The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

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Learning & development principles

If you work in higher education as a course provider, the CSP's Learning and Development Principles will help you prepare learners for today's changing healthcare environment - and gain CSP accreditation for your programme.

Evolving healthcare

As well as the more traditional curricular content for a physiotherapy degree, other issues now also need consideration in programme design:

  • physiotherapy's role in public health
  • quality and quality measurement/evidence of benefit
  • self-management of long term conditions
  • rehabilitation and fitness for work
  • communication and team-working
  • leadership and decision making
  • innovation & service improvement including service user involvement
  • risk management
  • new and increasingly diverse practice placements
  • flexible entry/exit points
  • physiotherapy's role in rehabilitation for an ageing population
  • use of new technologies
  • tackling health inequalities
  • interprofessional education and multidisciplinary team working
  • business and marketing skills and enterprise
  • creativity and new ways of working
  • involvement of service users in programme design

— but the ways that these newer topics interweave with more traditional curricular content is of course left to your own judgment.

Learning and Development Principles

The nine principles are:

  1. Programme Outcomes: qualifying programmes should aim to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviour and values (KSBV) required to practise physiotherapy at newly qualified level (NHS Band 5 or equivalent), while nurturing the skills, behaviour and values that will enhance career-long development and practice
  2. Programme design: flexibility and local need will determine programme design decisions, within nationally agreed boundaries
  3. The learning process: the learning process experienced by students should prepare them well for initial practice upon qualification, to promote continued learning and enable them to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of an ongoing career in physiotherapy
  4. Learning, teaching and assessment strategies: learning, teaching and assessment approaches should be adopted that facilitate the development of high level cognitive skills.
  5. Interprofessional education: opportunities for interprofessional learning with students from other disciplines should be made available in both university and practice settings
  6. Practice placements: each student should experience a balanced sequence of practice placements, representing a diverse range of settings in which they are likely to practise on qualification. The placements should make progressively greater demands in terms of competencies, such that successful completion will ensure graduates can practise as autonomous newly qualified practitioners
  7. Models of practice: a programme should be based on models of physiotherapy practice that are person-centred, appropriate to the settings and roles in which graduates will practise
  8. Research, critical evaluation and appraisal: the programme should support the development of a questioning and evaluative practitioner who has the knowledge and skills to use and gather evidence in practice, and contribute to the discovery of new knowledge
  9. Resources & programme management: learning opportunities should be sustained by resources that make their delivery and development viable, and supported by an appropriate programme management that enables and promotes peer review and collaboration, and evaluation of delivery and on-going development.

These principles have been developed in parallel with the CSP’ Physiotherapy Framework setting out the knowledge, skills, behaviour and values (KSBV) required for various physiotherapy roles at different levels, and should be read in conjunction with the KSBV required for qualifying level practitioners.

The principles set out the means by which appropriate learning and development may be achieved in order to fulfil KSBV expectations at professional entry level and to lay the foundations for future career development.

Please also note that the principles now replace the CSP's Curriculum Framework (for Qualifying Programmes in Physiotherapy) published in 2002.


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