Positive Behaviour Support

Positive Behaviour Support - Diploma

UCAS code L591

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


This practice-based programme provides you with the knowledge and skills that appeal to employers such as the NHS, local authority adults' and children's services, schools and the voluntary and private social and healthcare sector.  Focusing upon sound assessment and understanding of the reasons for challenging behaviour, it teaches constructive ways to respond to support the individual and people around the individual.  This course is ideal for carers or practitioners in services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.


Consisting of Stage 2 of the BSc (Hons) degree in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, this programme follows on from the Certificate programme and further assists those involved in support roles.

You take five compulsory modules on assessing and understanding challenging behaviour, and designing and implementing behaviour support plans. You are introduced to the theory of positive behaviour support and implement this knowledge in a work-based learning module.

Not sure which programme to choose?

You can study the same modules during Stage 2 of the BSc (Hons) in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

The Tizard Centre: UK centre of excellence

The Tizard Centre is at the forefront of learning and research in autism, intellectual disability and community care. In 2013 it received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its outstanding work in these areas.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods include mini-lectures, together with individual and group exercises, some with the use of video feedback. Exercises vary in length, in some cases being practice ‘simulations’ spread over several hours. There are exercises involving local services and people with intellectual disabilities. We also use analysis of published papers and reviews of the literature relevant to practice to explore the evidence base.

Work-based learning includes the production of assessed work, systematic reflection on practice, participation in supervision/mentoring arrangements and training/leadership of others.

Assessment is mainly based on reports and videos of practical work undertaken with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders. This allows us to integrate assessment with the development of practice.

Programme aims

Our aims are to:

  • encourage a critical understanding among practitioners of the factors underlying challenging behaviour
  • develop the skills of practitioners in conducting individualised, functionally based assessments of challenging behaviour and developing interventions
  • prepare practitioners to take a leadership role in implementing and evaluating behaviour support plans
  • prepare practitioners so they can support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities using a behavioural approach, integrated with an 'ordinary life' philosophy
  • enable students to work in constructive, non-averse and ethically sound ways with people who are often marginalised and vulnerable
  • develop a critical understanding of the key theories applicable to applied behaviour analysis and 'ordinary living'
  • provide a sound knowledge base and develop students' analytical skills, which can be applied to the provision of evidence-based practice
  • provide opportunities to develop the personal, comunication and problem-solving skills appropriate to fulfilling specialist roles within the care sector and which are transferable to other areas of employment
  • promote a shared understanding of the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across statutory, private and voluntary agencies in the care sector.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • social role valorisation, 'ordinary living' and person-centred approaches as a value base for the provision of services
  • behavioural learning theory, its use in skills teaching and service organisation
  • scientific method and its application to evidence-based practice and as the basis for the critical analysis of research material
  • the collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data relating to qualify of life and challenging behaviour
  • needs assessent within a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency framework
  • the development of effective communication strategies
  • applied behaviour analysis as a way of understanding the development and maintenance of challenging behaviour in the context in which it occurs
  • the development of multi-element intervention plans
  • organisational psychology related to theories of change, motivation and successful intervention with the individual, carers and organisations.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual abilities to:

  • critically analyse data in relation to issues of method, reliability and validity
  • cross-reference data from various sources to draw conclusions on people's needs, and factors influencing their behaviour
  • interpret data and make arguments, recognising alternative interpretations and limitations in the data or its method of collection
  • use assessment information to develop strategies for problem solving and improving people's quality of life.

Subject-specific skills

You gain particular skills in the following:

  • the selection and use of a range of recognised assessment tools relating to needs assessment, communication, participation, skills development and the functional analysis of behaviour
  • the development and application of intervention plans to improve communication participation and skills for people with learning disabilities and to manage and replace challenging behaviour
  • the use of recognised strategies and techniques to support the provision of high-quality care within services, including active support and periodic service review.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • the ability to communicate ideas and arguments to others, both in written and spoken form; make short presentations to fellow students and staff; prepare written assignments and reference the materials referred to in accordance with accepted conventions
  • interpersonal and teamwork skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
  • the ability to be reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your learning and explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management – to deliver academic work on time and to the required standard
  • to identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
  • IT including: producing written documents, undertaking online research and study and learning independently using library and internet sources
  • numeracy – the ability to use descriptive statistics in the analysis of quantitative data and to visually represent data. 


This practice-based programme provides you with the knowledge and skills that appeal to employers such as the NHS, local authority adults' and children's services, schools and the voluntary and private social and healthcare sector.  

You will be supported to develop transferable skills such as planning and organisation, teamwork and leadership, as well as grasping the fundamental values underpinning progressive behavioural support.

Entry requirements

Mature students who do not hold appropriate qualifications can apply, but you need to demonstrate that you have the skills/ experience to study at degree level.

All students should have appropriate work, volunteering or personal experience.

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. 

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £6000 £13810

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.