Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Post Graduate Certificate (Level 7) & Advanced Diploma (Level 6): Leading Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) in Organisations

Delivered in partnership with Northumbria University and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, the PG Cert/Ad Diploma in Leading Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) in organisations, develops knowledge, understanding and competence in using PBS.

Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) is as an evidence-based, effective, ethical and person-centred approach to supporting people with learning disabilities to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of behaviour that challenges.

It also enables the facilitation of practice-based learning, competency assessment and ongoing supervision of others within their own organisation providing support to those with learning disability and/or autism with or at risk of behaviours that challenge.

The programme is provided at 2 levels to offer flexibility to those who lead or manage staff, who may have differing academic profiles and entry levels. At each level, the student will engage with, critically analyse and evaluate the theory of PBS as an approach. Students will understand and apply the core concepts in practice, critically reflecting on their own practice and that of others in contributing to functional behaviour assessment, and the factors that may influence behaviour. Students will collect and synthesise data, drawing conclusions regarding behaviour (formulation) and develop, implement and critically evaluate behaviour support plans. Students will develop expert knowledge in PBS and be assessed in theory and in practice. 

Students will develop knowledge and skills in developing and assessing the proficiency of others within their organisation and giving constructive feedback and support using a coaching approach. Students will provide ongoing supervision to team members who are using a PBS approach in practice.

Programme aims

  • To develop knowledge in the principles and theory underpinning positive behavioural support
  • To develop competence in completing functional behaviour assessment, implementing and evaluating positive behavioural support plans
  • To develop competence in leading positive behavioural support

Course structure

The programmes are made up of 3 modules each worth 20 credits, totalling 60 credits, delivered over 12 months. They will be delivered via blended learning, which involves remote delivery, university-based contact days, on-line supported learning, guided study, practice-based learning & competency assessment, and academic assessment. On successful completion of this programme, participants will achieve an Advanced Diploma (level 6) or Post Graduate Certificate (level 7).

There is the potential for the Post Graduate Certificate to serve as a steppingstone towards studying for a Master's degree at Northumbria University. 

Course outline

Teaching delivery method may change in response to Government and University Covid-19 guidelines and recommendations.



Learning (estimated hours)



Principles of PBS

Tutor guided remote teaching (18)

Independent (82)

Work based (100)

Essay critiquing PBS as an approach (2500 words)


Applying PBS in Practice

Tutor guided remote teaching or face to face (18)

Independent (82)

Work based (100)

Case study (anonymous) exploring how you undertook a behaviour assessment, the findings, the behaviour support plan developed and implemented and its effectiveness (2500 words)


Leading PBS in Organisations

Face to face (16)

Independent (84)

Work based (100)

Written reflective discussion of own learning relating to leading PBS in own organisation and action plan (2500 words)

Work based assessment of identified competencies within the PBS Coalition Competence Framework (2015) across all modules.

How students will be supported

Students will be supported by the module teacher who will guide learning and assessment throughout the programme. The module teacher was involved in developing the e-learning materials and assessment exercises and will provide remote and face-to-face teaching and assessment, offering feedback on progress.

Course content

Principles of PBS - module 1

  • The meaning and impact of learning disability and autism and the importance of values based support
  • Understanding challenging behaviour
  • Key elements of PBS
  • Functional approach to understanding behaviour
  • Process of behaviour support planning

Applying PBS in practice - module 2

  • Assessing and understanding behaviour
  • Designing behaviour support plans
  • Implementing and evaluating PBS plans

Leading PBS in organisations - module 3

  • Leading others to develop PBS competence
  • Approaches to facilitate PBS learning and assessment
  • Factors influencing the implementation of PBS
  • Lead initiatives to improve practice standards

Practice-based competency assessment

This programme enables the development and assessment of practice-based proficiency for PBS specialists/leaders/managers identified in the PBS competency framework (PBS Coalition 2015). Assessment will be completed by someone who meets the highest level of the PBS Academy standards for practitioners. Anyone assessing any of the competencies should have undergone training and development that has enabled them to be competent to support and assess students.

It is anticipated that the supervisor will possess a Level 7 post qualification in PBS/ABA or equivalent, with at least one year post PBS/ABA qualification in supervised practice from a more experienced practitioner (this is in line with the PBS Academy Training Standards and individual standard for practitioners).

Competency documentation and related information/requirements will be made available within module 1.

Individual entry requirements

Post Graduate Certificate in Leading PBS in organisations (60 credits at level 7)

  • Have evidence of level 6 (degree level) study (2:2 or above)
  • Preferably in last five years
  • Minimum two years' experience working with people with learning disabilities/ autism and behaviour that challenges (Employers Discretion)

Advanced Diploma in Leading PBS in organisation (60 credits at level 6)

  • Must have evidence of successful completion of level 5 study (diploma level) or equivalent 
  • Minimum two years' experience working with people with learning disabilities/ autism and behaviour that challenges (Employers Discretion)

Additional requirements for both Level 6 and 7

  • Supported at senior level by the organisation to undertake this programme
  • Supported by line manager to undertake this programme
  • Appropriate position in organisation to influence PBS delivery
  • Commitment to completing this programme of learning
  • Commitment to attend regular meetings with a supervisor and engage with practice-based competency assessment
  • Commitment and time to support the development of other PBS providers as part of this practice leader role
  • Participate in evaluation

Start date

Applications for this qualification have now closed. If you would like to express an interest in this qualification, should further funding become available, then please contact us.

Care Academy Care Academy - mobile version
Northumbria University logo
Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) logo

In partnership with

  • Northumbria University
  • Positive Behavioural Support (PBS)
Contact us
Care Academy
03000 260 222