The programme aims to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to become practice teachers. It has two components: a taught course and compiling the portfolio necessary to gain the PDA.

The taught course comprises 8 days, which learners must attend and concentrates of the practical skills and underpinning theory and knowledge associated with practice teaching. It covers the following topics:

  • The social work degree and the role of the Practice Teacher
  • Supporting Adult Learning
  • Reflection and critical analysis
  • Learning cultures
  • Design of learning opportunities
  • Knowledge, theory, research and evidence-based practice
  • Planning and managing a student placement
  • The SiSWE and matching learning objectives and learning opportunities
  • Working with diversity and students with disabilities
  • Managing change
  • Supervision
  • Giving feedback
  • Conducting direct observations
  • Assessment of students
  • Evaluation
  • Leadership for Learning
  • Continuous Professional Development

The Professional Development Award itself is an SQA award and consists of 7 units (total of 64 SQA credit points) at SQCF Level10 (Honours Degree Level equivalent). The taught programme runs in parallel with the Award and covers relevant knowledge.

You will have a Practice Assessor whose role is to support you to achieve the award and to assess your work. The award is achieved by developing a portfolio of evidence which comprises a mix of critically reflective, analytical and evaluative essays, observations, professional discussions, presentations and documents generated in your work with the student. Learners will be expected to complete a number of assessable tasks before working with a social work a student, other assessable tasks will be completed during and after supporting a student/ learner.

The Units of the Award are:

The PDA in Practice Learning is timetabled to take approximately 12 months to complete; learners typically have a maximum of 18 months to complete the award. Learners are entitled to 6 study days which should be negotiated locally and expect to undertake additional study in their own time. The PDA involves a substantial commitment and potential learners should consider whether they will be able to give the time necessary.

For organisations out with the network funding partnership, the course fee is £650, plus £104 for the SQA registration fee - payable to Learning Network West who will complete SQA registration on behalf of Practice Educators in training.