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The Social Work Toolkit is designed to help you to learn actively and feel encouraged, supported and inspired, both on your social work course and in practice.

Watch this short walkthrough video for a guided tour of the site!




How can The Social Work Toolkit support you?

The Social Work Toolkit explores five key areas that reflect your training and practice as social workers:

  • Communication Skills - Clear, effective communication is vital to good social work practice, during qualification and beyond. Come here to brush up before your skills development workshops or to prepare for challenging situations you might encounter on placement.
  • Professionalism in Practice - This theme is particularly useful as you prepare for placements and for assessments and supervisions on campus. It will also help you build your capability and think about your professional development in the longer-term.
  • Ethics, Values and Diversity - To practice professionally without discrimination requires consideration of many different elements. The resources here support teaching on a wide range of modules that cover the ethical, societal, legal and multidisciplinary aspects of social work.
  • Assessment and Intervention - Bridging the gap between academic and practice learning, this theme focuses on two of the core social work processes and would be helpful to support Theories and Methods modules.
  • Lifecourse Perspectives - Recommended viewing for modules on Human and Growth and Development and for setting-specific issues when working with children and families or social work with adults.


If you're looking for material to support modules on Law and Policy you will find summaries of important laws and policies that relate particularly to social workers referenced on individual resource pages and gathered together on the Law and Policy page, with links to full legislation.




Each resource on The Social Work Toolkit has been carefully mapped against nationally recognised standards for 'best practice' in the profession, to help you boost your capability in specified areas that you may be assessed on.




What kinds of content can you find?

Resources are provided in various types, to suit your learning needs:

Quick guides - concise, accessible introductions to key issues
Whether you're looking to kick-start your thinking in a new area or to brush up on a familiar subject, these bite-sized, clear overviews are perfect for you. Also handy for reference and revision when you're short on time and need a quick refresher.

Case studies - scenarios to explore a range of different perspectives
Nervous about meeting a service user? Explore our range of case studies featuring insights from service users and social workers on particular situations they have encountered. Would you do things differently?

Preparation for practice - tips and practical guidance for placements
These how-to guides and practice activities support you in developing useful placement skills. And build your confidence as student social workers share advice for successful placements on video. What can you learn from their experiences?

Expert opinions - deeper insights from expert academics and service users
Looking to extend your thinking and stimulate debate? These specially-commissioned articles and videos critically analyse and interrogate key topic areas.

Book chapters - extracts from social work textbooks for more in-depth analysis
Dive into selected chapters from Palgrave's high-quality print list for more advanced academic content to expand your understanding, to support assignments or essays or as a springboard for further research.

For guidance on referencing any of the different types of content on The Social Work Toolkit in your academic work, click here.




You can view content in several formats to make your learning experience more dynamic:

Video - tune in to these short videos in a spare five minutes, or even on your way to uni!
Audio - give your eyes a rest and listen to case-study scenarios
Quizzes and "click and reveal" activities - think creatively and test your instincts in these interactive multiple-choice games
PDFs - download and read guides and articles at your leisure or print and complete practice activities
Book chapters - read online or download to your own device for later reference

Top tip: The Social Work Toolkit has been designed so you can dip in and out of different resources, when and how it suits you. Use the Browse function to easily filter content by theme, title, contributor, format and type!




'My Toolkit' is a personalised repository within the site to help you make the most out of The Social Work Toolkit. Simply register by choosing a unique personal password and you're ready to go!

Click this icon on any resource page to add your reflective thoughts and access them later in the My Journal section. Notes are date stamped and easily printable to help you build reflective practice into your everyday learning.
Bookmark your favourite resources to compile a portfolio of useful material that you can access anywhere.
Save your searches to help navigate to 'bundles' of complementary content.


What's new on The Social Work Toolkit?

New content is added to The Social Work Toolkit periodically, to ensure that our material stays in line with developments and thinking in the profession.

Latest update: March 2017

New resources include:

Check out the new content added in the latest update and previous updates by clicking below.

  • Attachment theory across the lifecourse
    Expert opinion: Talking head interview with David Howe (University of East Anglia)
  • Psychosocial understandings of resilience and shame
    Expert opinion: Talking head interview with Liz Frost (University of the West of England)
  • Psychosocial perspectives on the lifecourse
    Expert opinion: Talking head interview with Liz Frost (University of the West of England)
  • Ecological theories of human development
    Book chapter from Leo Hendry and Marion Kloep's Adolescence and Adulthood (2012), Palgrave Macmillan
  • Models of disability
    Quick guide written by Alison Cocks
  • The impact of childhood bullying
    Video interview with care leavers produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • A positive experience of foster care
    Video interview with care leavers produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • Relationships and trust
    Video interview with care leavers produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • The care system from the inside
    Video interview with care leavers produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • Assessing parental care-giving
    Preparation for practice resource from Jan Horwath's Child Neglect: Identification and Assessment (2007), Palgrave Macmillan
  • Establishing a day in the life of a school-age child
    Preparation for practice resource from Jan Horwath's Child Neglect: Identification and Assessment (2007), Palgrave Macmillan
  • Risk factors in child development
    Book chapter from Janet Empson and Dabie Nabuzoka's Atypical Child Development in Context (2003), Palgrave Macmillan
  • The mental health of older people in minority ethnic communities
    Video interview with service users produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • Living with a dementia diagnosis
    Video interview with service users produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • A theoretical perspective on social work and substance use
    Book chapter from Martin Davies (ed) Social Work with Adults (2012), Palgrave Macmillan
  • Safeguarding older people
    Case study from Mo Ray and Judith Phillips? Social Work with Older People (2012), Palgrave Macmillan
  • Different types of supervision
    Video footage produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • A supervision session in progress
    Video footage produced for Palgrave Macmillan by SCIE
  • Managing confidentiality
    Interactive quiz by Frank Cooper
  • Taking the temperature of your relationship with your supervisor
    Interactive quiz adapted from Alan Dunnett, Caroline Jesper, Maire O'Donnell and Kate Vallance, Getting the most from supervision (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
  • How can I best demonstrate my professional capability and skills in the assessment of my practice?
    Quick Guide to being assessed under the new professional frameworks by Susan Taplin (University Campus Suffolk) and Victoria Harris (University of East Anglia)
  • The social worker I'd like to be
    Preparation for Practice activity by Dr Barry Cooper (The Open University) and Maggie Pickering (The Open University)
  • The learning organisation and reflective practice
    Expert Opinion extract from Nick Gould and Mark Baldwin (eds), Social Work, Critical Reflection and the Learning Organization (Ashgate, 2004)
  • Using theory fluently in practice
    Expert Opinion extracts from Jenny Secker, From Theory to Practice in Social Work: The Development of Social Work Students' Practice (Ashgate, 1993).
  • Questions for seeking feedback
    Preparation for Practice activity adapted from Skills for Care source material
  • Guidance on receiving feedback
    Quick Guide activity adapted from Skills for Care source material

  • Getting Started