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Continuing Professional Development (CPD)


As a member of the South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership, the University of Sheffield offers high quality training for social work students and qualified social workers in order to help them to develop the skills they need to work effectively in front line statutory services. These courses and modules are designed to develop your skills and knowledge, and to help support and enable you to deliver first class service quality to children and their families.

We are pleased to be able to add a modular route to our postgraduate continuing professional development (CPD) activity in Advanced Professional Practice, as an alternative option to our MA in Advanced Professional Practice.

This CPD route is available to qualified practitioners and their employers in order to provide greater flexibility and choice for study at post-qualifying level. The modules are all also available as part of the suite of awards we currently offer, and you will be able to use the credits you achieve by completing them successfully to build future awards. You will thus have the opportunity to complete an accredited award over a longer period of time.

As with our other CPD full awards, the modules will be taught by academic staff with strong and substantial professional experience, and whose teaching content reflects the best and latest research. Our intention is to combine creativity and flexibility with rigorous academic approaches to learning, in order to develop practitioner students' skills and knowledge and to help support and enable them to deliver first class service quality to children and their families.

What studying under this modular arrangement gives:

  • The chance to enhance your specialist expertise and knowledge;
  • The opportunity to undertake post-qualifying studies at your own pace and with students from a range of practice backgrounds within the region;
  • A range of transferable skills and knowledge that will be of benefit not only to you in career terms, but also to the organisation for whom you work;
  • Advanced teaching, supported by experts in the field, that offers the specialised understanding of the particular issues, methods and skills necessary both to understand and undertake work with children and their families;
  • The opportunity to think about and critically reflect on your current practice and ways to improve your contribution, whether as a practitioner or a front line manager, to the service you offer.

If you want to register for modules leading to more than 45 credits, you should consider registering for the MA in Advanced Professional Practice.

CPD modules

Modules available include*:

Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (15 credits)

What is it about?

The aim of the module is to assist you to improve your skills, competence and confidence as a social worker in a systematic manner during the first year of practice and to improve the overall quality of social work practice by ensuring the first year in employment provides an effective bridge from initial training.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate ‘practice competence’ in a wide range of child and family tasks and roles;
  • Be effective in their interventions, using theory, research and evidenced based practice (thus building their own confidence and earning the confidence of others);
  • Demonstrate social work skills in relation to child and family social work at the appropriate ASYE level;
  • Demonstrate an ability to work effectively on complex social work situations;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of support and supervision in social work;
  • Exercise initiative and evaluate their own practice, including the impact of continued professional development activity;
  • Show progression in meeting the 10 domains of the Knowledge and Skills statement for Child and Family Social Work.

Mode of assessment

Students will submit their 9 and 12 month reflective accounts for academic accreditation.

Developing Professional Practice and Safeguarding (30 credits)

What is it about?

This module enables you to develop and demonstrate competent, critically reflective professional practice when working with children, their families and carers. It will draw on relevant legal guidance, statutory responsibilities, the Professional Capabilities Framework, Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS), and approaches to intervention where safeguarding children is at the fore. Professional practice will be developed in the context of risk, uncertainty, conflict and contradictions and with consideration of organisational and wider social settings.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the unit, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Apply a critical understanding to assessment, planning and evaluating work;
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the elements of best practice in the wider societal and professional context;
  • Work effectively with others in order to formulate an effective plan for intervention with service users;
  • Explain professional reasoning, judgements and decisions;
  • Critically analyse how effective communication is enabled or how barriers arise;
  • Critically reflect on their own practice and role, and that of other professionals;
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of safeguarding practice in a multi-agency context;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of risk assessment and risk management;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of relevant legislation and guidance and its application to practice;
  • Demonstrate skills in undertaking effective work with service users.

Mode of assessment

There are three elements to the assessment:

  • Presentation (20%): A 45 minute group presentation.
  • Direct Observation (Pass/Fail): A direct observation of your practice in asafeguarding context, to be completed by your line manager or another agency representative who is suitably  qualified as defined in the student handbook. Pass/Fail.
  • Assignment (80%): With reference to a recently completed Court Statement/ Child Protection Conference Report / Assessment / Report: Write a 3500 word critically reflective account of your safeguarding practice, including discussion of planning, assessment and decision making, and the challenges of communication with service users and/ or other professionals.
Parenting Capacity (15 credits)

What is it about?

This module is designed to enable you to develop your knowledge base and effective practice when working with parenting issues, including substance misuse and mental health, which have the potential to impact on parenting capacity.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the unit, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand the range of issues which can impact on parenting capacity, including substance misuse, learning disability, mental health and domestic abuse;
  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the range of theories and models for intervention with parents/ carers and the methods derived from them;
  • Competently use assessment and intervention tools to work with adults;
  • Understand the theoretical bases of family dysfunction and strategies for intervention;
  • Understand integrated working including at the interface of children and adult services.

Mode of assessment

Assignment (100%):

  • Word count: 3,000 words;
  • With reference to issues that impact on parenting capacity and interventions, critically discuss a piece of work that you have undertaken with a parent/ carer, including the aims and the outcomes of the work.
Interventions to Promote Change (15 credits)

What is it about?

The module aims to provide you with the knowledge base and practice tools to intervene critically and effectively with children, young people and their families to promote positive change.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the unit, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge of a range of theories and models for intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities and the methods derived from them;
  • Critically reflect on the application of interventions;
  • Recognise and critically a nalyse factors that promote and hinder change and the implications for practice;
  • Apply a critical understanding to promoting and sustaining service user and carers rights and interventions to empower active choice and participation.

Mode of assessment

Assignment (100%):

  • Word Count: 3,000 words;
  • With reference to a piece of work which you have recently undertaken, provide a 3,000 word critical and reflective account, analysing a specific intervention approach and how it was utilised to promote change.
Child Development and Communication with Children (15 credits)

What is it about?

This unit will provide you with the opportunity to revisit core knowledge relating to your understanding of children's development - physical, cognitive, social and emotional - and in so doing provide a platform for further critical examination of means of assessing children's development, including the opportunity to ascertain their wishes and feelings, using a range of tools and skills.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of this module, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand the theoretical basis of human development and growth and how it relates to their practice setting;
  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge of the range of theories and models for social work intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities, and the methods derived from them;
  • Competently use assessment and intervention tools to work with children, their families and carers;
  • Understand the theoretical bases of family dysfunction and strategies for intervention within their particular service specialism;
  • Use structures such as the Integrated Children’s system to promote the development of children and their families;
  • Understand how to promote and sustain service user and carers rights and empower their active choice and participation.

Mode of assessment

Part One – Presentation (20%):

  • Students will undertake a 15 minute presentation to the group. The presentation will relate to a tool utilised in direct work with a particular child or young person.

Part Two – Assignment (80%):

  • Complete an essay of 2000 words on the following topic: Write a critically reflective account of a piece of work with a child or young person, taking into account a child development theory that was utilised, and its usefulness to social work practice.
The Social Worker in the Court Room (30 credits)

What is it about?

This module aims to provide social workers in any area of children and families or adult social work practice with increased skills and confidence in presenting evidence in a courtroom. The module bridges the gap between academic learning about the law and the courtroom, and practice skills.

The module sets the context for encounters between social work and the law, grounding it in an understanding of the role of the law in social work practice, and of the social worker in the courtroom. Building on that grounding, the module will quickly become practice-orientated. Indeed, the module will use participants' own contentious cases, and to this end it will be a requirement that each participant holds throughout the module (either within their own caseload, or jointly worked with another worker) at least one case in which a court hearing is likely. This module is therefore suitable only for practitioners who are able and willing to hold or jointly co-work such a case within their own caseload. Subject to that requirement, the module is suitable for any practitioner working within any area of children and families or adults social work practice.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the module, you will be able to demonstrate that you have:

  • Critically explored when and why the social worker requires the court's authority to act; the role of the court in testing, and legitimising, the judgment of the social worker; and the different courts that the social worker will encounter;
  • Explained, critically explored and reflected upon the onus and the standard of proof, in the context of professional social work legal practice, (who has to prove what, and to what standard) –– the social worker as applicant – as witness – as expert – as advocate – as defendant;
  • Critically explored the concept of evidence; ‘Expert’ evidence – allegations, assertions and claims – corroboration and triangulation – testing of evidence – the forensic process and the quality of evidence – the relevance (or not) of the outcome of criminal trials;
  • Critically explored, analysed and reflected on the importance of case law and the matching of evidence to threshold the concept of 'threshold', and key social work thresholds;
  • Analysed, explored and critically reflected on how to present evidence in the court setting and within documents intended to influence court/legal decisions.

Mode of assessment

Part 1 (50%):

  • A 3,000 word assignment assessing Learning Outcomes 1-5. The assignment will consist of: a written assessment on the basis of a case study, and a piece of reflective writing, which sets out the candidate's understanding of the legal process;

Part 2:

  • An oral examination assessing Learning Outcomes 1-5 (50%) The examination will consist of: an artificially constructed examination and cross- examination, based upon a case study, in a moot setting.
Introduction to Leadership and Mentoring (30 credits)

What is it about?

This module is an introduction to leadership and mentoring with reference to the current legislative and practice context, including the Professional Capabilities Framework and Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS). The module is designed to introduce you to theories of leadership, management and mentoring and enable them to develop skills in this area of practice.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the unit, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Promote equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion;
  • Facilitate best practice and accountable decision making with the use of best evidence;
  • Understand leadership and mentoring styles;
  • Appreciate the centrality of the supervisor/supervisee relationship in promoting emotionally intelligent and reflective practice;
  • Critically describe the key functions of supervision and mentoring and the skills to use these appropriately;
  • Support and develop the risk assessment and risk management skills of their supervisees;
  • Show familiarity with the national and organizational context and the impact of these on themselves and their supervisees;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the factors which can influence poor performance and the skills to address under-performance;
  • Demonstrate skills in coaching and mentoring team members and developing a learning and growth culture;
  • Demonstrate skills in identifying and applying resources to ensure that requirements and targets are met;
  • Demonstrate skills in overseeing and auditing the quality of work of others delivering social work services;
  • Demonstrate the ability to represent the team or the organisation to others;
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the role of leadership in developing and maintaining teams and managing conflict.

Mode of assessment

Part 1: Assignment 80% of the module mark

• Write a 5,000 word critically reflective account of your leadership and/ or mentoring practice with reference to extracts from your reflective log.

Part 2: Reflective log to be completed alongside your practice

• Completion of a reflective log of leadership and/or mentoring practice throughout the module. Extracts to be included in the assignment.

Part 3: Individual presentations: 20% of the module mark

Research in Professional Practice (15 credits)

What is it about?

This module redefines research as integral to social work practice and management, and aims to provide research literacy and capability in the workforce. Social workers need to draw on published research studies to help them to understand needs, matters of safety and risk and to plan their interventions. They also need to develop research skills, such as observation, synthesis of information and analysis, to make sense of situation and presenting problems, generate and test hypotheses and examine their preferred theories and assumptions. Furthermore, evaluation and audit are increasingly demanded of practitioners and organisations, but skills and methods are often poorly understood.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the unit, you will be able to:

  • Reflect upon how they use and make knowledge in their professional work;
  • Critically review how research and evidence may be deployed within the organisational contexts of practice settings – and the implications of this for reflective practice and practice evaluation;
  • Understand different approaches to evaluation and audit;
  • Select appropriate methodologies by which to examine practice related research questions;
  • Identify how different stakeholders may be involved in processes of research and evaluation;
  • Engage with and debate ethical and practical matters relating to conducting practice-focused research.

Mode of assessment

A 3000 word assignment (100%) that tests all learning outcomes - which will take the form of either:

  • An account of how they developed their ability to use research in their practice setting and how practice changed (demonstrating the ability to evaluate evidence critically)


  • A small scale empirical research project proposal of one area of practice in the context of their own work and organisation (aiming to promote good practice and organisational learning, and include reflection and implications for students’ own practice)
Practice Learning Educator Stage 1 (15 credits)

What is it about?

This module develops your knowledge of adult learning theories and your ability to develop a learning experience with a specific focus upon work-based social work placements. You are required to prepare a suitably robust practice based learning experience, for first year student social workers, on an HCPC endorsed pre-qualification social work programme at either UG or PG level. This will include; the management of the placement experience independently; or, by working alongside an already qualified Practice Assessor, undertaking a discreet piece of work, with a SW student, that the candidate will manage independently. The module will enable candidates to critically analyse, reflect upon and evaluate the learning experience they have developed and how they [the candidate], have managed the assessment of a student social worker on a social work placement.

Entrance requirements

  • Must have agreed to take a student social worker on placement prior to undertaking the qualification;
  • Must be a qualified adult or child care social worker, with at least two years relevant experience and registered with the HCPC.

Candidates must set up, deliver and assess a SW student who is on a level 1 placement within the South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership (SYTP) or work alongside another Practice Assessor and take responsibility for and deliver a discrete piece of work with a student on placement within the SYTP.

N.B. In exceptional circumstances, such as when a placement breaks down at the last minute and there is no time to allocate the candidate another student, then it will be possible for the candidate to undertake a discreet piece of work – this will need to be agreed with the agency base and the candidate’s personal supervisor. If agreed, the candidate can work alongside a Practice Educator and take responsibility for and deliver practice education to a student social worker on placement 1 within the SYTP.

How does it enhance practice?

By the end of the unit, you will be able to demonstrate that you have:

  • Undertaken the preparation for, and management and assessment of, a Practice Learning Opportunity, reflecting on and critically evaluating learning from this process (PEPS A);
  • Explained, critically explored and applied principles of adult learning, in the setting of a Practice Learning Opportunity (PEPS B);
  • Assessed the student learner against a capability-based framework (PCF) and critically analysed the effectiveness of this process (PEPS C);
  • Offered critically reflective supervision to student learners in applying relevant aspects of social work theory to their practice, and in analysing the impact of this on their practice (PEPS B);
  • Analysed, explored and critically reflected upon, the role of practice educator in the agency
    and organisation setting and using the Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS A,B & C) to analyse, critically reflect on, evaluate, and develop their own practice as a Practice Educator.
Out of Home Care (15 credits)

What is it about?

This module assesses the looked-after child population in the UK and locally, looking at who enters care, who leaves care and how, why have care numbers been rising nationally, and what variations in care numbers look like.  The module considers the following issues:

  • Assessing looked after children’s needs and wishes – the application of attachment theory, ecological theory and the social studies of childhood to looked after children’s lives;
  • Placement pathways for looked after children entering care; longer-term placement pathways and the pursuit of ‘permanence’ for looked after children;
  • The mental health needs of looked after children;
  • The education of looked after children;
  • Types of intervention / ways of working with looked after children and their evidence base;
  • Family and friends relationships and birth family contact;
  • Looked after children and offending;
  • Leaving care and transitions to adulthood;
  • Connected Person/ Viability assessments.

How does it enhance practice?

This module would benefit social workers, residential workers and other professionals who have significant involvement working with children who are looked after, or are at risk of becoming so, or have left care.

Mode of assessment

The assessed task for the module is a 3,000 word assignment using learning from the module to apply to a case study from the participant’s own practice. The assignment is due in 6 weeks after the last day of the module.

Mandatory but non-assessed five minute informal presentation

On Day Three (AM) you will deliver a five minute informal presentation to the rest of the class on a case you may use for the written assignment (see ii below), drawing out the key relevant issues of the case relating to the assignment task. You do not need to do slides, just speak to the case.

Assessed Assessment Task (3,000 words)

(i) Provide a brief outline of a case involving a child or children in out of home care with whom you have been involved in a practice setting. You should summarise the key presenting issues in the case, provide a brief summary of the legal context and outline the focus of your own personal involvement. (500 Words +/-10%)

(ii) Reflecting on your involvement in the case and applying theory and research evidence from the module critically analyse the practice issues involved in the case. You should discuss the barriers and challenges to applying best practice in the case and how these barriers and challenges either were addressed, or might be addressed if you were to come across them again. (2,500 Words +/-10% )

*Please note that modules listed may change year-on-year due to current events and staff availability.

Application and registration processes

How do I apply for study for a module?

We will advertise the number of places offered and will invite you to register your interest. Please note, you must not book a place before approval from your line manager is given.

Should there be more interest than places then there will be a selection process.

If you have been offered a place on a module, then the process for taking up your place is as follows:

Please note - all 3 steps must be completed before you can start on the module.

  1. You will receive an electronic copy of the SYTP Learning Agreement form (see section 9). Please complete it asap and return it to:
  2. You will receive an email with links to an online application form and instructions for completion. You should only apply for the module you have been nominated for. NB You will need your HCPC registration number to hand when completing the application form. Once you have completed the on-line application you will receive a confirmation e-mail that your application has been submitted.
  3. University of Sheffield admissions will then send you an e-mail giving information about your offer and advising you that you will receive a further email providing instructions on how to register online to join the University and set up your student account. The registration form takes you through several steps all of which must be completed.

Once you have registered you will be issued with your MUSE card, have access to University facilities and be set up for the award of your credits.

Remember - both the application form and registration tasks must be completed, and the learning agreement form completed and returned, before you can take up your place on the module.


CPD module application and registration process FAQ

Q. What should I do once I have been nominated for a Continuous Professional Development [CPD] module within the Advanced Practitioner Framework [APF] by my line manager?

A. You will receive an e-mail from the University of Sheffield informing you that you have been successful in gaining a place and providing you with information on how to apply and register with the University.

Q. What happens after I submit my application?

A. Firstly, you will receive an automated acknowledgement providing you with your Application Number. After a few days you will receive an e-mail from pre-registrations asking you to activate your University account and create a password.

Q. How do I complete my registration?

A. You should log back in to your University account and complete all ‘Update Personal Details’ tabs including reading the Data Protection and University Regulations statement.

Q. Why is it important that I complete my registration ahead of my course starting?

A. You must be fully registered to be covered for insurance when attending the University. Your registration will also allow you access to course material on MOLE (My Online Learning Environment), on-line library services and your U-card.

Q. Who should I contact if I have forgotten my password?

A. Go to

Q. What if I have previously registered with the University for a different course?

A. You should submit an application in the usual way however you will be classed as a continuer when it comes to registering. The central registration team will issue you with the correct link to follow and add the new module to your record.

Q. Who can I contact if I am having difficulties accessing the system and completing my registration?

A. The Student Administration Service will advise you. You can contact them direct on: 0114 222 1288 or email: