BA (Hons) Sociology
Sociology – or the study of human society – asks difficult questions about the everyday. As a sociology student here at Solent, you’ll develop an understanding of your own...
BA (Hons) Social Work
I am employed by Southampton City Council Children’s Services in its assessment team. This is one of the ‘front door’ teams which deal with the assessment of a child and their family following a safeguarding concern. My work involves working with the family, and any professionals involved with the family, to identify any safeguarding concerns or risks, as well as the strengths within the family unit. My involvement with the family is ‘short-term’, meaning that I have to turn round my assessments within a tight timeframe and either close the case or refer the child/children to the longer term teams by way of ‘Child in need planning’, ‘Child protection planning’ or ‘Early help’ support. Occasionally, my assessment may determine that the safeguarding risks are so significant that I have to start ‘Care proceedings’ and go to court to obtain a care order.
For me, it’s not the obvious ‘big cases’ or obtaining a care order to effectively safeguard a child long-term that have meant the most to me, it’s the smaller but invaluable differences I’ve made to children and young people. An example of this was a young person whose mental health was being significantly affected by the emotional abuse she was being subjected to at home. Due to the complications in how she could receive support, I was able to help her, and within a week I had secured her a room within a supported housing charity, and her mental health challenges were starting to ease.
As a mature student approaching 50 years of age at the start of the degree course, and without having undertaken an Access course, I loved that Solent would consider all my previous career experiences as being relevant to the role of social work. I was previously a police officer specialising in the area of domestic abuse and honour-based violence, before also working in child safeguarding in a statutory setting, and Solent accepted those experiences as being very relevant, even if I had not formally studied since about 1984! Also, as a single mother I loved that Solent was my local university, enabling me to access the course in a way that didn’t negatively impact on my parenting responsibilities.
The course delivered at Solent really made me delve into child development in a way that I hadn't considered before. Despite my past career experiences working within safeguarding, I was ignorant about many of the social work theories and models, and evidence-based practice. The learning around these, in particular, has made me a more reflective and considered practitioner when analysing the risks and strengths within families I assess.