Common questions about the Step Up to Social Work Programme are answered here.

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1 Programme Information 2.2 Step Up to Social Work DfE webpages FAQs Common questions about the Step Up to Social Work Programme are answered here. Eligibility I have a 2:2 degree, would you consider me if I have the right experience working with children and young people? A 2:1 degree is a pre-requisite set by the government, so unfortunately you would not meet the entry criteria for Step Up. I don t have a 2:1 degree but I have a Master s/doctorate. A 2:1 degree or higher is a pre-requisite set by the government, so unfortunately you would not meet the entry criteria for Step Up. I will graduate in the summer, and will not know my grade until after the application window has closed, can I still apply? Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria at the time of submitting an application form, and they will be required to provide evidence of their qualifications prior to the assessment centres. Application forms that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be assessed. I don't have English or Maths GCSE at grade C. What are the other equivalents? This is an HCPC requirement for entry on to any social work course in England and people without these qualifications cannot be accepted onto the course. There are other qualifications at a similar level to GCSE English and Maths. You can find out more information on UK qualifications by visiting the Ofqual website to see if you have an equivalent qualification. Can I do an English or Maths GCSE course whilst applying for Step Up? No. You must already have these qualifications at the time of submitting your application form for Step Up to Social Work. The application form should be open from 11 March 2013 to 17 May Will I have to provide proof of my qualifications? Yes. You will need to provide original certificates for all of your qualifications should you be invited to assessment centres. Should you be unable to provide your 1

2 certificates prior to assessment centres, you will not be permitted to continue the assessment process. I don t have my original certificate, what can I do? Should you be invited to assessment centres, you will need to contact your regional partnership to discuss what you will need in order to provide proof of your qualifications. I have recently graduated from university; can I still apply for Step Up? As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can submit an application form. Is there is an upper age limit of who can apply? No. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply. What kind of experience of working with children and families is required and would it matter if the work was voluntary or unpaid? Any kind of voluntary and paid work will be considered. For example, you could have teaching, youth work or experience of working in an Early Years setting. The important thing is that you are able to demonstrate the value of that experience and how you think this would relate to social work. Course Information How many places are available? Local authorities (LAs) around the country have been invited to bid to participate in the Step Up to Social Work programme. These local authorities will group together in regional partnerships, and a list of local authorities that will be taking part will be announced on the website on 11th March The exact number of places on the course has yet to be confirmed. When will the course start? The course is due to start in January How long will a training programme take to complete? The duration of the programme is 14 months. What will the programme look like? 2

3 The programme is likely to have regional differences in terms of content and method of delivery. It is designed to be tailored to meet specific regional workforce needs and to fit the previous skills and experience of the candidate. However, there is a number of nationally required core elements requiring completion in order for a candidate to be awarded their qualification. How is prior learning taken into account? Where previous formal qualifications overlap with elements of the Step Up course, these will be taken into account through a process known as AP(E)L. AP(E)L allows for previous certified and experiential learning to be accredited and set against one or a number of modules. Effectively, this means a candidate who has recently completed a child development module, for example, could effectively submit evidence of completion and not have to repeat this module on the Step Up programme. What qualification will trainees receive? On successful completion of the programme, the trainees will receive a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work from the relevant Higher Education Institution (HEI). Do you have an example of the course syllabus? Programme content varies from area to area in the same way that university courses vary between the different establishments. If you receive an offer of a place on the course, then you could ask your allocated local authority (LA) to provide an outline of the programme of study. What is the contact time of the course? The course is full time. You need to be prepared to put the commitment in for 14 months study and practice. It is an intensive course and only those candidates that are eligible and able to demonstrate commitment will get through the assessment process. How is the course assessed? The structure and assessment of the course is agreed upon locally by the regional partnerships and universities. It is likely to be a mixture of written assignments and exams. What kind of support is available during the course? Do I get assigned a mentor? You will be assigned a supervisor for your placement and the universities will supply a tutor for academic supervision. Many local authorities also offer 3

4 additional support and you can find out about this from the local authority you apply to. How much time is spent in a placement and in the classroom? The programme is designed to complete in 14 months and the placement is set by the local authority you are placed with. Funding How much funding do trainees receive? This is determined at a local level, however, trainees are guaranteed over 19,000 for the 14-month course by local authorities (LAs). Do trainees pay tuition fees? No, all tuition fees are taken care of by the local authorities. Is the funding paid to trainees taxed? This depends on the set up with the local authority (LA). If the trainee is awarded an employment contract by their employing local authority, then payments will be subject to national insurance and tax. If the trainee is awarded a training contract, then the payments may be classed as a bursary and exempt from tax and national insurance. Individual local authorities will decide on their own local arrangements around contractual relationships with trainees, and you should discuss this with them if you are offered a place on the course. What does the trainee funding pay for? The funding is awarded to trainees to cover their costs whilst on the Step Up programme. It could cover items like books, rent, travelling costs or living expenses. All course costs such as tuition fees are paid directly by the local authorities (LAs). Will I be guaranteed a job upon completion? This is up to the local authority (LA) where you are placed and is a matter entirely between the trainee and sponsoring local authority. Some local authorities require trainees to sign a contract stipulating they will have to work for the local authority for a set period of time after completion. Upon completion of the training, would I have to work for the training local authority for a specified length of time? 4

5 This is entirely up to the trainee and the employing local authority (LA) to agree. Some local authorities may make trainees sign a contract obliging them to work for the authority in question for a set period of time upon the completion of their training. Do I already have to be employed by a local authority (LA) in order to join this programme? No, you do not have to be currently working for a local authority (LA). Application process When will the application form be available? The application form will be open from 11 March 2013 to 17 May You will be able to access the application form from this website. Why are you offering a Diploma when previous Step Up courses offered an MA? The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work is a level 7 qualification and therefore carries the same rigour as an MA in Social Work. Diploma programmes offered by universities for Step Up to Social Work will be subject to approval by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the body which regulates social work training and qualifications. HCPC approval will entitle successful trainees to practise as social workers. The Diploma therefore fulfils the aims of Step Up to Social Work of enabling high calibre trainees to begin a career in social work. Furthermore, the Diploma programme enables successful participants to begin practising earlier than those on 18-month MA courses. Some local authorities may intend to offer qualifying trainees the option of further study to achieve an MA outside the Step Up programme. This is something interested applicants should find out from their preferred local authority. Are there any conditions around eligibility for international students? Universities and local authorities apply conditions around eligibility and tuition fee payments. Any international student, including those from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, would be required to pay their own tuition fees if their application was successful. Non-British EU nationals would only be eligible to apply if they have been a resident in the EU for 3 or more years, unless they have the appropriate study visa. All other non-british applicants must have been granted the right to remain / work in the UK (and provide passport details for checks) or otherwise have the appropriate study visa. 5

6 Are the local authorities listed on the DfE website and application form offering guaranteed places? DfE continues to work with and support local authorities and HEIs as they prepare for the programme and apply to the Health and Care Professions Council for approval of their training programme. Training places are subject to successful development of the programme and HCPC approval of the training. Should any local authority not be able to confirm places for any reason, DfE will work with remaining local authorities to include the applicants in another local authority. 6

7 3. Hyperlinks 3.1 SUSW Programme Home Page /step-up 3.2 SUSW Online Application Form DfE Website SUSW Mailbox 7

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