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Postgraduate study
Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing)

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing) PgDip

This programme is for registered nurses or midwives who wish to gain registration on Part 3 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register as a specialist community public health nurse (school nurse) and be recorded as a community prescriber. It offers you the opportunity to gain registration as a school nurse, community prescriber, and for academic development at master’s level.

  • This course is closed for September 2023 entry for UK applicants and international applicants.
  • Note: Apply links for the next academic year are available from May 2024.

Course overview


You develop public health practice knowledge and skills in addressing health inequalities with individuals and communities along with public health leadership skills, to enable you to contribute to the new school nursing agenda, and an understanding of the evidence which underpins and supports practice.

Leadership is a key element, and you focus on quality improvement and how leadership skills and qualities can influence achievement of sustained change within SCPHN practice, and develop as a responsive, resilient and flexible practitioner who can respond to the changing health and social care environment. You investigate the health needs, protection and surveillance of the child and family in a health visiting context, and prescribe from the community practitioners' formulary.

This is a practice-centred course with 50% taught theory and 50% practice. You require a contract and agreement with a health trust, local authority or employer to provide a clinical placement. You are allocated a practice assessor by your sponsoring organisation – they facilitate your learning in practice and are responsible for assessing your competence in practice.

You explore evidence appraisal, to understand the evidence which underpins and supports practice. Your practice experience enables you to link your theoretical knowledge base to practice. You learn alongside students from a range of local partners, as well as students on postgraduate courses which encourages different perspectives and ideas.

Top reasons to study this course include:

• Our strong links with local social care services, the NHS trusts, private and charitable organisations, and service users ensure the course content is relevant and current
• Become an independent, resilient, dynamic, practitioner, who can promote a critical enquiry of specialist community public health nursing practice
• You learn with students from a range of backgrounds in an inclusive, diverse and supportive environment, which will enrich your learning experience
• Experienced, dedicated and enthusiastic teaching team have a strong focus on evidence-base practice
• Varied and unique career prospects across all areas of health and social care

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Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

You study evidence based practice and the factors which impact on the health and well-being of children, young people and their families; protection and safeguarding standards for children and young people; the new school nursing agenda; public health, personal leadership philosophies and behaviours and their application within organisational settings; public health nursing practice, legal and ethical dimensions. Prescribing from the community practitioners’ formulary, and designing a research project.

Course structure

Core modules

Advancing Community Practitioner Prescribing

This module prepares specialist community public health Nurses (ie health visiting and school nursing) to prescribe from the Community Practitioners’ Formulary. It is undertaken by students studying health visiting and school nursing and utilises seminars, student-led discussions, learning sets and exposure to supervised prescribing experiences with their practice teacher in the student’s practice placement.

There will also be periods of self-directed study based upon the indicative content and an assessment of your own learning needs in relation to prescribing. E-learning via the site will be used as a resource for you to keep a learning log of prescribing practice experience from which you will develop a selection of case studies for analysis

Advancing Leadership Skills in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing

You gain skills to critically evaluate your leadership philosophy and leadership abilities in the context of working within and across professional organisational structures.

You identify strategies to develop your leadership skills and behaviours that enable you to function effectively within clinical/professional practice and lead within collaborative working environments. A range of learning strategies are used; seminars, student-led discussions and self-directed study.
You are encouraged to share your experiences of clinical leadership and organisational contexts to enable debate and examination of leadership styles and behaviours relevant for specialist community public health practice and working in a collaborative and social care context.

Contemporary Public Health in Practice

This module is shared by all fields of practice. You explore health, health needs assessment, health improvement and community development from a theoretical perspective and within the social, political and economic context. You apply the principles to your own field of practice. You learn through a combination of lectures, discussions, group work and experiential learning. You grow confidence to become an effective public health practitioner who can reflect, respond and contribute to the public health agenda.

Developing Research Projects

Develop the knowledge and skills you need to design and manage primary or secondary research, audit or evaluation project relevant to your practice, preparing you for dissertation. You also cover research governance and ethics, to prepare you to apply for ethical approval or release.

You are assessed through a written 4,000-word proposal for a research, audit or evaluation study, which is worth 100% of the module marks and should be submitted in week 13.

Enhancing Safe and Effective Practice in School Nursing Practice

You explore the role of the school nurse within a variety of contexts whilst appreciating safe and effective clinical practice. A significant focus will be on public health outcomes for children and their families, critically exploring these across the life course. Current legislation and policies impacting on the health and wellbeing of children and families will be evaluated with a strong emphasis on safeguarding children and adults.

Implementing Evidence Based Practice

You gain the knowledge and skills to use research evidence to inform your clinical practice. You develop focused questions, undertake a structured search, critically evaluate research evidence, apply evidence to practice and evaluate the application to practice. The module also supports you in making the transition to studying at master’s level.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Teaching methods include lecturers, seminars, experiential learning, scenarios, problem based learning, case study work, simulations, action learning sets, and peer led seminars and discussions.

Learning in practice is supported with the development of a practice progress file, which includes self-assessment activities, learning contracts, learning logs, reflective dialogue and discussion with practice assessors, practice supervisors and academic assessors.

How you are assessed

Assessments include examinations, a defended poster, essays, case study analysis, research proposal and simulations. Practice is assessed through a practice assessment document through the mechanism of the tripartite meetings which include you, your practice teacher and your academic mentor.


Entry requirements

• a degree of 2:2 or above or
• successful study at postgraduate level.
• a valid Level 1 registration on part 1 or part 2 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional register (defined area of practice apply)
• successful interview and subject to:
• support of an employing organisation who will give an undertaking to enable access to /or facilitate access to the appropriate learning opportunities. Normally you have supernumerary status throughout the programme of learning.
• a nominated practice assessor who will contribute to the teaching and assessment process.
• a satisfactory work-based risk assessment.
A satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Services check (to carried out by your employing organisation).

Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credits for previous study or related work experience which can be credited towards the course you want to study. Find out more about RPL.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

The course prepares you to work as a school nurse and to take practice forward to meet the challenges of a dynamic school nursing profession.


Information for international applicants


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Professional accreditation

Following successful completion of the required theoretical learning outcomes (120 credits at master’s level) and the specialist community public health nursing practice competencies (NMC 2004) you are eligible to register as a specialist community public health nurse (school nurse), be recorded as a community prescriber on the NMC register and eligible for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing).

Following completion of the PgDip in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing) an opportunity will be available to continue your studies and complete a 60 credit master’s level dissertation module leading to an MSC Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing). This is undertaken as one year part-time or six months full time study after SCPHN (SN) registration with the NMC. It must be completed within five years of commencing the programme.


2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 a year

Limited HEENE funded places available for eligible applicants - you must check with admissions before applying.

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£16,150 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

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This course is closed for September 2023 entry for UK applicants.

This course is closed for September 2023 entry for international applicants.

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Service user and carer involvement

Service users and carers support all aspects of our students' lifecycle from recruitment to graduation.

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Telephone: 01642 384982

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