Practice Learning (Social Services) Graduate Certificate

This programme will support your development and understanding of Practice Education in a variety of Social Services settings


This programme will develop your understanding of practice education in a variety of social services settings and your ability to apply the professional skills and techniques associated with practice education in social work.

Please complete your application by clicking on the button on this webpage. When your application has been received and verified, you will be sent an employer endorsement form. Please ask your employer to complete and sign this form so that you can return it to the Admissions Team.

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Mode of Study:



1 years

Course details

The main aim of the programme is to provide an integrated course of knowledge, skills and values to equip you to work effectively as a social work practice educator.

You will:

  • develop a critical understanding of the ways you can work with others to create a supportive learning culture and environment
  • develop competence in the provision and facilitation of learning opportunities within and across settings
  • utilise a range of advanced skills and techniques to support the learning of students in practice placements
  • appraise theories of learning so that you can devise and adapt your approach according to the needs of different students
  • exercise responsibility for evaluating students’ learning against professional standards of practice

On successfully completing this programme, you will obtain a Graduate Certificate at SCQF Level 10.



The programme has been developed in accordance with the Rules and Requirements for Specialist Training for Social Service Workers Scotland (2005) and the Standards for Practice Learning Qualifications at SCQF Level 10. Successful entrants are funded through their employer.

The programme consists of three modules, which need to be undertaken in sequence. The first two are taught modules, while the final module consists of a supervised, assessed student placement. 

Module 1: Creating, Supporting and Evaluating Learning Opportunities in Practice Settings 

Module 1 will have a specific focus on establishing effective working relationships to support learning as part of a wider interprofessional context. You will consider how to lead the creation of a positive learning culture and environment that supports your own and others’ learning and, more particularly, how you will support and create learning opportunities for a social work student. You will be able to reflect on your own experiences as a learner, while being introduced to theoretical approaches to adult learning. Social work values and the Scottish Social Services Council’s Codes of Practice will underpin all your learning, as you consider ethical practice in the practice educator role. The teaching materials and linked assessments will give you an opportunity to start preparing for the supervised practice learning placement.

Module 2: Supervising and Assessing Social Work Students in Practice Placements

Module 2 focuses on the supervision and assessment of social work students in practice placements. You will consider how you can support students to maximise their individual potential within the context of legislation, policy and guidance relevant to the setting. You will learn about assessment frameworks and strategies to ensure that the assessment of students is fair and based on solid evidence, linked to the Standards in Social Work Education. You will consider how you can involve people receiving services and carers in these processes. Alongside this, you will reflect on your own knowledge base and how you will support students in making links between theory and practice. The role of supervision in supporting students will be explored and you will prepare for the challenges of working with students who fail to meet the required standards.

Module 3: Supervised Social Work Practice Learning Placement 

Module 3 is a formally assessed supervised practice placement where you will bring all of your learning together in practice to supervise a social work student as their practice educator. You will be supported and assessed throughout by an experienced practice assessor. The programme is designed to run alongside Edinburgh Napier University’s Master of Social Work Programme. Supervising a student from this programme for Module 3 will allow you to complete the programme in the shortest possible time. However, the University recognises that this will not be possible for all candidates and, if necessary, other arrangements can therefore be discussed with the Programme Leader. 

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    How you’ll be taught

    Before you commence your studies, you will be provided with an induction to the University.

    You will study on a part-time basis. 

    Modules 1 and 2 consist of four days of taught sessions, and Module 3 consists of the student placement, a two-hour online introduction and two ‘recall days’ at the University.

    Each module is equivalent to 200 hours of study therefore you will be expected to engage in guided and self-directed study before and after the taught sessions.

    The programme uses a blended approach to learning, teaching and assessment. As well as spending time on campus engaged in group-based learning, you will also be expected to be proactive in identifying and accessing relevant literature and other learning resources. You will be encouraged to identify and utilise your transferable skills and knowledge throughout the programme and will be supported in this through scenario-based learning, group work, role play and problem-based learning.

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    For Modules 1 and 2, you will be assessed on your completion of a 1500-word reflective assignment.

    For Module 3, you will be supported and assessed by a practice assessor who will observe you in supervision with the student on two occasions and complete a report at the end of the placement.

    At the end of the programme, you will submit a portfolio of evidence gathered during the placement consisting of feedback from the social work student and colleagues, feedback from the two observed supervision sessions with the student, the practice assessor's report and a 1500-word reflective assignment.

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    Work placement

    Module 3 consists of the student placement.

Popular modules

The programme consists of three modules, (see under 'Course Details' opposite). These need to be undertaken in sequence. The first two are taught modules, while the final module consists of a supervised, assessed student placement. 

Module 1: Creating, Supporting and Evaluating Learning Opportunities in Practice Settings 

Module 2: Supervising and Assessing Social Work Students in Practice Placements

Module 3: Supervised Social Work Practice Learning Placement 


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Practice Learning (Social Services)?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.


To enter this programme, applicants must normally have:

  • A Scottish bachelor’s degree (SCQF level 9) or equivalent or above AND a relevant professional social work qualification
  • A minimum of two years relevant post-qualifying experience in a social services or other relevant setting, and current experience of working in social services settings
  • The endorsement and support of your employing organisation for undertaking this award including evidence that your employing organisation undertakes to provide you with a named practice assessor who they confirm is suitably qualified to take on this role
  • Registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) as a Social Worker or eligible for such registration.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Please contact the School for information on the fees for this course.

The cost of the programme is £1500. Successful applicants will have their course fees paid by their employer in advance.


After successfully completing this programme, you will be qualified to take on the role of a practice educator and provide formally assessed practice learning opportunities for social work students across the higher education sector.

The qualification is endorsed by local stakeholders and is important for continuing professional development. It is often seen as a step towards middle management roles, as you will develop your supervision and management skills.