Teaching, learning and assessment strategy

Curriculum Guidance

The curriculum is informed by a wide range of guidance, which includes the following:

  • HCPC Standards of Education & Training
  • HCPC Standards of Proficiency
  • Standards for Doctoral Programmes in Clinical Psychology (BPS document)
  • BPS accreditation through partnership handbook
  • BPS accreditation through partnership additional guidance for clinical psychology training programmes: The Ten Essential Shared Capabilities
  • BPS Generic Professional Practice Guidelines
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Professional Practice Guidelines
  • Clinical Psychology - a quick guide to the profession and its training
  • Clinical Psychology: The core purpose and philosophy of the profession (BPS Division of Clinical Psychology)
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guide :Service User and Carer Involvement within Clinical Psychology Training
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guidelines: Training in Forensic Clinical Psychology
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guidelines for UK Clinical Psychology Training Providers for the Training and Consolidation of Clinical Practice in Relation to People with Learning Disabilities
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guidelines for UK Clinical Psychology for Training Providers - Training and consolidation of clinical practice in relation to children and young people
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guidelines for UK Clinical Psychology Training Providers for the Training and Consolidation of Clinical Practice in Relation to Older People
  • BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guidelines for UK Clinical Psychology Training Providers. Training and Consolidation of Clinical Practice in Clinical Health Psychology.
  • BPS Division of Neuropsychology Competency Framework for the UK Clinical Neuropsychology Profession.
  • NHS National Service Frameworks
  • NHS Knowledge & Skills Framework
  • QAA Benchmark statement Healthcare programmes - Clinical Psychology.
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 'Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education'
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 'A framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland'
  • National Qualifications Framework in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and associated regulations
  • The Children Act 2004
  • Selection of Clinical Psychologist Trainees Job Analysis Final Report
  • Lancaster University DClinPsy programme vision statement
  • Input from stakeholders (including local employers, trainees, service users and carers, Health Education England) through the programme's stakeholder events, and stakeholder representation on programme policy groups.

Curriculum Strategy & Aspirations


The programme strives to provide a holistic experience of training that enables trainees to develop an integrated set of skills that meet the programme learning outcomes. It aims to provide a balanced and developmental set of clinical, academic and research experiences throughout the three years of training.


The clinical component aims to produce clinicians with a breadth of experience and a range of transferable as well as some specialist skills. To this end clinical experience is gained in service delivery systems that offer a coherent clinical context, oriented towards a population defined by age (e.g. child, adult, older people), by special needs (e.g. learning disabilities, serious mental health problems, health-related problems, substance abuse) or by a service delivery focus (e.g. psychological therapy). In addition, clinical experience is gained in a range of service contexts (primary, secondary and tertiary care, in-patient, out-patient, community), with service delivery models ranging from independently organised work through to integrated inter-professional working. Placement experiences within third sector and other contexts where there is a focus on community mapping and engagement are also increasingly being developed and undertaken by trainees.

The programme aims to promote a diverse range of clinical psychology practice and give trainees exposure to a wide variety of therapeutic models. The programme encourages flexibility in approach, adapting working to meet the needs of individual clients and in integrating theory into practice. The programme aims to produce clinicians who have a keen awareness of context, diversity and power issues, who are able to collaborate and work effectively with colleagues but who are able to work as drivers rather than simply followers of NHS policy. The programme aims to produce clinicians who understand the relationship between clinical psychology and the wider health / social policy agenda whilst also having an awareness of the current needs and realities within the health service.


The academic component provides an integrated curriculum supporting the training. The research training has sufficient time devoted to it to enable trainees to conduct research at a doctoral level and to be in a position to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.

The programme seeks to provide an environment that encourages the pursuit of knowledge that informs clinical practice. The body of knowledge and contexts within which clinical psychologists work is broad, and so the programme's assessments aim to provide trainees with some degree of choice in terms of the subject matter they present whilst still ensuring that trainees who complete the assessed components of the programme will have shown competencies that indicate that they meet the HCPC Standards of Proficiency.

Service Users

Service user involvement is considered a vital aspect of the curriculum. Service users not only provide regular contributions to the teaching delivered, but are also involved in a number of other roles including acting as consultants as trainees develop their research project ideas, and, shortly, involvemention the planning and strategic development of learning and teaching as member of teaching strand teams.

Delivery of learning and teaching experiences

Teaching and learning on the programme (with the exception of mandatory NHS trust training sessions) is designed specifically for clinical psychology trainees. To ensure that teaching is as relevant as possible to current practice and is based on the most up-to-date evidence, much of the teaching is delivered by practising clinical psychologists. Teaching is also delivered by other health and social services professionals, as well as users of services and other experts by experience. The majority of teaching on communication skills, research skills and personal development and reflection is delivered by members of the programme staff.

Programme staff work in small teams to plan and co-ordinate teaching within the nine thematic 'strands' that run throughout the three years of training, and these staff liaise closely with external teachers to ensure the learning experience for trainees is coherent and consistent. Learning and Teaching activities are designed to work towards the programme's Learning and Teaching Vision. The programme also runs occasional 'good practice in teaching' workshops for all those who teach for the programme.

The format of teaching is varied, adopting a broad range of approaches, often within a single teaching session. Teaching is mostly delivered in 'whole day' (5 hours) or 'half day' (2.5 hours) sessions which will usually include a combination of delivery modes including such elements as didactic presentations, small and large group discussion, workshop exercises, role-play and use the use of audio-visual materials as appropriate. The programme issues guidance to teachers on the production of teaching materials to maximise their accessibility to any trainees with visual impairment or dyslexia.

Guidance on document and slide preparation