Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) Course Online | learndirect

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work)


Do you want a career that really matters? Are you a good problem solver with great people skills? If so, you could make an amazing social worker. However, in order to begin practicing in this field, you will need to achieve a degree. The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) has been designed for people who want to go to university and study social work, but do not already have the A-levels they need to enrol on an undergraduate course.

Check your course is right for you

University entrance criteria varies, so it is always advisable to check with the university of your choice, that your diploma will be accepted for the particular degree course you would like to study in the future. Some universities will make offers, in advance, so you can plan ahead. We can liaise with your chosen university, if necessary, to provide any information they require.

During the course of this Access to HE Diploma, you will start building up a foundation of knowledge in social work; learning about practice, theory, psychology and sociology. You will also spend time developing fundamental study skills like organisation, time management and research. These skills will help to prepare you for the challenges of university level study, and will prove useful in your future social work career.

How does the course work?

Unlike a traditional college course, our Access to HE Diplomas are delivered via distance learning. This means that you will be able to access all of the materials online, from the comfort of your own home. The good thing about studying remotely is that you don’t have to worry about attending classes and you can fit your learning around your prior commitments. Another bonus is that once you enrol, you can start learning right away. Working at your own speed, you can choose to finish your qualification in as little as six months, or you can take longer and complete it in 18 months.






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




Anyone planning to begin an Access to HE Diploma must have a GSCE in maths and English at grade C or above. This is because universities will usually request these grades as a minimum requirement for entrance on to their courses.

Although Access to HE courses fulfils the entry requirements for most higher education institutions, we would like to remind learndirect students to double check with the university they wish to attend. This is because each university may have its own list of specialised requirements which students are expected to meet. Examples of such requirements include but are not limited to:

  1. Having achieved a certain number of credits at a merit or a distinction.
  2. Attending and passing a face-to-face interview at the university.
  3. Passing a literacy or numeracy test provided by the university.
  4. Completion of a work placement or period of work experience specified by the uni.
  5. We strongly recommend learners starting an Access to Higher Education Diploma have a GCSE Grade A – C in maths and English (or equivalent Level 2 such as Functional Skills/Key Skills etc.) OR a full L2 NVQ qualification in a related subject.

Each learner must undertake their own research to ensure their diploma is properly specified and gives them the best possible chance of gaining entry to their university of choice. This research should be undertaken as soon as possible. In every case, the individual learner is responsible for researching the university’s entrance criteria and meeting the requirements.  Learndirect will not be able to accept any liability for the inability of any Access to Higher Education Diploma learner failing to secure an offer from a higher education institution.






For every module you study, you will be required to complete an assignment. Assignments vary and could come in the form of a series of questions, an essay or an academic report. Each assignment will be marked and graded by your tutor and then returned to you along with useful feedback and tips for improvement. From these assessments you will earn a number of credits.

Altogether you will need 60 credits to achieve your Access to HE Diploma. Of the 60, 45 will be taken from the graded, academic modules about social work. The remaining 15 credits will be taken from the ungraded units which focus on study skills. You must complete both the graded and ungraded sections of the course. We also advise that you check the entry criteria of you chosen university so you can ensure you can gain the requisite number of credits.



On successful completion of the Open College Network West Midlands Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Work) you will receive a QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma at level 3 (QAA ref: (400/0409/0).This course has also been assigned 60 credits.

Open College Network West Midlands

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

Open College Network West Midlands work in partnership 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.



Your Access to Higher Education Diploma and the way it is delivered within our innovative learning platform is designed to give you the best possible chance of fulfilling your dream of studying at university. Higher Education Degrees confirm to any employer your intellect, motivation and ability to work independently to succeed not just in your area of specialism but also life itself. A higher education degree is a gateway qualification that will allow you to apply 1,000's of graduate programmes as well as setting you apart from those who don't have a degree.



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