to explore the theoretical themes in relation to the realities of social work practice.
During this module you will develop your ICT skills and can gain marks for this both in continuous assessment and in the end-of-module assessment. There are also online discussions that take place immediately after each workshop to continue your interactions with your tutor and fellow students and develop your online communication skills.
Successful completion of KYJ113 does not lead to automatic entry to the social work degree programme in England and Scotland as you must meet specific requirements.
To subsequently gain sponsorship and entry onto the Social Work programme you must be working in a social care setting and be sponsored by your employer. You will then be able to count KYJ113, in addition to any other relevant module studied e.g. An introduction to health and social care (K101), towards your degree. KYJ113 cannot be counted towards the social work degree in Wales.
This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, which help you to progress to modules at OU level 2.
You are strongly recommended to have some experience in a social care setting. This could include voluntary work. You are strongly recommended to consider studying An introduction to health and social care (K101), or a social science module e.g. Introducing the social sciences (DD102) before or alongside KYJ113.
Studying social work is demanding, if you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
You will receive guidance of how to get started online in your first module mailing. This will provide you with information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, it explains how to access and use your website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the module starts, you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.
All study materials are provided.
You will need
Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word and Excel).
Social work settings almost always require the use of Windows-based computers and Microsoft Office applications. Many digital literacy activities within the Social Work Programme are therefore based on the Windows operating system and on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Students should ensure that they have access to the above software for the duration of the programme, and we strongly recommend that they are run on a Microsoft Windows-based computer.
We recommend that you purchase the following book:
Davies, M. (ed) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work (4th edn) Wiley-Blackwell £28.99 - ISBN 9781118451724
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- macOS 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To participate in our online discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.