Salford University has been delivering the Department for Education commissioned Step Up to Social Work Programme since the pilot ran for the first time in 2010. The programme is delivered through Local Authority partnerships and is an employer lead, fast track Social Work programme which leads to a post graduate qualification in Social Work. Once qualified students go on to register with Social Work England and are then able to work as Social Workers.

We have strong relationships with Local Authority partners which ensures we produce well rounded Social Workers, ready for the fast-paced reality of social work practice.

The course is full time and intensive. Students receive bursary support and do not pay University tuition fees. The course is currently delivered through four taught modules, two of the modules have Social Work practice-based placements within Local Authorities. The course aims to deliver an increased children and families Social Work workforce; however the qualification equips students to work in either a child or adult setting.

Entry Requirements

Cohort 7 commenced in January 2022 and recruitment to the programme is currently closed. Application criteria for the programme at that time was as follows,

  • a minimum 2:1 level 6 degree qualification
  • a minimum 2:2 honours degree plus a higher degree (level 7 or above), which can include a masters degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • 6 months experience (paid or voluntary) of working with children
  • GSCE grade c or equivalent in maths and English

Step Up to Social Work is not a rolling programme and the Department for Education consider, Cohort to Cohort, if this is something they wish to commission again. They have announced that there will be a Cohort 8, which will commence in January 2024. It is likely that the degree level criteria for this Cohort will be a 2:2. Please see the Department for Education website – which will be active when applications open. Apply here.

Next Steps

Step Up To Social Work

Salford Current Step Up to Social Work Partnerships

Currently we deliver a course with;

The Greater Manchester Partnership, which includes all 10 Greater Manchester Local Authorities. Salford is the lead Local Authority. Teaching is delivered at Salford University.

The West and North Yorkshire Partnership which includes Leeds, Bradford, North Yorkshire, Wakefield, and Kirklees. Leeds is the lead Local Authority. Teaching is delivered in Leeds City Centre.

The University does not manage the admissions process to the course. Once information on the next Cohort is on the DfE website, if you are interested you may be able to have questions answered there. The current programme lead is Dr Lynda Shentall, and you can contact her on