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Practice learning qualifications

Find out more about Practice Learning Qualifications (Social Services).

The Practice Learning Qualifications (Social Services) were developed to replace the Practice Teaching Award and reflect the importance of practice learning throughout the workforce. Also known as the Practice Learning Qualification (PLQ) and the Professional Development Award in Practice Learning (Social Services), the qualifications play a significant role for many social service workers as part of their continuing professional development (CPD). Not only do these qualifications allow workers to gain recognition for their knowledge and skills, they can also be used to evidence continuous professional learning (CPL).

The qualification supports learning across the whole social service workforce and is open to SSSC registered or registerable social workers and social service workers who can contribute to practice learning, whether in social work, social care or other student support. You normally need a practice learning qualification to carry out the supervision and facilitation of social work students’ learning during undergraduate and postgraduate social work programmes.

The PLQ and PDA Practice Learning are at SCQF level 10 and will gain 60 credits. To achieve this award, competence will be demonstrated across a wide range of learning situations. The award is of particular value to individuals who assume leadership roles in supporting, supervising and assessing the learning of others. It is particularly suitable if you intend to become a practice educator with social work students.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

The qualifications are flexible and accessible with considerable scope for RPL as well as the opportunity to undertake taught modules as required. Detailed guidance on RPL is in the following documents:

PLQSS RPL mapping Maps a range of other awards commonly held by social service workers against the PLQ (SS) for purposes of RPL and credit transfer.
PLQSS RPL guidelines Guidelines to help programme providers develop and operate RPL processes within the PLQ (SS).
PLQSS RPL case study Different case studies illustrating how RPL for PLQ (SS) might work.
PLQSS RPL SVQ 4 and A1 case study A case study illustrating how someone with SVQ 4 Social Care (Adults) and Assessor Award (A1) might use this for RPL for the PLQ (SS).

Note: the guidance makes reference to PL Qs at SCQF levels 9, 10 and 11. The PLQs were originally designed to be delivered at a range of levels but the demand for levels 9 and 11 has been low and the programmes at these levels have ended.

A postgraduate certificate in Practice Education is delivered by the University of Stirling.

PLQ (SS) contact information

The following programmes are approved to deliver the PLQ (SS) awards and you can contact them for more information.

Level Training provider Contact details
10 Learning Network West Cath Montgomery:
10 Edinburgh Napier University  Sarah Rose:
10 Robert Gordon University Lauren Henderson:
10 Dumfries and Galloway Council Ruth Shipstone:


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