Senior Practice in Social Work Programme


This programme is aimed at those who have duties associated with senior practitioner roles (although it is recognised that not all employers use this terminology) and

  • Are a registered social worker
  • Have professional experience of not less than three years at the point of enrolment on the programme
  • Have met any other CCW requirements for access
  • Be employed as a senior practitioner or have the practice opportunities to evidence the programme requirements
  • Have employer support as appropriate and outlined in a learning agreement, including identified funding

The Senior Practice in Social Worker Programme (Level 7) is designed to equip relevant practitioners undertaking social work practice at a complex level and supervising others. The programme is delivered over two years: Year 1: core teaching and learning in two areas i) Engagement and Practice and ii) Professional Leadership and Development Year 2: Specialist Area of Research.

Time Commitment

Year One Year Two
Two 15 credit modules of 18.5 study days each divided into:

  • 6 ‘study days’ divided into:
    • 1 face-to-face module orientation day.
    • 6.5 days online study time.*
    • 2.5 days to complete the assignments.
  • 8.5 related practice days
    i.e. carrying out your normal work while applying and reflecting on your learning.
One 30 credit module equalling 37.5 study days divided into:

  • 15 study days divided into:
    • 1 face-to-face module orientation day.
    • 10 days online study time.*
    • 4 days to complete the assignments.
  • 22.5 related practice days
    i.e. carrying out your normal work while applying and reflecting on your learning

*Online study time can be carried out flexibly, at times to suit you. However, each module has a structure (see the module maps) that include recommended dates for completing content and activities to help you manage your time.


Please find below further details for each of the modules in the SPSW Programme.

Where possible we have included a module map and / or some example of module content. The module map gives students a useful summary of all content and activities associated with a module and a recommended timeline for completion. This, along with the example content we have provided is intended to give an illustrative snapshot of the types of content students will engage with as part of their module learning.

Please Note: The Intellectual Property Rights of all content belong to Social Care Wales and materials should not be used by training providers without permission of Social Care Wales.

We have also included some selected reading for each module, to give an indication of some of the content covered.

Engagement & Practice (Year One)

The main aim of this module is to focus on improving contemporary social work knowledge and practice within the context of working in Wales. Running contemporaneous with this module will be the evolving developments that accompany the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) 2014 legislation. There will be opportunities to develop further understanding of the impact of these developments on service planning, development, and delivery, with regard to the political, policy and economic backdrop. Students will be able to consider social work practice in relation to rights-based, person-centered and citizen-led principles. They will also need to consider the increased expectations on working collaboratively with service users and carers, families and communities, including the co-creation and co-production of services.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Beresford, P. (2012) Social Care, Service Users and User Involvement. Jessica Kingsley
  • Barnes, M. and Cotterell, P. (2011) Critical Perspectives on User Involvement . Policy Press

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Professional Leadership & Development (Year One)

This module will support students to acquire an advanced understanding of, and demonstrate skills in, their own professional accountability and supporting of others. Particular regard will be given to the exploration of models and styles of leadership. It will provide students with an understanding of how organisations function in supporting and holding individuals to maintain professional accountability. The module will introduce models and methods of intervention designed to enable professional development. Processes of support and supervision will be examined. This module will pay particular regard to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) legislation.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Robertson, I. and Cooper G. (2011) Well Being – Productivity and Happiness at Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan
  • Grey, I., Field, R. and Brown, K ( 2010), Effective Leadership , Management and Supervision in Health and Social Care. Exeter. Learning Matters

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Specialist Area of Research (Year Two)

The purposes of this module are:

(i) To provide students with learning materials regarding the principles and practice of undertaking a small-scale research study, including content relating to Action Research as a particular research strategy for practitioner-based research.

(ii) To enable students to select a specific practice-related focus and to investigate this as a research project. The selected focus may relate to an aspect of service planning and/or delivery, to a practice issue recognised as pertinent to furthering the effectiveness of the work of a team or project, or to an area of specialist practice interest identified by an individual practitioner. This will be decided upon by each individual student in consultation and negotiation with their employer and agreement with the Programme.

The module content responds to the current and future need for senior social work practitioners to ground their practice in evidence and to draw on this in the exercise of professional decision making. In order to do this, senior practitioners need knowledge and skills regarding how to search for and evaluate contemporary research and other relevant resources, and this module includes developmental input in relation to these.

Selective Indicative Reading

  • Alston, M. and Bowles, W. (2013) Research for Social Workers (3rd edition). Abingdon. Rutledge;
  • Whittaker, A. (2012) Research Skills for Social Work (2nd edition) London. Sage

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*These sample resources are provided to illustrate the content of the relevant programme. The Intellectual Property Rights belong to Social Care Wales and materials should not be used by training providers without permission of the Social Care Wales.