SW0420 - Introduction to Social Policy and Law

What will I learn on this module?

This module introduces the academic disciplines of social policy and law. This module will develop your understanding of national and international policy and legislation and the implications for social work. During the module you will discuss key concepts such as equality, human rights and poverty. The module aims to provide you with a knowledge and understanding of key legislation relating to equality and human rights as well as relevant laws affecting social work practice. The module also aims to introduce you to social policy by discussing and contemporary social issues relating to social work, such as poverty, inequality, housing and health and social care and analysing the policies which aim to address these issues.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn in a variety of ways in this module. You will learn through a programme of lectures delivered to a large group of students and seminars with small group discussions. Attendance at lectures and seminars will help you meet the learning outcomes for the module. Lectures will introduce you to theories and practice in relation to key concepts, law and social issues and policies. Seminars will provide you with the opportunity to discuss your reading and ideas with peers and tutor in a supportive environment. A range of electronic resources will be available via the electronic learning portal, including lecture materials, tutor's audio and video explanations as well as the use of discussions boards, wikis and links to external websites and podcast materials.

There are opportunities for formative assessment throughout the module to support your learning and to help you work towards the summative assignment. You will learn through processes of peer and self-assessment which will develop your critical evaluation skills and capacity for autonomous learning. Your self-directed reading and engagement with the module materials also form an important part of your learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutors will support your learning in a range of ways. They will provide a programme of lectures which relate to the learning outcomes for the module. Lectures will introduce you to key issues, concepts, perspective and theories in relation to social policy and law. You will be given opportunities to discuss and share your ideas in a supportive environment. Key module materials will be available electronically. You will also be provided with an electronic reading list which will include essential and recommended reading of the module and its assessment. You will also be supported to explore and engage in your own search for literature to support your curiosity and enquiry in order to meet the learning outcomes for the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Identify key contemporary social issues, concepts, theories and perspectives in relation to the development of social policy and law
• Explain the development of policy and legislation
• Evaluate the impact of policy and/or legislation on particular groups of people.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Communicate your ideas to particular audiences (e.g. social workers and/or people involved with social services)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Demonstrate curiosity and effectively articulate how different theories, values and perspectives influence the development of social policy and law.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment
You will submit a 2,000 word briefing paper focusing on an area of social policy and/or law. The briefing paper is for a particular audience (e.g. social work; individuals involved with social services; social work students). You will meet the module learning outcomes 1-5. Examples of policy areas and issues for the briefing paper will be included in the module handbook and guidance provided during the module.
Feedback: Tutors will formally assess your summative assessment providing written feedback and marks based on the assessment criteria contained in the module handbook.

Formative assessment
You will be expected to give a verbal group presentation which will discuss an area of law or social policy. This will meet learning outcomes 1-5.
Feedback: Feedback will be given following to help you develop your learning and prepare for your summative assessment. Verbal and written feedback will be provided by service users, your module tutor and peers during the assessment session


Not applicable


SW0417, SW0418, SW0419, SW0421, SW0422

Course info

UCAS Code L502

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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