MA Post Qualifying Professional Practice
Cass School of Education and Communities
The MA Post-Qualifying Professional Practice has been designed to support the continuing professional development of qualified practitioners who are out in the field practising as social workers.
Once you have qualified as a social worker, you may decide to develop areas of specialism and complete various professional practice short courses such as the Practice Educator 1, Practice Educator 2 and BIADOLS.
These can be stand-alone courses, but we have also come up with the notion of building them into a master’s qualification framework. In this way, the courses are considered as modules within the MA.
This course is linked to your social work practice, giving you an opportunity to explore in depth an aspect of your current work and to link that to a more academic research-based approach which can help to inform your practice.
It is open to you if you have been in post-qualifying social work practice for at least 18 months.
All of the social work courses at the University of East London have been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the College of Social Work. They have received positive feedback from both organisations.
You will receive guidance from our past students. Many of the university’s qualified social workers work in the local London boroughs and come back to help supervise our qualifying students.
Every member of the social work team is HCPC-registered, understands and has direct experience of social work practice and is researching in their area of expertise. Not all universities can say the same about their academics.
What we're researching
Our Centre for Social Work Research (CSWR) generates knowledge in social work thinking and methods. It also helps and encourages more social workers to become involved in research to improve shared knowledge.
Our founding goal is to shed light on underlying processes in practice and policy-making. We also work to strengthen the evidence base for ‘relationship-based social work’. This places the client-practitioner relationship at the heart of practice.
Current research themes include relational approaches to people at risk of self-harm or suicide, safeguarding and child protection, social work and education as well as the transformation of welfare in the UK.
The CSWR is led by Professor Stephen Briggs, who teaches on the MA Social Work course. His current research interests include adolescent mental health, psychoanalytic approaches to suicide and self-harm, and infant observation and its application to understanding infant mental health.
Dr Jo Finch, Course Leader of the MA Social Work course, is deputy director of the CSWR and a research specialist in the field of practice education (practice learning, assessment and suitability) with a focus on struggling or failing students. Her work has been published in the British Journal of Social Work and the European Journal of Social Work in Practice.
Paul Adams, Course Leader of the Youth and Community Work MA, is involved with a number of youth work organisations, including national government working groups. He’s also a trustee of Y Care International - an international relief and development agency working in partnership with YMCAs throughout the world to help them respond better to the needs of the most disadvantaged young people.
Making a difference
UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths.
What you'll study
Consolidating Your Social Work
Specialist modules for those working with children and families, adults and with people in mental health settings
Practice Educator Professional Standards
Best Interests Assessor (six one-day workshops)
Professional Practice Innovation Project.
How you'll be assessed
Each module on this course is assessed separately. We assess you via coursework, assignments, project work, portfolios, group work and, for some modules, through mentor reports.Course Specification
How you'll learn
You will benefit from our team’s direct experience in the field. Every staff team member is a qualified social worker and has had social work jobs in their specialised field. Each will bring something different to your learning experience.
For instance, Karen Adshead has almost 20 years’ post-qualified experience, which includes international social work and child protection, while Dr Jo Finch is a play therapist who has worked with children and families and children with disabilities.
Jacqueline Harry is a qualified social worker with a legal background. Mark Wheeler worked as a mental health social worker in east London for five years.
As well as the short courses, there is also a final longer project, worth 60 credits, that is linked to your current practice.
As part of our commitment to enhancing current social work practice, a series of external speakers come to the university to give talks. Invariably they have a particular expertise in their field.
Our Centre of Social Work for Research also organises evening seminars. Students and staff are invited as well as the department’s stakeholders, including its practice educators. These evenings are invaluable for networking and exchanging ideas and current practice knowledge.
“We have changed the way we deliver the course to meet the needs of busy people, says Course Leader Dr Jo Finch.
“We set the dates for whole days in advance, because it doesn’t work when we ask people to come in for two hours for a regular UEL module.
"Practitioners would rather come for a whole day and do a lot rather than come for 24 weeks and just two hours each time.”
What you'll learn
The Practice Educator Stage 1 and 2 courses are for social workers who wish to supervise students qualifying for their Social Work, BA or Social Work, MA degrees when they are on placement.
We run these courses in partnership with local authorities. It is a regulatory body requirement that our practice educators are qualified to an appropriate level.
The Best Interests Assessor: Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards (BIADOLS) course qualifies you to assess people in certain situations, such as in residential care or hospital, where their liberty may be in question, as well as their mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Demand for this important qualification has grown as the result of a change in the law.
Another short (postgraduate diploma) course is the Approved Mental Health Practitioner course, run externally by the University of East London in partnership with the London Borough of Enfield. This will also give you 60 credits towards your master’s qualification.
Your future career
Not every social work practitioner wants further qualifications in their specialised field, but they can help your career progression. Moving on to the Practice Educator courses is often viewed as a step towards a management post. This means that we are constantly looking to train new Practice Educators who can supervise our Social Work students out on their placements.
The course thrives on and feeds into the partnership that we have with our service users, local authorities and practitioners, all of whom are involved in the teaching and development of students.
You will benefit from a uniquely east London experience that will help your progression in social work posts locally.
Many of our qualified social workers find jobs in the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. We are proud of the continuing contact we have with our former students and we invite them to come back and supervise our qualifying students.
The course has been designed to take you forward in your social work practice. In addition to the short courses, there is a specialist children and families or social work with adults module that will give you insight into that field.
Advanced mental health policy and practiceVIEW COURSE
Best Interests Assessor - Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards (BIADOLS)VIEW COURSE
Post-qualifying social work - Consolidating social work practice with Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)VIEW COURSE
Practice Educator Stage 1VIEW COURSE
Practice Educator Stage 2VIEW COURSE
Social WorkVIEW COURSE