West Thames College London

Access to Social Work

This course is for those wishing to pursue a career in social work or other care professions. It covers social policy, sociology, social work theory and practice, psychology, study skills, and GCSE Maths and English.

Key course features


OCN London Diploma (Social Work)

Level: Level 3

Mode: Full-time

Start Date: 04 September 2017

Who is this course for?

Access courses are intensive, demanding one-year courses designed for mature students (aged 19+) who want to gain the study skills and academic knowledge required for university-level study. You will attend college up to 16 hours per week and you should plan for a roughly similar amount of independent study. If you work or have childcare/other responsibilities, you must put arrangements in place to enable you to meet the full demands of the course. You should have relevant, recent work experience (or you will be expected to find a regular work placement before the course begins).

About the course

You will study:

  • GCSE English
  • GCSE Maths
  • Sociology
  • Social work theory and practice 
  • Psychology
  • Study skills.

You are expected to find a work placement in time for the start of the course.

The course is designed for adult learners and is taught by tutors who have experience with and are sympathetic to the needs of people returning to study after a long break. You will attend classes for 36 weeks during the year for up to 13 hours per week. You should, however, plan for a roughly similar amount of unsupervised study. You will not be timetabled in college during the normal school holidays. You will usually be in a group of 20-22 adult students and will participate in a variety of group and individual activities.

Additional opportunities

It is essential that you undertake work experience or voluntary work outside curriculum hours. This will support your application to university.

How will I be assessed?

Your development and progress in the course will be assessed on a regular basis both informally and formally. You will receive regular feedback from your tutors about your progress.

The assessment procedures vary from module to module and so will depend on what you are studying; there will be some set essays, coursework projects, and tests throughout the course. All of the modules use continuous assessment processes, which means that there is no dependence on final examinations (except for GCSE English and Maths).

As you go through the course you will know whether you are meeting the requirements or not, and you will be given opportunities to catch up and make good any problems.

Where next?

On completion of this course you will receive an OCN London Diploma. You may progress to an HND or a degree programme at university. Previous students have gone on to study many types of higher education courses, including BA degrees in sociology, social administration, social policy, law, psychology and social work.

Entry requirements

Universities require learners to have GCSEs to progress onto a degree in Social Working and West Thames College can help you get these alongside your Access course. To join an Access course, students must already have either their GCSE Maths or GCSE English (or both) at grade A*-C / grade 9-5. If you need to achieve either your GCSE Maths or English qualifications, we will enrol you on this when you join the Access course and you will study this GCSE as you also study for your Access course.

If you need to study more than one of the above GCSEs then why not enrol on our Adult GCSE courses for an academic year and then join your Access course.

Please note that this is a very demanding course, equivalent to an A-Level programme, so you will need to have a good level of literacy and numeracy (GCSE grade A*-C standard / grade 9-5) in order to succeed. You will have an initial assessment to assess your suitability for the course. If successful, you will be invited for an interview. If you are not quite ready for the Access course we may offer you another course that will prepare you for the Access course.

You will need to have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check for this course.

If you need advice before you apply, please call 020 8326 2020 or email info@west-thames.ac.uk.

There may be additional fees for materials, course kits and DBS checks. Fees may be subject to change. If you are over 19 you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan. Please visit our Advanced Learner Loans page for more details or call 020 8326 2015.
How to apply?
Please click the apply now button and fill out the online application form. An adviser will be in touch regarding interview dates.


  1. Amy Laver

    Access to Nursing

    Amy Laver

    "Undertaking the Access course has been life changing for me. I feel so confident compared to when I started and am very excited for the future. I am planning to go to university to study midwifery and the support and encouragement I received on the Access course helped me to achieve two university offers which I am really proud of."

  2. Kerry Saunders

    Access to Nursing

    Kerry Saunders

    ā€œI really enjoyed the Access course ā€“ it helped me get back into the swing of studying after six years out of education. It was a really good preparation for university. I met lots of nice people and it was fun too. Iā€™m now studying Nursing at Bucks New University.ā€ Kerry also won a Spirit of London award at the end of last year to recognise her achievements in education.


  1. Home
  2. About Us
  3. Courses
  4. Higher Education
  5. Apprenticeships
  6. Courses for Business
  7. News
  8. Events
  9. Jobs
  10. Contact Us

Return to top

Top toolbar

Return to top

Search website form

Return to top

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. Youtube
  4. RSS
Back to top
Mobile site / Standard site