BN (Hons)

Nursing (Learning Disabilities) Apprenticeship

If you are a caring and compassionate individual our BN (Hons) Nursing (Learning Disabilities) – Nursing Degree Apprenticeship will help you become a skilled and highly sought-after graduate nurse, for people of all ages with a Learning Disability. 

Carer and man arts crafts table

Course overview

Placing the needs of patients, carers, family’s students and learning disability nursing practice at its centre, this is a dynamic and interactive professional course. We will support you to realise your potential to become a compassionate, competent and autonomous nurse who is able to deliver and lead nursing care for those with a learning disability within an ever-changing health and social care environment.

The course enables you to develop and display the values required in modern healthcare: working together with patients; respect and dignity; commitment to quality of care; compassion and improving lives. It also addresses contemporary challenges such as the ageing population, increasingly prevalent long-term health conditions and public health.

Drawing on the most up-to-date research and evidence, you are supported to develop not only your nursing skills but also the graduate attributes required to succeed in the modern workplace.

Your time is split equally between learning theory on campus and applying your knowledge during placements alongside experienced professionals. You study a range of academic core modules and field modules based on theory and practice experiences. As you progress through the course, programme content becomes increasingly complex as your knowledge grows.

In Year 1, you will focus on, the foundations of nursing knowledge and practice, exploring your own beliefs, values and resilience within the professional practice context communication skills, professionalism and accountability, and health and wellbeing promotion.

Building on the foundations of year 1, in year 2 you will develop knowledge and skills with a greater focus on your chosen field of nursing, enhancing your understanding of research and its application to practice and developing the personal leadership qualities to work effectively within multidisciplinary teams. You will also have the opportunity to undertake a self-managed practice learning experience in the UK or across the world.

The final year focuses on your transition from student nurse to registrant, enhancing the knowledge and skills within your chosen field, how you will lead in improving the safety and quality of care and your role in the supervision of student nurses in the future.

In total the programme is a minimum of 4600 hours long, divided equally between practice and campus-based learning activity and meeting the NMC Future Nurse Standards (2018). As part of the University of Winchester’s commitment to sustainability, each module contains learning that addresses one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

What you need to know

Course start date



On campus, Winchester

Course length

3-4 years part-time


Typical offer

See entry details


Course features

  • Make a difference with people and learn how to optimise an individuals health care in a safe, stimulating and person centred environment
  • Learn from supportive and accessible lecturers and gain real insights from people who have a learning disability and experienced professionals 
  • Bring your learning to life through practice placements with partner organisations and people with a learning disability under the supervision of individuals and experienced practitioners 
  • Develop and enhance excellent compassionate care and communication skills, competent clinical knowledge and courage in leadership skills to prepare you for a commitment to future professional life
  • Be eligible to seek admission to part 1 (Learning Disability) of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register on successful completion of this three-year programme

Course details

Learning and teaching

The University aims to shape 'confident learners' by enabling students to develop the skills to excel in their studies here and be transferable to further studies or the employment market. Staff and students form a community of learners who, together and independently, seek to generate and exchange knowledge. Over the duration of the course, students develop independent and critical learning, building confidence and expertise progressively through independent and collaborative research, problem solving, and analysis with the support of staff. Students take responsibility for their own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time (i.e. lectures, seminars etc), students are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team, personal tutors and the wide range of services to students within the University.

The course uses the NHS Leadership Academy Maximising Leadership in the Pre-Registration Healthcare Curricula Framework to build leadership skills through a spiral curriculum.

Digital Literacy

There is ongoing and building of digital literacy throughout the programme.

Digital literacy is important in all professions. In healthcare it is now seen as a vital tool and is used for managing patient records, assessment, research and education. It is also the most common and the preferred way the Programme Team will communicate information to student cohorts.

All students are expected to have digital literacy skills and use these throughout the programme and become proficient in the use of commonly used software. Training and support for this will be available to students.

Digital platforms will be used for the submission of assignments, access information and conduct research. All students will have access to computers and a university email address.


At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.


On campus, University of Winchester

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures.


Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to


Clinical Sciences 1: Psychosocial and Biological

The aim of the module is to explore human anatomy and physiology across the lifespan and begin to understand the physiological, structural, behavioural and functional changes associated with selected pathology and disease progression in key systems. You will begin to apply this to your own field of nursing practice through seminar sessions.

The module will introduce you to the basics of pharmacology and medicines management, which will be developed as you progress through the programme.

Finally, module explores key theories within the behavioural sciences to build an understanding of people’s lived experience of health change, wellbeing and functioning, and how these impact on their relationship with the health care system and wider society.

Understanding Self in Professional Practice

The aim of this module is to help you understand the issues that are inherent in working as a professional within the healthcare setting. The module will include professionalism, codes of conduct/standards of practice, values-based practice, and introduction to ethics, ethical practice, information governance, confidentiality and the legal and policy frameworks that underpin nursing practice. A macro to micro view of healthcare will be adopted to understand the organisation and structure of healthcare.

You will be challenged to identify how your personal values, emotional intelligence and resilience impact on professional practice. Your learning in relation to personal and professional values will be applied through your introduction to Part 1 of the Practice Assessment Document. This requires them to undertake guided participation in care and perform with increasing confidence and competence.

Promoting Good Health and Wellbeing

This module engages you with the basis of health promotion and builds on your learning in relation to the behavioural sciences.  Determinants of health and needs analysis will then progress into the study of health and social care policy, epidemiology and public health, education and influencing health behaviour and the challenges for implementing health promotion activities for different people groups.  The behavioural sciences will encompass models of behaviour change, effective communication, social stress, support and caring. The module will enable you to recognise different styles of leadership and begin to identify your own within a group learning environment. You will also undertake the Lean Foundations Yellow Belt 1-day course.

Foundations of Nursing Practice

The module will broadly outline the approaches to health-care research and support you to develop preliminary knowledge and skills in searching and identifying appropriate literature to inform both practice and academic writing.

This module will cover the basics of assessment (engagement, interview and physical assessment) to determine the physical, psychological and cultural needs across the age spectrum and the application of clinical reasoning and decision making in co-producing an appropriate plan of care.
You will demonstrate maintenance of personal and professional values and your learning in relation to the nursing process will be applied through your continued engagement with Part 1 of the Practice Assessment Document.  

Practice Experience 3: PAD Part 1

This module will enable you to build on the learning achieved in Practice Experience 1 and 2 and complete the Part 1 requirements set out in your Practice Assessment Document (PAD). This module carries 187.5 hours of academic credit, but you will undertake an additional 12.5 hours to contribute towards the requirements for NMC registration.


Practice Experience 4: Consolidating Nursing Practice

This module introduces you to Part 2 of the Practice Assessment Document (PAD), which requires student nurses to more actively participate in care delivery with minimal guidance and perform with increased confidence and competence. This module carries 187.5 hours of academic credit, but you will undertake an additional 12.5 hours to work towards the requirements for NMC registration.

Clinical Sciences 2: Application

The aim of the module is explore the physiological, structural, behavioural and functional changes associated with co-morbid pathologies and disease progression in the identified systems. It will also introduce systems not taught in year 1.

The module will continue to develop knowledge of pharmacology and medicines management.

Finally, the module will expand on the behavioural sciences learning across year 1 to develop your ability to utilise therapeutic approaches to promote wellness and recovery.

Developing Nursing Practice in Learning Disability

This module builds on Foundations of Nursing Practice in year 1, focusing in on meeting the acute/crisis and longer-term health needs of people with a learning disability, accounting for their physical, psychological, social and cultural contexts.
Building on the skills developed in year 1, you will hone your skills in searching and critically analysing research literature and policy, considering findings in relation to the reality of practice environments.

Team Working and Co-ordinating Pathways of Care

The aim of the module is to develop your knowledge and skills in relation to leadership, management and decision making within the culture of a care team. This builds on the Understanding Self in the Professional Practice Context module.

Preparation for Practice Inquiry

This module will develop apprentice/students’ knowledge and understanding of practice inquiry and the service improvement process, contextualised within a chosen module ‘pathway’ (4/5 will be offered, with the flexibility to change between years as new health care issues/innovations emerge). They will be exposed to a range of tools/approaches to change and quality improvement used within healthcare.

It will give apprentices/students the opportunity to systematically search for and critically appraise evidence from studies and information to support their final year project proposal. This proposal will be presented in the form of an academic poster or other form of media.

Practice Experience 5: PAD Part 2

This module will enable you to build on the learning achieved in Practice Experience 4 and complete the Part 2 requirements set out in your Practice Assessment Document (PAD). This module carries 375 hours of academic credit, but you will undertake an additional 25 hours to work towards the requirements for NMC registration.

Practice Experience 6: Self-Managed Experience

This module provides you with an opportunity to identify an area for personal and professional development, which may be addressed through a self-managed placement experience. This module carries 160 hours of practice towards the requirements for NMC registration. 

TRNDA Programme Preparation

This module provides you with an opportunity to engage in and develop a portfolio of learning activities as part of your personal and professional development, for engagement with the Transition to Registered Nurse Apprenticeship Programme.


Professional Practice: The Future Nurse

The aim of the module is to enable you to plan your transition to being a newly qualified nurse (NQN), enhancing your personal resilience, leadership, management and decision making skills. You will also prepare to become the practice supervisors for future generations of student nurses. This module builds on the Understanding Self in the Professional Practice Context module (Year 1) and Working with Others to Coordinate Pathways of Care (year 2).

Enhanced Nursing Practice in Learning Disability

This module builds on Foundation Level Nursing Practice in (Year 2) and Advanced Nursing Practice in Learning Disability, focusing on the multifactorial needs of people who access LD services and the role of the learning disability nurse in supporting them to live well. You will further develop your ‘toolkit’ of therapeutic approaches in order to provide targeted and effective interventions that meet people’s individual needs. The module will also focus on psychopharmacology and prescriber ‘readiness’ as a NQN.

Practice Experience 7: Consolidating Nursing Practice

This module introduces you to Part 3 of the Practice Assessment Document (PAD), which requires student nurses to more practice independently with minimal supervision, leading and coordinating care with confidence. This module carries 375 hours of academic credit, but you will undertake an additional 25 hours to work towards the requirements for NMC registration.

Practice Inquiry Project

This module will allow you to develop and apply your learning from your Practice Inquiry module (year 2) and apply it by completing your own project. The inquiry project may take different forms depending on your and the programme requirements. You will conduct and manage your own project, but will be supported through group work and a mentor/supervisor.

Practice Experience 8: PAD Part 3

This module will enable you to build on the learning achieved in Practice Experience 7 and complete the Part 3 requirements set out in your Practice Assessment Document (PAD). This module carries 375 hours of academic credit, but you will undertake an additional 105 hours to work towards the requirements for NMC registration.

Entry requirements

See entry details

GCSE A*- C or 9-4 pass in English Language and Mathematics is required (certified alternatives, such as Functional Skills level 2 will be considered).

You will need to provide original certificates to the University. If you only hold a ‘statement of provisional results’ and do not hold original certificates, please contact the relevant awarding body to obtain a ‘certified statement of results’ as soon as possible. Further information about obtaining a replacement exam certificate is available on the website.

Study in a science or social science graded at a C (A Level) / Merit (BTEC/CTEC/Access) or above is desirable, but not essential.
International Baccalaureate: 104-120 points to include a minimum of 2 higher level IB certificates at grade 4 or above.

Other relevant non-UK qualifications, such as Irish FETAC/QQI pre-nursing courses will be considered.

If English is not your first language - IELTS 7.0 overall is required, with writing at a minimum of 6.5 (no other element below 7.0)

Relevant Experience

We will look for evidence within your application of a commitment to the nursing profession and that your personal values align with the NHS Constitution and the University. Also desirable, is prior care experience in a paid or voluntary capacity to demonstrate an informed decision to embark on a career in nursing.

An enhanced DBS (undertaken by the employer) is required prior to the commencement of the course and at progression points an update will be required. It is advised for the learner to register for the update service.

Occupational Health clearance by the employer is required prior to the commencement of the programme and on an annual basis throughout.

Course enquiries and applications

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Additional Requirements

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance
  • Occupational health clearance

For International student information, head to our International Apply Pages.

To secure an apprenticeship you will need to apply for a full-time position with one of our partner employers. To gain a place on this programme you will have been successful on application and interview as conducted by the sponsoring business in conjunction with the University of Winchester. Alternatively, you may be seeking career enhancement within your current role. In this case you will need your employer to support you by offering a Degree Apprenticeship with the University of Winchester.

In the absence of formal learning qualifications applications are welcomed from persons who can demonstrate relevant work experience, including work in a voluntary capacity. The course structure actively supports claims for Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

2024 Course Tuition Fees 

Costs to Student/Apprentice

  • Apprentices are full-time employees and will be entitled to a wage and paid time off to study
  • There are no tuition fees

Read What are Degree Apprenticeships? for more information.

Costs to Employers

How much will it cost an employing business per apprentice?

The apprentice will remain employed by their existing employer throughout the programme, who will continue to pay their salary. The funding you are eligible for is determined by the number of people you employ, the annual payroll of your company and the age of the learner.

Read Information for employers for the latest information.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:


A full set of uniforms will be provided at the beginning of the programme. If you require additional uniforms later on, you may need to pay for these. Indicative cost: £30.

The University will pay for an occupational health assessment; however, you may need to pay for immunisations if they are not covered by your GP.

You will need a pair of suitable comfortable shoes while on clinical placement. Indicative cost: £40–£60.

You will need to purchase some of your own clinical items, for instance a stethoscope and fob watch. Indicative cost: £30.

You will need to be able to travel to your placement ‐ travel costs will be associated with this. UK residents may be able to claim reimbursement of travel and secondary accommodation costs via the Student Learning Support Fund: Indicative cost: various.

A Discloure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check is required when applicants accept their offer for a place on the course. Indicative cost is £40.

Printing and Binding: We are proud to offer free printing for all students to ensure that printing costs are not a potential financial barrier to student success. The University of Winchester and Winchester Student Union are champions of sustainability and therefore ask that all students consider the environment and print fairly. Students may be required to pay for the costs of dissertation binding. Indicative cost is £1.50-£3.