Skip to content ↓
The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

Advancing Practice

Please note, we are no longer accepting applications for this course.

The Advancing Practice BA (Hons) top-up degree has been designed for those who want to advance their practices for effective working with children, young people, their families and communities.

This top-up degree encourages professionals from a range of settings to refine their professional practice by engaging in critical and analytical reflection and individual and collaborative research.

They will be provided with opportunities to relate theory to practice and to evaluate their capacity to embrace and facilitate change in the workplace. Students will be equipped with the skills required to make a significant impact on their own workplace practices and to positively influence those of others.


Whilst this top-up degree is relevant for professionals within a range of sectors, the four separate pathways will allow you to continue your own professional journey.

Here knowledge development and skills acquisition can support you to fulfil future specialist roles within your field.

To ensure that your studies are relevant to your current or future role, you have the opportunity to negotiate a specific assignment foci.

Pathways available:

  • Early Years Professional
  • Inclusive Education
  • Learning and Education
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People

Key features 

  • The use of regular learning sessions, either face-to-face in local venues or online, enabling you to balance study, work and home demands.
  • Local delivery in a study group supports you to be successful in your study.
  • Two multi-disciplinary weekend conferences across the year structured to support you to engage and network with students and tutors on your course from across the country.
  • You will share your study with students across a small number of interrelated pathways.
  • Opportunities to develop networks across education, health and care sectors.
  • Benefit from strong practice links already established across TLI and professionals, practitioners, service managers.
  • Supervisor support for your research project.
  • One year course (full time) with weekly learning sessions

Course delivery

This course is delivered using a blended learning approach. You are taught through a combination of face-to-face teaching, live online learning, critical engagement workshops, student conferences, tutorials and guided online learning, alongside independent study time.

In a typical week you will have around 8 hours of planned learning via teaching, guided study or tutorials. The planned learning sessions will comprise a range of learning activities which will change week to week depending on whether they are face-face or live online, and from module to module.

Online learning takes place in a virtual learning environment (VLE) called Blackboard, and the virtual classroom, Collaborate. You will require a good level of ICT competence and computer and software including access to broadband and an up-to-date web browser.

Face to face learning takes place in small study groups providing opportunities to interact with other students who are studying on the top-up; they may be from the other related pathways, providing an enriching environment. These study groups provide you with a supportive peer learning environment where you can develop your skills and share your learning. In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least four occasions in the across the year.

Both face-to-face teaching and live-on-line online learning take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through discussion, small group activities and individual learning.

Group and individual tutorials enable the discussion and development of knowledge, key concepts and skills as well as providing support as you approach key assessments.

Critical engagement workshops will provide the opportunity for students to engage in a range of ways, for example exploration of a particular topic or skill and/or to explore it in more detail than might be covered in a typical session. These might incorporate elements of teaching or guided learning, and they could be student or peer-led activities which would be supervised by staff. Alternatively they could involve guided, tutor-led discussions in small groups.

In addition to the weekly learning sessions, there will be twice yearly conferences on Friday evening and Saturday daytime with set study sessions that provide the opportunity to work with other students on your pathway from across the county giving you an additional layer of peer support and networking opportunities.

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 29 hours of personal self-study per week, some elements of which could take place within the workplace. Typically, this will involve completing online activities, reading journal articles and books, working on individual projects, undertaking research using the online library or when possible within the workplace, as well as preparing coursework assignments.

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

This mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support from Student Services and Library Services, as well as the personal academic tutoring system, enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will help you to flourish and be successful.

What will you study?

Our course is informed by research and current developments in each discipline and by feedback from students, external examiners and employers. The module information below is provided as an example of possible course content only. The modules that will be available for study in September 2023 are expected to cover broadly similar topics to those listed below. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course.

Mandatory modules (for all pathways):

  • The positionality of the practitioner
  • Engaging with change in the professional environment
  • Specialism in focus

Mandatory pathway-specific modules

  • Perspectives of childhood [for Early Years Professional pathway]
  • Culture and disability [for Inclusive Education pathway]
  • Psychological perspectives of motivation in learning environments [for Learning and Education pathway]
  • Mental health and wellbeing issues in contemporary society [for Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People pathway]

Optional modules (you will choose one of these)

  • Research project
  • Social enterprise


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or ‘formative’ assignments that feed into final assessment pieces.

Each module has one or more formal or ‘summative’ assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade. Assessment methods include coursework assessments such as critical reflections, portfolios, critical evaluations, projects or business plans.

A typical formal summative assessment pattern for the course is:

  • 1 x critical reflection
  • 2 x portfolio
  • 1 x critical evaluation
  • 1 x project or business development plan

You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.


The top-up degree places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement.

The modules have been chosen and structured to support the development of more sophisticated independent study skills during this final year of the honours degree.

One optional module, the Research Project is the opportunity to demonstrate the extent of your study skills development. As an alternative the Social Enterprise module, if opted for, provides you with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills from your learning to a social enterprise development opportunity.

Moving on further into masters level study would be an appropriate next step for some students. In addition, some pathways provide excellent routes to progress to qualified teacher status.

Entry requirements 

Foundation degree, DipHE, HND or equivalent qualification in education, health, care or welfare or related subject.

We consider applications from individuals from a wide range of prior educational and employment experiences, therefore we will also consider applicants from non-standard entry routes. We encourage applications from candidates who can provide evidence of their ability to work at Level 6 and substantial experience of working within education, health, care or social welfare.

Fees and other course-related costs 

Tuition fees

This information will be supplied centrally by the University of Worcester’s Finance Department. Please note that there is a charge for retaking modules.

Course-related costs included in the fees

This information will be supplied centrally by the University of Worcester’s Finance Department.

Course-related costs not included in the fees

You will be expected to purchase key texts for each module. It is likely that you will choose to purchase other texts as you become familiar with your specialist research areas.

It is expected that you will have access to your own computer. As some of the learning is online it will be necessary for you to have a secure internet connection to enable you to access materials and engage with the virtual learning environment. A technical specification is available on request from .

It will be necessary to provide your own personal stationary throughout the course.

You will need to source and pay for Friday nights’ accommodation and meals for each of the 2 weekend conferences across the year.

Sources of financial support

Most financial support is available from Student Finance England.

The University’s Money Advice Service can also provide information about student money.