Children, Young People, Families and Carers (Specialist Post Qualifying Award in Social Work)
The course aims to provide qualified social workers with an advanced level of critical knowledge and understanding that underpins current practice and to develop practitioners' professional careers in this specialist area of work.
Modes of study
All profession-specific modules (of which there are six) are delivered during a block of five days of contact teaching at Park Campus. The exception to this is the Enabling Others module which runs over a five month period.
Entrants must be qualified social workers practising within the field of children and families.
Length of study
Flexible due to module structure
Flexible due to module structure
Consolidation of Social Work Qualifying Competence
This module allows qualified social workers to develop additional competence in depth in the area of specialist social work practice with children, young people, families and carers. The aim is to equip professional practitioners to progress further in their careers and to think critically about their other practice by developing critical thinking skills and confidence in working in inter-professional and inter-agency contexts. Teaching is focused within a practice-centred environment that includes class and work-based learning.
Promoting the Development of Children and Young People
This module will take full account of the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with a range of 'additional' and 'complex' needs and will therefore promote the growth of knowledge and skills and assess competent and effective practice. It examines and critically evaluates models and theories of human development, including the milestones children need to achieve for optimal development taking into account the diversity of children's life experiences, abilities and the impact of trauma.
Families and Carers in Social and Environmental Contexts
This module is designed to help students look at the construction of the family and what this means in a contemporary society set within the context of environmental and global issues. Students will be encouraged to scrutinise those organisations that have a statutory duty and responsibility to provide support and safeguarding services to children and young people within their identified community.
Understanding Social Policy and Applying Legal Frameworks Associated with Safeguarding Responsibilities
This module will emphasise the importance of working effectively with other members of the children's workforce to promote and protect the well-being and welfare of children and young people by enabling them to critically apply knowledge and understanding of the relevant legal frameworks.
Evidence Informed Professional Practice and User focussed Values
This module will draw upon a range of knowledge sources that include: organisational, practitioner, policy, community, research and user and carer knowledge. These different sources of knowledge shape the nature and scope of social work interventions. This module will provide social workers with an understanding of social work research and its implications for evidence-based practice.
Additional Competence in Enabling Others in Mentoring, Practice Teaching and Assessment
Integral to the new Post Qualifying framework is the principle that professional development is a holistic process. This is a process whereby individuals acquire knowledge and skills in different areas, which then combine with one another to promote a deeper sense of overall professional identity. The module is underpinned by a commitment to continuing professional development (CPD) that is to further professional knowledge and competence and enable that of others. A requirement for this module is the assessment of an undergraduate social work student.
Evidence-based Healthcare Research
This module will introduce students to the concept of evidence-based healthcare (EBHC) for health and social care professionals. Students will develop the skills required to find and review research evidence in their professional field. This will provide the knowledge base required in order to apply this approach to a work-based problem.
Evidence-based Research Project
This module gives students an opportunity to apply their learning to a 'real world' problem by selecting a practice issue relevant to their working environment and to explore it from an evidence-based perspective. By using this contemporary approach to research, students will develop important academic and professional skills which will facilitate future work-based learning. In addition to individual tutorial support and self-directed study, this module will also be supported by a programme of workshops and seminars. These sessions will focus on generic issues concerning evidence-based research and the production of a dissertation (15,000-18,000 words).
Special course features
The course comprises of six (20 credit) profession specific modules.
After completion of the six modules, student will be awarded the Specialist Post Qualifying in Social Work Award.
Students can progress with their studies to obtain the MA in Children, Young People, Families and Carers by completing two additional modules: Research Methods and a practice-based dissertation.
Six (20 credit) profession specific modules
- Consolidation of Social Work
- Promoting the development of children and young people
- Families and carers in social and environmental contexts
- Understanding social policy and applying legal safeguarding frameworks
- Evidence informed professional practice
- Enabling Others in Mentoring
Students can progress with their studies to obtain the MA in Children, Young People, Families and Carers by completing two additional modules: Research methods and a practice based dissertation.
Cocker, C. & Allain, L. (2011) Advanced Social Work with Children and Families, Learning Matters: Exeter
The Enabling Others module is available as a 'stand alone' module for practitioners from allied professions, for example counsellors, teachers, nurses.
All modules are assessed through a variety of tools including: assignments, presentations. The easement of practice is incorporated within the programme, allowing students to draw upon practice evidence to support their academic work. This is assessed both by employers and through the role of an independent Practice Mentor Assessor.
All students will have a personal academic tutor to support them in their studies. To help work-based students, The University of Northampton has an extensive library with off-site access to academic journals. The programme is supported by the University's virtual learning environment called NILE, which as well as being conduit for communication between tutors and students, is an additional learning resource. The University campus also has a bookshop and all students have an opportunity to access to the Centre for Academic Practice to help with their academic writing.
Increasingly, employers are looking at qualified social workers to have obtained their Post Qualification Awards when looking at recruiting experienced practitioners and supervisors/team managers. A number of former students have successfully been promoted within their work settings or to other posts following the completion of their PQ studies and MA programme.
The Specialist Award in Post Qualifying (PQ) Social Work is situated within an MA degree (postgraduate) framework. The revised PQ framework is an overarching one designed to be flexible enough to incorporate all areas of contemporary social work practice.
I have already completed the PQ1 in the old framework; does it mean that I have do it all over again?
Answer: Any award that you achieved under the former PQ framework will be recognised under this new revised arrangement. Arrangements are in place to recognise previous achievements which can be processed within the university via the 'accreditation of prior learning' (APL).
What modules in the new framework can I be exempted from?
Answer: If you have already obtained PQ1, upon evidence you can be processed via the 'accreditation of prior learning' route and not have to complete the new Consolidation module. Similarly, if you have obtained the former Practice Teachers Award (PQ6), upon evidence you can be processed via the 'accreditation of prior learning' route and not have to complete the new Enabling Others module.
Which modules do I have to complete if I want to gain the new Specialist Award in Post Qualifying Social Work?
Answer: There are six modules (unless you are eligible for APL - see answers to questions one and two above) as follows:
- Consolidation of Social Work Qualifying Competence
- Promoting the Development of Children and Young People
- Families and Carers in Social and Environmental Contexts
- Understanding Social Policy and Applying Legal Frameworks
- Evidence Informed Professional Practice and User Focussed Values
- Additional competence in Enabling Others in Mentoring, Practice Teaching and Assessment
How often will I have to be in university?
Answer: All of the modules are delivered during a block of five days teaching at Park Campus, The University of Northampton. However, the Enabling Others module is spread over a four month period.
How will I be assessed on each module?
Answer: Modules are assessed academically (through assignments, presentations etc). The assessment of practice is incorporated within the programme, allowing students to draw on practice to support their academic work. This is assessed both by employers and through the role of an independent Practice Mentor Assessor.
What is a Practice Mentor Assessor and how do I find one?
A Practice Mentor Assessor (PMA) is an experienced individual who will assess your practice whilst undertaking two modules (Consolidation and Enabling Others). PMAs are trained by the University of Northampton and PQ students will be able to identify a PMA from a list supplied from the university.
Can I do the Enabling Others module if I am not a qualified social worker?
Answer: Yes. The Enabling Others module is what is known as a 'stand alone' module and can be assessed by qualified social workers, but also by other practitioners from an allied profession, such as teachers, counsellors, youth workers.
A requirement of the Enabling Others module is that PQ students take a second year undergraduate social work student for a 60-day placement within their work setting.
I don't understand what the difference is between the PQ Specialist Award and the MA in Children, Young People, Families and Carers programme?
Answer: The PQ Specialist Award is situated within an academic framework. At The University of Northampton, this is within the postgraduate Masters level framework. To achieve the Specialist Award in Social Work (Children, Young People, Families and Carers) you need to complete all six profession-specific modules (see question three). If you would like to go onto complete a Masters Degree in Children, Young People, Families and Carers you will need to complete two additional modules (research and dissertation).
Completion of all six professional modules, within an academic context gives you 60 credits at Masters level.
What if I want to take a break from my PQ studies after one or two modules?
Answer: The programme is offered within a flexible module design and completion of both the Specialist PQ Award and MA will depend on your personal and professional circumstances.
I do not have an undergraduate degree, can I still do my PQ at Masters level?
Many social workers qualified before the profession was taught at graduate level, and so have different qualifications. Therefore prospective students are not required to already hold an undergraduate degree but need to be mindful that the PQ at The University of Northampton is taught and assessed at Masters level.
I am interested in applying to study on this programme, what do I do next?
Answer: In the first instance, discuss your interest with your manager/employer in terms of continuous professional development plan, support and financial assistance. For further information about costs, and other queries contact the programme leader: Angie Bartoli.
For general application information please see our how to apply page.