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Social Worker of the Year Awards

We are incredibly proud to announce that our Department of Sociology has received the University of The Year Award at the Social Worker of the Year Awards held virtually on 17 November.

Sponsors, Torbay County Council, acknowledged the essential work that universities contribute to supporting social workers for the future and presented our team with the Gold Award ahead of strong competition.

Committed to exploring the value of social work

There was praise for the wide range of initiatives and programmes of work that the team has delivered and continue to contribute to across the whole spectrum of teaching, learning and support for the future of social work education and practice. In particular, the judges were impressed with the commitment staff showed in engaging and collaborating with local, national, and international practitioners.


A focus on the robust approach to teaching through classroom sessions incorporating a wide complement of stakeholders, a dissertation module to help students understand the impact of research on practice and policy, and flexible placement opportunities were all highlighted as part of the winning submission.
Leading Experts

The appointment earlier this year of Carlene Firmin MBE was acknowledged, with her incredible ability to support and change the way we address children and family safeguarding outside of the home, as well as her pivotal role in integrating her work into social work practice in several local authorities and, more widely, strengthening our national and global networks.

Progress through Covid

As well as adapting to hybrid working, our students have gone above and beyond in their work with community partners and have taken the opportunity to engage with the wider volunteering opportunities, including supporting food banks, providing tutoring for families with children home schooling and acting as family workers throughout the local area.


Staff and students have worked collaboratively with the British Association of Social Workers to create a practitioner research network. They were also able to evidence changes made to the curriculum through decolonisation. Focusing not only on race and ethnicity but also incorporating intersectionality across the curriculum will have a particularly positive impact in social work.

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