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Undergraduate study
Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing)

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (School Nursing) BSc (Hons)

This course is ideal for you to develop in depth public health practice knowledge and skills to tackle health inequalities on an individual and community basis to become a knowledgeable and autonomous specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN) school nurse.


2 years part-time


Course overview


Your educational journey of personal and professional development in a supportive and student-centred environment builds on your prior knowledge, skills and experience.

This Nursing and Midwifery Council-approved course leads to registration on Part 3 of the register as a specialist community public health nurse (school nursing) and is ideal if you are a nurse or midwife looking to become a school nurse.

A broad range of modules equip you with an understanding of the evidence which underpins and supports practice, and you develop the knowledge and skills to enable you to practice within contemporary school nursing. 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.

This is a practice-centred course with 50% taught theory and 50% practice. On commencement of the course you must have a contract and agreement with a health trust/local authority/employer to ensure you are provided a clinical placement and a practice assessor for the duration of the course and this or equivalent must be in place throughout the entire course.

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

• 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

The course outcomes reflect the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing and encapsulate the ten principles which underpin public health nursing. The course is a practice-centred course. It is delivered on a 50% taught theory and 50% practice basis over 52 programmed weeks for the one-year full-time route and 104 programmed weeks for the two-year part-time route. Practice-based learning is central and you are allocated a practice teacher by your sponsoring organisation who facilitates your learning in practice and is responsible for the assessment of your competence in practice.

During the course you explore evidence appraisal. This will facilitate understanding of the evidence which underpins and supports practice. You explore public health and practice facilitating development of your relevant knowledge in relation to the current public health agenda. Leadership in relation to school nursing practice is also addressed. The health needs, protection and surveillance of the school child are also investigated and community practitioner prescribing. Your practice experience enables you to link your theoretical knowledge base to practice. There is a ten-week period of supervised practice at the end of the course.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Community Practitioner Prescribing

This module prepares specialist community public health nurses (health visiting and school nursing) to prescribe from the Community Practitioners’ Formulary. This module is for you, if you are a student studying health visiting and school nursing and you learn through seminars, student-led discussions, learning sets and exposure to supervised prescribing experiences with your practice teacher in the practice placement.

Enhancing 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.

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 critically evaluated with a strong emphasis on safeguarding children and adults.

Evidence Appraisal

This module develops your understanding of the concept of evidence-based practice as a framework in which to explore different research methodologies. It helps develop key skills in critical thinking, academic writing and information retrieval and begins the preparation for the final-year community project.

Public Health in Practice

This module is shared by all fields of practice. explores 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 gain confidence and become an effective public health practitioner who can reflect, respond and contribute to the public health agenda.

Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Independent Project

You develop your competence and skills in practice and demonstrate achievement of the SCPHN Standards of Proficiency through the Practice Progress File.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Theory encompasses a range of teaching methods which include lectures, seminars, problem-based learning scenarios, peer review and presentations. Learning in practice placement is supported with the development of a practice portfolio, which includes self-assessment activities, learning contracts and reflective dialogue and discussion.

How you are assessed

Assessment strategies include examinations, case study analysis, reflective essays, written assignments progress file and a dissertation. Practice is assessed via the progress file and the development of the practice project, through the mechanism of tripartite visits where you, your practice teacher and your academic mentor meet to assess your progress and competence in practice.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You're expected to

  • have 120 credits at certificate level and 120 credits at diploma level (or equivalent)

  • have a valid registration on Part 1 or Part 2 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional register (defined area of practice regulations apply)

  • be sponsored by an employing organisation that guarantees your supernumerary status throughout the course (see standards of proficiency for specialist community public health nurses, pp19-20, NMC, 2004)

  • have a nominated practice assessor who contributes to your teaching and assessment process, providing you with the opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills you need for complex and professional practice and to lead as a specialist community public health nursing practitioner.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

Increased employment opportunities are available in the public health sector including public health nursing and school nursing.


Professional accreditation

On successful completion of the course you’ll gain a professional qualification registrable on Part 3 of the NMC register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (School Nurse) and annotated as a Community Practitioner Prescriber.


Entry to 2023/24 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 1 year
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 120 credits at Diploma level or above

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2023/24 entry

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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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