SW0623 - Leadership in Social Work

What will I learn on this module?

This module builds on your learning from previous years, deepening your self-awareness, providing further opportunity for reflection and strengthening your ability to understand and function as a leader in the field of social work.

The learning outcomes set out below reflect the broad range of knowledge, skills and values that you will need to function as a leader. In order to prepare for your final placement and thereafter your professional career, the teaching will focus on developing your understanding of the concept of leadership and how it interacts with professional development and both moral and professional accountability
The areas covered in the module include:
• Considering the nature and application of leadership theories and styles
• Understanding the differences between leadership and management.
• The application of a systemic approach in order to understand developments within an organisation
• Developing an initial ability to consider strategic decisions in terms of a team and agency
• Exploring your own style of leadership and considering how the various theories of leadership and management relate to your style
• Social work leadership as a moral activity

How will I learn on this module?

In order to prepare for the final practice placement, you will concentrate on some of the core ideas of theories of leadership and leadership styles and how these relate to your practice. The teaching will consider how these ideas are applied within the context of current developments in social work practice and importantly, help you to reflect how your own personal style of leadership relates to these ideas. For this reason, there will be a practical and skills-development angle to teaching: this learning will then be applied and demonstrated during the practice learning opportunity.

Specialist seminars and workshops will enable a detailed consideration of the theoretical ideas in contemporary social work. You will be able to learn in a wide variety of ways on this module. You will have a structured programme of lectures delivered by academic staff, social work practitioners and others with relevant experience and knowledge in the field of leadership. You will experience a range of teaching strategies, including seminar work, some directed learning and experiential learning activities.

The 30 placement days attached to this module will offer you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills as a qualifying social work practitioner with service users, carers and other professionals and stakeholders in practice settings.

You will be offered formative feedback from your peers and seminar leaders during seminar sessions. In the practice learning opportunity you will receive feedback from your Practice Educator and other social work practitioners, service users and carers.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will include feedback from seminar leaders during small-group seminars and tutorials. In addition, seminar leaders will respond to questions via the module’s discussion board at the University’s eLearning Portal so that the whole group can benefit.

During the practice learning opportunity, you will be supported in your learning by a Practice Educator (PE) and have different opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge in order to practice as a qualifying social work practitioner in a variety of settings. Your PE will provide you with practice learning support and will be responsible for assessing your practice based learning. Throughout the duration of your practice learning opportunity, you will have regular supervision with your PE in relation to your development in meeting the requirements of the PCF. Supervision with your practice educator will support you in discussing professional issues and focus on encouraging your critical reflection on your learning experience. During the period of practice-based learning you will also be supported by your personal tutor, who will monitor your professional development and provide academic support. You will meet with your tutor and practice educator (your practice learning team) early in in the placement to complete a practice learning agreement, to ensure that the expectations about placement are clear to all parties and that you have a range of learning opportunities to meet your developmental needs. You will also attend an interim review meeting with your practice learning team about halfway through the placement to discuss your progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
This outline indicative reading list will be utilised for approval purposes only and a full e-reading list must be available prior to the first delivery date of the module.

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• Critically analyse theories and styles of leadership and their application to social work practice.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• Use a broad range of professional skills required for operational practice, including making a contribution to the development of others and a beginning ability to demonstrate professional leadership in social work.
• Exercise an adequate level of autonomy, leadership and authority within complex frameworks of accountability, ethical, legal and organisational requirements.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• Review your own performance critically, take appropriate responsibility for future action in the light of this and manage your own personal and professional development
• Demonstrate a developed sense of professional identity, rooted in a sophisticated understanding of social work values and a commitment to working within these.

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment for the module is in two parts:
1. A written assignment (2000 words) which will focus on the critical application of leadership theories and styles to a case scenario (Marked out of 100%)
2. Fully completed Practice Learning Documentation which evidences your ability to work to the Professional Capabilities Framework at a qualifying level (Marked Pass/Fail by your Practice Educator)

Both parts must be passed to successfully complete the module.

Formative assessment:

You will update your professional development plan (PDP) and produce a piece of work
a) critically reflecting on the knowledge, skills and values you developed in the second year placement and making links to the learning they have done during the start of level 6 and
b) identifying areas for future development to present to your Practice Educator prior to the placement starting.

Practice Educators will provide feedback on this piece of work and the content will also be discussed with your Personal Tutor at the initial placement meeting. You will also receive ongoing feedback on practice within the supervisory context and via a mid-placement review of progress with your practice educator and personal tutor.


SW0417, SW0418, SW0419, SW0420, SW0421, SW0422, SW0514, SW0515, SW0516, SW0517, SW0518


SW0624, SW0625, SW0626, SW0627

Module abstract

Over recent years social workers have been much criticised in the press with the profession itself, characterised as lacking in leadership capacity (Platt, 2007). In the current context of professional demoralisation there is an opportunity for social workers to assert leadership – but what does this mean and how do you do it? How do you develop the confidence to provide leadership and act professionally in challenging settings?
The learning outcomes of this module reflect the broad range of knowledge, skills and values that are required to operate successfully as a social work practitioner. We consider that at the heart of successful practice lies the ability to form and sustain effective transformational relationships with service users and other key stakeholders. This will be a central connecting theme across the learning outcomes and you will be encouraged to make connections with what you have already learned across current and previous modules. This module will support you in moving from taking early professional responsibility to developing the confidence and ability to act as an autonomous professional at qualifying level. You will be supported to develop your understanding of the social work role in practice and to become a confident social work practitioner with a strong sense of professional identity, able to think and act purposefully within a range of contexts in order to initiate and manage change.

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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