You should normally have:
- 3 A Levels at grade C or above or a BTEC Extended Diploma at grades MMM (96 UCAS Tariff Points).
- GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C (4) or above.
- Sufficient experience of paid or voluntary work with vulnerable people. This experience should be sufficient to enable the applicant to clearly demonstrate their commitment, motivation and understanding of social work knowledge, skills and values.
Applicants aged over 21 who do not meet the academic entry criteria may still be considered if they have significant and relevant work / life experience.
However, we would still expect to see evidence of further studies at level 3, e.g. an A Level, Access to Higher Education or Open University course in a relevant subject and GCSE grade C (4) or above (or Functional Skills equivalent) in Mathematics and English Language.
What counts as relevant experience?
You do not need to have had paid employment in social care to apply for the course. There is a range of settings where you can gain paid or unpaid experience in statutory, voluntary and independent social care agencies. Involvement may be part time, full time or sessional but should be sustained over sufficient time to demonstrate interest and commitment.
- Working with children and families in social care settings settings such as local authority children and families teams, Action for Children, Barnardo’s and residential homes.
- Working with adults in social care settings / agencies such as local authority adult teams, supported accommodation, residential / nursing homes, charities working with people with disabilities, homelessness services, substance misuse services, mental health provision and organisations supporting domestic abuse survivors etc.
- Experience in counselling settings or working on a one-to-one basis within youth and community work settings.
- Experience within education settings could be appropriate where this involves direct work with children with special needs as opposed to working in mainstream education and / or nurseries / creches.
It will enhance your application to specify the details of the relevant experience such as the setting, the total hours worked, and your roles and responsibilities.
For the purpose of entry to the course, we are unable to count the following as relevant experience:
- Personal experience of caring for a relative or friend where you have not had first hand experience of social services or social work intervention.
- Baby sitting.
- Non formal mentoring or support of younger school children, college or university students.
In considering the relevance of your past experience, the admissions and interview panel will look at wider aspects than duration of experience. The panel will consider how that experience has impacted on your understanding of the social work role and the context in which social workers operate and services are delivered and how it demonstrates your commitment, motivation and understanding of social work knowledge, skills and values.
Requirements of the Professional Regulatory Body:
As part of the admissions and selection process, all applicants invited to interview are required to complete a self declaration form to indicate if they have any criminal convictions. Criminal convictions will not necessarily preclude you from gaining a place on the course.
This form is collected on interview day and if you are not offered a place on the course, the form will be destroyed. If you are offered a place on the course, the admissions advisor will check your form for disclosures.
When a declaration has been made, your case will be risk assessed on an individual basis by the admissions advisor and programme leader. The programme leader may liaise with the partnership (placement) agencies within the risk assessment process if the nature or severity of an offence is likely to impact on placement provision.
On gaining a place on the course, all applicants must undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. An enhanced DBS check will show details of all cautions, final warnings and reprimands as well as spent and unspent convictions.
Where a DBS return is clear, the certificate number is recorded. Where an offence or other relevant circumstance is indicated, the DBS will be screened by the admissions advisor and programme leader.
Where the applicant had disclosed offences at admissions stage, the admissions advisor will check the admissions records for consistency. Where there are discrepancies, the admissions advisor and programme leader will meet with the applicant to discuss the issue and will then undertake a risk assessment process. Failure to disclose a relevant offence at admissions stage will impact on this risk assessment.
The risk assessment process is undertaken is led by the programme leader who is a registered professional social worker. The programme leader will consult the local authority representatives as criminal convictions may impact on individual placement provision. Risk will be assessed at a joint college / local authority discussion meeting using a standard ‘Risk Assessment Matrix’ (RAM). The matrix will be consistently applied to all students with declared convictions in keeping with equal opportunities.
The candidate will be informed of the outcome of the Risk Assessment process by the programme leader by telephone or in person.
All applicants must undergo occupational health checks as part of ‘fitness to practice’ screening. Physical and / or mental health issues will not necessarily preclude you from gaining a place on the course.
As part of the admissions and selection process, all applicants invited to interview are required to complete a health screening form indicating any health issues / concerns.
This form is collected on interview day. If you are offered a place on the course, the admissions advisor will check your form for disclosures.
If you make a health declaration that could potentially impact on your ability to undertake social work training, the programme leader will refer your case to an externally contracted occupational health organisation for assessment. You will then either be referred to an occupational nurse for further enquiry or to a consultant if required. The cost of this will be payable by the student up to the value of £45.