Practice Learning Qualifications (Social Services) PLQ(SS)

The Practice Learning Qualifications (Social Services) were developed to replace the Practice Teaching Award and reflect the importance of practice learning throughout the workforce. Also known as the Practice Learning Qualification (PLQ) and the Professional Development Award in Practice Learning (Social Services), the qualifications play a significant role for many social service workers as part of their continuing professional development. Not only do these qualifications allow workers to gain recognition for their knowledge and skills, they can also be used to evidence post registration training and learning.

The qualifications are located within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and are staged at different levels to reflect the range of roles people undertake in supporting learning, not just of social work students, but also in the wider workforce.

Stage 2-level 9 is of particular value to individuals who are supporting the learning of others by supervising practice, mentoring or coaching and providing feedback on the learner's performance in the practice setting. This role may also involve the assessment of learners. This stage is rated at 40 credits and is the equivalent of SCQF level 9.

Stage 3-level 10 is of particular value to individuals who assume leadership roles in supporting, supervising and assessing the learning of others, including delivering practice learning curricula and group learning. This is particularly suitable for individuals who are intending to become practice educators with social work students. This stage is rated at 60 credits and is the equivalent of SCQF level 10.

Stage 4-level 11 is of particular value to individuals who are engaged in strategic planning and management of practice learning. PLQ(SS) at level 11 programmes are situated within an MSc framework offering a postgraduate certificate and individuals may then have the opportunity to progress to further MSc level study to achieve a postgraduate Diploma or an MSc. This stage is rated at 60 credits and is the equivalent of SCQF level 11.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The qualifications are flexible and accessible with considerable scope for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as well as the opportunity to undertake taught modules as required. Detailed guidance on RPL for the PLQ(SS) is available and comprises of four documents:

PLQSS RPL mapping

Maps a range of other awards commonly held by social service workers against the PLQ(SS) for purposes of RPL and credit transfer.

PLQSS RPL guidelines

Guidelines to help programme providers develop and operate RPL processes within the PLQ(SS).

PLQSS RPL case study

Different case studies illustrating how RPL for PLQ(SS) might work.

PLQSS RPL SVQ 4 and A1 case study

A case study illustrating how someone with SVQ 4 Social Care (Adults) and Assessor Award (A1) might use this for RPL for the PLQ(SS).

PLQ (SS) contact information

The following programmes are approved to deliver the PLQ (SS) awards and information about the programmes is available from the programme coordinators.


Training provider

Contact details


Learning Network West

Darren Chapman:


Dundee City Council (Tayforth)

Gillian Ferguson:


Robert Gordon University

Sheila Slesser:


Glasgow Caledonian University

Elizabeth Teiger