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Unit information: Professional Practice in 2021/22

Unit name Professional Practice
Unit code ACHSD0011
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Dan O'Hare
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces the legal and ethical framework in which Educational Psychologists work. Particular attention is paid to developing a professional and ethical value base including reference to the BPS Code of Conduct and the DECP's Guidelines for the Practice of Educational Psychologists, the AEP Code of Practice and the Health Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Practitioner Psychologists. The role of support services will be considered within current legislative, funding and management frame works. Areas covered include: LA structures and organisation and how these influence EP service delivery and policy; Funding, management and organisation of other agencies, such as health trusts, social services, SEN support services; Major legislation and its implications; Impact of Code of Practice on advice-giving, planning and objectives-setting in school contexts; The National Curriculum and its assessment; Duties of care of education professionals under the common law; Report writing and issues of effective communication; Consultation skills; Resource allocation, funding and auditing; Parental involvement, partnership and redress; Ethical issues and dilemmas, including equal opportunities; Court and Tribunal work; The rights of children; The management of psychology services.


To enlarge trainees’ understanding of the major legislative underpinnings of professional practice (e.g. 1988, 1993, 1996 Education Acts, Code of Practice and Circular 6/94, Children Act 1989, 1997 DfEE ‘Green’ Papers). To facilitate effective, ethical working practices, including familiarity with codes of conduct laid down by professional bodies, in order that EPs may observe legal duties of care, equal opportunities and the rights of children in their dealings with clients and other professional agencies. To provide a knowledge base for EP contributions to policy, decision-making and change processes, embedded in an awareness of how organizations function within the constraints of funding, legislation and government guidelines.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students will have a working knowledge of relevant legislation and codes of conduct issued by government and professional agencies. They will be equipped to work under supervision in public sector agencies (such as LEAs) forming effective working relationships with Key role partners including: children, young people, their carers, teachers and other professionals, where psychological advice is required in order to support decision-making, intervention and the allocation of resources. Students will have developed a thorough grasp of ethical issues including the rights of children, confidentiality, child protection, equal opportunities. They will be able to communicate with a variety of audiences through verbal and a range of written forms, including formal reports required for statutory procedures.

Teaching Information

This taught element of this unit will include essential and sensitive in-person teaching for practitioner psychologists in line with HCPC standards e.g. ethics, legislation, evidence-based practice, communication Guided reading, lectures, seminars, and presentations will be supported by supervised practice. Placements will be organised (either online or in person depending on what is appropriate for the circumstances) so that trainees are directly involved in the work of EP services and LEA organizations, including attending meetings, liaising with LEA officers and other professional colleagues (teachers, doctors, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, social workers). Course inputs will include range of professionals, updates on legislation, required reading on professional issues.

Assessment Information

Completion of an equivalent 4000 word assignment, satisfactory reports from fieldwork supervisors, and a range of professional activities, reflected within the submission of the Professional Practice Portfolio. The range of professional activities will need to demonstrate theoretical understanding and knowledge of different models of psychology, and how they apply to a given situation or context.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ACHSD0011).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.