Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work)

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    If you want to make a difference to people’s lives as a social worker, but haven’t got the qualifications for this job role, Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) will provide you with the opportunity to get back into education, qualify and turn your career goals into a reality.

    Access to Higher Education Diplomas are designed for learners who have been out of education for an extended period of time that wish to return to study. They have been created as alternatives to traditional qualifications (e.g. A-levels) and equip students with the knowledge and skills to tackle a university study programme with confidence. Completing an Access to HE Diploma is a long-established and accepted route to university and the majority of UK universities welcome applications from students working towards, or holding, this qualification. It is important to check the entry requirements of the universities you wish to apply to, however, as all university admission criteria differ.

    Not only could Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) be your ticket to university, but it will also prepare you for study at a higher academic level. Modules on academic writing skills and independent research will teach you to organise your time, write with relevance and summarise for academic purposes, whilst subject-specific units will provide you with the entry knowledge you need to excel on any social work or related degree programme.

    Upon successful completion of this course, you will have an excellent grounding in social policy, sociology and the core ideas at the heart of social work. As a result, you will have an array of social work and related degree courses at your fingertips. Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) is the first step in your journey towards higher education and, potentially, a successful career in social work.

    Why study an Access to Higher Education Diploma with Highbury College?

    Once you have enrolled onto your Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work), you will be given 24/7 online access to interactive and easy-to-follow materials that cover a range of topics, including: poverty and health, sociology, morals and ethics in social work and the foundations of social policy. As part of your study programme, you will also receive support and guidance on your university application so that you can get the most from your diploma.

    As this is a distance learning course, our Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) is flexible and allows you to study at the pace that suits you. So, don’t worry if you have work commitments or other responsibilities that take up your time. Our Access to Higher Education Diplomas have been designed with you and your busy schedule in mind.

    Nervous about taking this step towards your future? You needn’t be. You will have a dedicated personal tutor who will be available to contact for assistance. You will be supported every step of the way.

    The amount of time required to complete this course is approximately 600 hours and you’re free to do this in as little as 6 months or over 18 months if you require extra time.

    If you’re worried about funding this course, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan. The minimum loan you can get is £300 and you won’t need to pay anything back until you’re earning at least £25,000 per annum. If you go on to complete an undergraduate degree following your Access to Higher Education Diploma, you won’t have to pay the loan back at all.

    Modules for this course

    Module 1: Preparing to study

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand how study is organised and planned
    • Understand how to apply theories of learning in relation to personal approaches to learning
    • Understand a range of constraints upon study
    • Understand the importance of assessment feedback

    Module 2: Academic writing skills

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Be able to write with relevance in responding to an academic task
    • Know how to interpret and discuss concepts and debates in responding to a set, academic writing task
    • Be able to summarise for academic purposes, selecting key points, information or central ideas
    • Understand the role of reference, allusion and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism

    Module 3:  Preparing a written assignment

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand how to use key information sources
    • Understand why sources are acknowledged and referenced
    • Understand a range of reading strategies
    • Understand note-making methods
    • Understand how to plan draft and produce a written assignment

    Module 4: Independent research

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Be able to plan a piece of research on an approved subject area
    • Be able to collect research material from different sources
    • Be able to use data to substantiate an argument
    • Be able to record sources of information
    • Be able to present research findings

    Module 5: Progressing to Higher Education

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand potential next steps in education
    • Understand key sources of information relevant to HE application
    • Understand personal HE opportunities
    • Understand the financial implications of further study
    • Know how to apply for a course

    Module 6:  Introduction to sociology

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the sociological approach and its distinction from common sense and other social sciences
    • Understand basic concepts in sociological explanation
    • Understand contrasting sociological perspectives
    • Understand concepts and perspectives relating to a specific social institution

    Module 7:  Social factors in health care

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand sociological factors influencing the relationships between patients and health professionals
    • Understand the role of social motivational factors in health and ill health
    • Understand the significance of social support networks in health care and maintenance

    Module 8: Poverty & health

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand definitions of and explanations for poverty and health
    • Understand approaches to poverty and health
    • Understand the approaches to the social distribution of health chances

    Module 9: Sociology of health

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand concepts and models of health
    • Understand the social construction of health and ill health
    • Understand alternative approaches to health

    Module 10: Sociology of the family

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand changes in family structure
    • Understand sociological explanations of the family to include functionalist, Marxist, feminist and interactionist views. 
    • Understand the nature and extent of changes within the family, with reference to gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships. 
    • Understand changing patterns of marriage, divorce, separation and child rearing. 

    Module 11:  Introduction to social work

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the historical development of social work
    • Understand the roles and tasks of social workers
    • Understand the legal basis of social work
    • Understand how social work services are organised in the statutory, voluntary and independent sector
    • Understand the main purposes and values of social work

    Module 12:  Morals and ethics in social work

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand ethics and ethical issues in social work practice
    • Understand moral dilemmas and social work practice

    Module 13:  Anti-Oppressive practice

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the legal framework which identifies rights and responsibilities in relation to equal opportunities
    • Understand how individuals can be affected by oppression
    • Understand society’s and own stereotypes
    • Understand the use of positive action incountering oppression

    Module 14: Combating prejudice & discrimination

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand theoretical explanations for prejudice and discrimination
    • Understand legislative responses to discrimination and prejudice
    • Understand community initiatives in

    Module 15:  Personal social services

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the development of social care in Britain and the importance of legislation since 1945
    • Understand the varying nature of social work provision for children and adults
    • Understand the role of the independent sector in the provision of welfare
    • Understand the welfare requirements of various groups

    Module 16:  Contemporary issues in social policy

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand current issues in social policy
    • Understand current legislation in relation to current issues in social policy. 
    • Understand the economic context of a contemporary issue. 

    Module 17:  Foundations of social policy

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the historical origins of social policy in the U.K
    • Understand the key influences on social policy in the 18th and 19th Centuries. 
    • Understand changes in the political order. 
    • Understand different types of voluntary action and role of poverty surveys. 

    Module 18: The origins of the welfare state

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand what is meant by the term social welfare
    • Know the purpose of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and its effects on society
    • Explain and discuss early twentieth century Liberal Reforms and their effect on society
    • Recognise the significance of the Beveridge Report
    • Recognise the social problems which the Welfare State attempted to address

    Module 19: Introduction to psychology

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the importance of research in psychology
    • Understand the main approaches in psychology
    • Understand ethical issues in psychological research

    Module 20: The brain & nervous system

    On completion of this module you will:

    • Understand the major sub divisions of the nervous system
    • Understand the structure and function of glial cells and neurons


    To start an Access to Higher Education Diploma you will need an English and maths GCSE at grade A - C/ 4 - 9 or a Functional Skills Level 2 qualification in both subjects.

    Access to Higher Education Diplomas fulfil the entry criteria for range of different university courses and are suitable for the UCAS application process. However, it is advantageous to check the requirements of each establishment that you want to apply to before submitting your application in order to avoid disappointment. Admission criteria may include, but is not limited to:

    • Having a set number of credits attained at Merit or Distinction level
    • Attendance and success at a face-to-face interview at chosen university
    • Passing the university’s proprietary literacy and numeracy assessments
    • Successful completion of mandatory work placements or work experience

    Learners must also undertake their own independent research to ensure that their diploma is properly specified, which will give them the best possible chance of getting into university. The student is responsible for their own research and they should begin this as soon as possible after starting the course. Highbury College will not accept any responsibility or liability if any Access to Higher Education Diploma student fails to secure an offer from a Higher Education institution.


    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) is modular and composed of graded and ungraded units that allow you to quickly and easily absorb the course material in bitesize chunks. At the end of each unit you will complete an assignment which your tutor will evaluate and give you feedback on. The feedback is aimed to show you how effective your piece of work is, its quality, and how you can improve in the future. These assignments are important to your learning process as they are signposts of your progress throughout the course.

    In order to achieve this qualification, you will need to attain a total of 60 learning credits. 45 of these will be taken from graded units for the subjects with academic content, whilst the other 15 units are ungraded units relating to study skills.

    In order to gain your diploma you need to successfully pass all units within the course.

    Important notice: Online access is required in order to access your course content and submit your assignments.

    Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work)
    Following successful completion of this diploma you will be awarded a QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma at level 3 (QAA ref:400/0409/0). This diploma has been assigned 60 credits.

    Open College Network West Midlands

    Open College Network West Midlands is a national Awarding Validating Agency, regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and Qualifications Wales, to develop, maintain and award nationally recognised qualifications.

    Open College Network West Midlands work proactively with employers, training providers, colleges, universities, schools and voluntary and community organisations to offer vocational credit-based qualifications, Access to Higher Education Diplomas and quality assured Customised Accreditation that enables learners gain employment or to progress into further learning and Higher Education. Open College Network West Midlands also Quality Endorse organisations internal training and skills delivery.

    Developing your career

    Many social work graduates go on to become social workers, with employers ranging from the NHS and charity organisations to prisons. However, there are other jobs a degree in social work could lead to, such as:

    • Family support worker
    • Adult guidance worker
    • Careers adviser
    • Youth worker
    • Counsellor
    • High intensity therapist

    No matter which career path you choose to pursue, Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to take your study further and invest in your future.

    Pay in full for 20% off this weekend!

    Course Fees

    Price £3,022.00

    Payment methods

    Pay with Advanced Learner Loan
    (No repayments until your salary reaches £26,575)
    Total fee = 

    Further Information

    Course ref: 40004090

    Course starts: Anytime

    Notional Learning Hours: 600

    Modules: 20

    Technical requirements


    All professional development students are eligible for the NUS Extra card, which gives you access to over 200 UK student discounts with brands like Co-op, Amazon and ASOS.