Skip to content

What makes Leading Culture Change in Safeguarding* at Worcester special?

We bring together practitioners, volunteers, academics and others – change-makers who combine learning with leadership within children’s services and adult services.

This course challenges you to envision new approaches to safeguarding people’s wellbeing throughout their life and to propose how we ourselves can make change happen, individually, collectively and culturally. We share ideas and expertise to generate the energy to lead culture change.

Key features

  • We welcome applications from people working in social care, health, justice, education, sport and community sectors and all who share an interest in leading culture change in safeguarding.
  • The course blends online learning with twilight discussion and debate at The Hive in Worcester. This flexible and distributed learning approach enables us to balance professional, academic and personal development in busy lives.
  • You will push at the edges of safeguarding practice, looking beyond regulation and inspection frameworks and towards professional effectiveness, consistency of safeguarding cultures across people’s life-course and inclusivity of diverse needs.
male teacher talking to pupils in a classroom

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree in a relevant field (minimum 2:2 classification)
  • A range of relevant experience

The IELTS score for international applicants is 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in each component). Other English Language qualifications will be considered.

Recognition of experience

Given this course's specialist nature and close relationship to practice, we also offer an entry route which recognises prior experiential learning (RPEL).

Admission is weighted in favour of applicants who can demonstrate a disposition to reflect on their safeguarding practice and a reflexive perspective on their role within that practice and in addition to evidence of specific criteria. The following are examples:

  • Competence in written and spoken English.
  • At least six months prior but continuous practice experience within children’s services and/or adult services (i.e., at least six months of unbroken service experience).
  • A systematic understanding of safeguarding (either safeguarding of children or safeguarding of adults or both) characterised by an ability to highlight current challenges to effective safeguarding practice, its ambiguous nature and limits to our current knowledge.


What if you are already employed in a safeguarding role?

sports training sessions with coaches and young adultsIt may be the case that some employers wish to sponsor their employees to work towards this Leading Culture Change in Safeguarding. In such cases, it is advised that the applicant, their employer and course leader establish a learning agreement before the course commences and which is reviewed each semester.

This agreement clarifies the course’s purpose as a safe learning environment to critique current practice and to support learners and leaders to take responsibility to move beyond critique into proposals for alternatives which reflect the applicants’ integration of information, experience and motivation primarily rather than their employer’s strategic goals.

The confidentiality of the employer’s workplace practices and the contribution of the applicant’s learning journey to their employer’s strategic goals will be clarified in the agreement also.

Course content

What will you study?

The course comprises two 30-credit modules. You will take one in each year of the two year programme.


Learning Cultures in Safeguarding: Reflective Organisations (module PCSC4001)

Organisational learning characterises effective safeguarding work. This module engages critically with theories of professional learning in order to reflect on safeguarding cultures and to learn how to adapt them. We critique compliance culture and build reflective organisations in children’s and adult services.


Cultures of Vigilance: Reflexive Leaders (module PCSC4002)

This module supports us to lead the development of cultures of vigilance within children’s and adult services. We learn how to sustain them by engaging reflexively with inspection and regulatory frameworks. We identify opportunities to lead change and examine at least one critical development in our own practice that moves us from reflective practice to reflexive leadership of culture change.

Teaching and Assessment

How will you be taught?

Rather than attending lectures, this course is designed to ensure we are always attending to learning activities and specific tasks.

The course has three interconnected learning environments. Below are examples of activities associated with each environment:

Outside The Hive our gold clad libraryOnline learning activities

  • Independent
  • Online
  • Reading
  • Evaluation

Twilight debate

  • Social
  • Collective
  • Face-to-face
  • Speaking and listening
  • Debate
  • Analysis

Online portfolio

  • Independent
  • Online
  • Writing
  • Visual recording
  • Synthesis
  • Reflection

Online learning activities are posted in pairs to a virtual learning environment. You manage your own time and energy to engage with each online learning activity in the initial two weeks so that you are fully prepared to make a positive contribution to the face-to-face twilight teaching session that takes place in the third week.

In the fourth week, you reflect on what you have learned, personally and professionally, by integrating what you have learned from online learning activites, face-to-face debates and any independent research undertaken. Your reflective and reflexive writing is recorded in your online portfolio.

You will also receive personal academic tutorial support to ensure you meet course expectations of critical reflection and reflexivity so that you are prepared for assessment.

An illustration of the learning environments and how you will engage with them can be seen in this diagram and sample timetable.

Contact time

In a typical month, you will have around 25 contact hours of teaching.  The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.  Typically contact time will be structured around:

  • 6 hours of interaction with online learning activities in virtual learning environment 1
  • 6 hours of working on this material to prepare for face-to-face twilight teaching
  • 3-4 hours of face-to-face twilight teaching including discussion and debate within small and large groups
  • 10 hours of personal reflexive learning

Independent self-study

Students are expected to engage independently with the online learning activities posted to virtual learning environment1. This requires intelligent use of time and energy. The activities normally comprise reading and viewing material and a corresponding provocation that directs students to current controversies associated with the material. Students must use their time to engage in the material and provocations provided in a way that prepares them to engage productively with the face-to-face discussions and debates that follow the online learning activities but precede their personal reflexive learning.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the focus of leadership and safeguarding and who are realistic about the challenge of culture change. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience in Children’s Services and adult services.


Both modules are assessed using the same model. Summative assessment is comprised of two parts. First, students submit a final online portfolio of 3000 words that demonstrates their critical engagement with the module. This compiles five pieces of personal reflexive learning portfolio writing of roughly 600 words each. Second, students critically discuss (but not simply repeat) key aspects of the online portfolio in detail during a 20-minute individual presentation to tutors, critically reflecting on their learning and delving deeply into key issues of professional significance to them. For PCSC4001, students discuss the difference reflection on learning has made to their understanding of safeguarding practice. For PCSC4002, students discuss reflexively the difference they can make as leaders to culture change in safeguarding and cultures of vigilance in particular.

Both parts are assessed together as a whole and in each module, all five intended learning outcomes are assessed.

The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of formative assignments. Module tutors will offer prompt feedback to draft personal reflexive learning writing that students post to the online portfolio throughout the course. This feedback enables students to review, edit and improve their writing prior to submission for summative assessment.

None of the assessment is anonymous although all work is anonymous during second marking and moderation of marking.

Year 1 (PCSC4001)

5 x 600-word personal reflexive learning writing = 3000-word online portfolio
20-minute audiovisual presentation of critical reflection on individual learning

Year 2 (PCSC4002)

5 x 600-word personal reflexive learning writing = 3000-word online portfolio
20-minute audiovisual presentation of critical reflection on individual learning


You will receive feedback on personal reflexive learning as well as personal academic tutor support. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate. We aim to provide feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.


Where could it take you?

You graduate from this course with an online portfolio that demonstrates your critical leadership and learning in cross-disciplinary safeguarding and protection work – you have successfully demonstrated your ability to lead culture change in safeguarding. You will be characterised by safe reflective and reflexive practice. You have constructive and practicable proposals to make to human welfare organisations concerned with regulatory inspection frameworks.

You would be expected to be in a position to apply for positions of leadership and responsibility for safeguarding and protection work in a range of practice fields and/or assume additional responsibility and accountability in current employment.

Academic pathways

Students could progress towards full MA qualification by registering on other MA modules.


How much will it cost?

For more information, please visit our Course Fees and Postgraduate Loans pages. Fees are usually charged on a per-module basis.


How do you apply?

For all taught postgraduate and PG Cert programmes, please apply directly to University of Worcester. You can download an application form. Once completed, please send your application form by email to the CPD Office.

You can apply for postgraduate taught courses and PG Certs at any time, but preferably as early as possible before the start of the academic year, which begins in September.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

CPD Education

01905 542064
or  01905 855257

Course leader

Stuart Gallagher
01905 855052