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Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (School Nurse) - BSc (Hons) / PgDip

Do you have a desire become a School Nurse? Our programme will help you fulfil your career ambitions. This engaging course will train you to become a knowledgeable and skilled health care practitioner and successful completion makes you eligibility for entry onto the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s register....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.

Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City South
  • Award BSc (Hons) / PgDip
  • Start date February 2022
  • School School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences


Do you have a desire become a School Nurse? Our programme will help you fulfil your career ambitions. This engaging course will train you to become a knowledgeable and skilled health care practitioner and successful completion makes you eligibility for entry onto the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s register.

Delivered as 50 per cent theory and 50 per cent practice, you'll develop a broad knowledge of the complex issues of specialist practice. 

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The aim of this course is to train you as a practitioner who can maintain and improve the health of defined social groups and populations through the use of best available evidence, reflective practice and practical, hands-on experience.

You’ll work to ensure protection of the public is assured by using best practice that works within the boundaries of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Code of Professional Conduct. We and our trust partners will ensure that you are fit for practice, fit for the award and fit for professional standing.

You’ll promote public health practice, develop evidence-based public health knowledge and skills, and promote inter-professional learning. We will prepare to practice safely and effectively from a health focus, within a public health context.

The knowledge and skills you develop will be reflected in your ability to meet the NMC standards of proficiency, incorporating the ten key areas of public health practice. You will gain the skills you’ll need to influence policies affecting health and facilitate health-enhancing activities.

Graduates from this Specialist Community Public Health Nursing School Nurse course have progressed into roles with organisations such as Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, working as public health nurses and school nurses.

To complete this course, you need to secure a position in a Trust as Student School Nurse. These are advertised on the NHS Jobs website.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Why Choose Us?

  • We’ll prepare you to enter a practice-based profession. It is designed to produce knowledgeable and skilled practitioners responsible for the health needs of various client groups across different settings of public health practice.
  • The course is 50 per cent theory and 50 per cent practice
  • The course is delivered full-time up to a maximum of 156 weeks and facilitates flexibility with a 'step-on-step-off' approach.
  • 52 weeks (minimum) full-time
  • We accept direct applications to University and to seconding Trusts (visit NHS Careers for adverts)
  • Theory and practice is integrated throughout the programme,with 10 weeks of consolidated practice at the end of your course
  • Supported in practice by experienced practice teachers and mentors
  • Available at both BSc (Hons) and Postgraduate Diploma level
  • The School’s collaborative work with employers and trust colleagues means your studies reflect the hands-on operations of contemporary practice.
  • By joining us, you’ll be enrolling in the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS.

Entry Requirements

UK students

First level registration with the NMC (one year's post-registration experience ideal) If awaiting confirmation of registration, there must be evidence of successful completion of a pre-registration nursing or midwifery programme and evidence of application for NMC registration

To access BSc (Hons): you need the equivalent of 240 credits of which 120 must be at level 5 (higher diploma level).

To access PG Diploma: if you have previously studied at level 6, you may be eligible for entry onto the postgraduate award. Please contact our Personal Development Department (PDD) or the Programme Director for further information.

It is essential that students obtain an organised practice placement with a Primary Care Trust (PCT) and an allocated practice teacher in the defined area of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing Practice.

Without a qualified practice teacher we regret that we cannot offer a place on this course.

Enhanced CRB and Occupational Health Clearance is required prior to course entry.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Tuition fees shown are for the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Feb 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • TBC

Award: PgDip

Starting: Feb 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • TBC

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

This course is not available to International Students

Please note: All communication from the University is sent via email. Please ensure that you supply an email address on your application form that you check regularly.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Level 6

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

A recognised and well-defined professional end-point across all health care professions is the ability to reliably inform one’s practice, and enhance the quality of professional judgement. Developing professional judgement and decision-making skills are now well-embedded objectives across most professional programmes. In this context, this module aims to develop decision-making skills based on available evidence. This contemporary approach to decision-making and developing such skills are core objectives to most professional groups. Hence, the application and assessment of this module can be tailored to all health and social care programmes.

This module aims to introduce the principles and practice of Specialist Community Public Health (Health Visiting) and develop the knowledge and skills necessary for safe and effective clinical practice. Working with defined individuals, families and groups to enhance health visiting practice and promote lifelong learning is encouraged. Students will explore factors affecting health and factors that may affect the development and progress of children.

This module is designed to produce knowledgeable and skilled Specialist Community Public Health Nurse practitioners who are confident to carry out their specific responsibility for safeguarding all vulnerable people within their role. The module will evaluate the collaborative and multi-agency skills required to successfully work with agencies and professionals to ensure the safeguarding of all they work with.

Developing leadership is an integral part of the Government’s Modernisation Agenda and a central element of the NHS Plan (DOH 2000) Our Health, Our Care, and Our Say (DoH 2006), in that service provision must be dictated by the needs of the population not the system in setting direction and delivering services. Driving forward the Public Community Health agenda requires first class leaders with personal qualities that support and develop staff and empower populations.

The programme philosophy is one which advocates the importance of developing knowledge and skills necessary to be responsive to the changing demands in primary care. This module is consistent with this philosophy since it aims to provide students with an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills to prescribe safely and effectively from the Nurse Prescribers’ Formulary for Community Practitioners.

This module contributes to the philosophy of the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) course and aims to consolidate the knowledge, skills, and practice competence required of a SCPHN. The module will enable students to demonstrate achievement of the standards required by the NMC (2004) for SCPHN. This will involve analysing and identifying relevant issues in professional practice and applying knowledge. The module is underpinned by evidence, enabling students to contribute safely and effectively, maintaining and improving the health and wellbeing of children, families and communities.

This module is designed to produce knowledgeable and skilled practitioners who are confident to carry out their role in relation to the sexual health of the school aged children and adolescents in their practice area. As such it aims to develop the practitioner to meet the challenges presented in this area of their practice.

Level 7

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Research: methods of enquiry 20 credits

Evaluating the principles and practices of Specialist Community Public Health Nursing 20 credits

The safeguarding of vulnerable people 20 credits

Leadership innovation and managing change 20 credits

Prescribing from the Nurse Prescribers’ Formulary for Community Practitioners V100 20 credits

Consolidating the role of the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse 20 credits

Sexual health practice 20 credits

Course structure

The programme lasts for 52 weeks full-time. You will undertake a placement, which is a chance to be part of the working world of health and social care, giving you a vital introduction into the sector.

Academic assessments will be conducted via assignments, essays, examinations and presentations. The practice element of the programme will be assessed by your practice teacher and mentor, and you will complete practice placement documents.

Learning methods you’ll undertake include self-directed study, online learning, group work and workshops / study days.

You will learn how to appraise health and social models of health with application to public health practice, evaluate methodologies used to search for health needs through surveillance, assessment and screening. You will also be able to devise, plan and implement health-promoting programmes and strategies, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems through reflection and evaluate the impact of health policies.

How will I be assessed?

There are a variety of assessments, which include assignments, and invigilated examinations. The pathway modules are assessed through written work and achievement of the Nursing and Midwifery Standards of Proficiency in Practice, which is viewed together as a portfolio.

You will also complete a workbook and undertake an invigilated examination to enable you to prescribe from the Nurse Prescribing Formulary.

How much study is involved?

The programme lasts for 52 weeks (maximum up to 156 weeks). Study involves 50 per cent theory and 50 per cent practice followed by a minimum period of 10 weeks consolidated practice.

You will complete 120 credits in total over the whole programme including modules which are linked to practice. You must pass all elements of assessment to have the SCPHN recorded with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

This course is accredited by:

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
The Nursing and Midwifery Council

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) works with partner organisations to set and maintain high standards of nursing and midwifery education across the UK.

This course has been approved and monitored by the NMC to make sure that the education and training on offer meets their standards.

To work as a nurse or midwife, you must pass an NMC approved course at a higher education institution (HEI) in pre-registration nursing and midwifery, leading to registration with the NMC.


Enhancing employability skills

This course will give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and move into more senior roles.

Diane Edkins was working as a school nurse and was hesitant to take on a degree, despite it being the logical step in improving her employability. Once she started studying the course, however, she completely changed her mind.

“I thought the teaching was excellent, as were the facilities. I had lots of support, whether it be in assignment writing, using electronic resources or solving a personal issue.

“The course helped my career, as I have been promoted to a higher band within school nursing. I am not sure what my plans for the future are, but I feel I now have more choices due to undertaking this course.”


A placement is your chance to be a part of the working world of health and social care as it really is: your first taste of your career.

As part of the course, you will undertake a valuable work placement. It’ll not only help your confidence, but will also help you put theory from the classroom into practice. We make sure you get a quality experience and that you are fully supported by a workplace mentor on hand throughout your placement.

More about our placement opportunities


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Facilities & Staff


Our Facilities

Our School of Nursing and Midwifery is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.

We’ve spent £41million expanding our facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice.

In a sector where new techniques are constantly being discovered, we work hard to ensure that you learn using the most up-to-date equipment available. Alongside physical spaces such as a mock operating theatre and wards, we also make use of online and virtual technology, such as our virtual ward and virtual case creator.

See more of our skills facilities at City South

Centre for Skills and Simulation

The Centre for Skills and Simulation offers a range of different spaces which replicate situations that you will encounter in practice. These include hospital wards, an operating theatre and a home environment room.

Our mock wards enable you to get a feel of what a ward is really like before you head out for your first placement. The hospital wards can be adapted from low care to high dependency care environment with the necessary monitoring equipment.

The home environment room is the perfect space for teaching communications skills and allows us to simulate a community setting for our students. It is particularly useful for mental health nurses, learning disability nurses and midwives.

Simulation Manikins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and simulation babies (SIM babies) which are anatomically correct manikins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills. The manikins contain software which replicates real symptoms, and can manipulate indicators such as blood pressure, pulse and heart rate for extra realism. SIM man can even ‘talk’ to the students as they are treating him, to add another dimension to learning.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.

Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.

Our staff

Laura Maguire

Senior Lecturer – Post Qualifying Practice Department

Laura’s professional background is in midwifery and health visiting.  She has worked in both hospital and community settings, here in the UK and in Australia.  She joined Birmingham City University in 2014 as a PhD student and Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant (GRTA).  Her interests include offering excellence in teaching and learning across both the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, within the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.  She is passionate about parenting, family support and child health, research and practice and strives to reflect this in the facilitation of learning and assessment.

Research is an equal passion and she enjoys being a member of the Family Health Research Cluster.  Her doctoral studies are focused on exploring parent’s experiences of parenting twins or higher order multiples during the first five years.

More about Laura