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BSA Advanced Certificate Course

If you do not need further information but just wish to book a place on the Advanced Certificate course:

Full Details

The BSA's Programme of Professional Development and Training is the most comprehensive CPD package offered to staff in boarding schools, and includes a series of professional development Certificate courses specifically designed to meet the practical needs of boarding staff and provide a internationally recognised qualification in Boarding Education.

The BSA Advanced Certificate in Professional Development

This is a two year modular course is aimed specifically at staff working in and around boarding. Over the last 20 years  approx. 2000 House tutors, Matrons, School Nurses, Assistants, House Parents and HsMs have completed this Award.

Non- graduates complete at HE1 level and graduates at HE3 level. The key difference lies in the end of module assignment. The Course is arranged in 2 parts as follows:

Part 1: Pastoral Care Module

and one of these:

Part 2: Boarding Management or Professional Practice for School Nurses or Professional Practice for School Matrons

Students will normally commence on a Part 1 course and then follow on to a Part 2 Module; the choice of the latter is likely to be dependant on your role in boarding.

What does this course cover?

This course is taken by both graduate teaching and non-graduate house staff, including matrons, assistant house staff and house parents, with responsibility for the care and welfare of boarding pupils. The course sessions will broadly cover the following areas:

  • Organisation and communication in a boarding school; Outcomes for boarders; adolescent development; eSafety issues and challenges
  • Major legislation as it affects life in a boarding school; safeguarding issues; National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools; The Boarding Team; working with parents
  • Conflict resolution;  counselling skills; structures for managing crises and stress in boarding schools;
  • Emotional and mental health issues; bereavement, loss and divorce
  • Nursing Issues and physical matters; relationships;
  • A consideration of some of the challenges that young people face as they develop.

How will this course help me to develop personally and professionally?

At Level HE1, in successfully completing the course you will:

● be able to evaluate and have a clear appreciation of the personal and professional needs and skills involved in your boarding role;

● develop greater knowledge and understanding of the issues covered in the syllabus;

● develop, through support and guidance, the range of personal strategies you use to resolve relevant welfare concerns for your pupils;

● develop your ability to reflect critically on your work and evaluate the need for change or action;

● develop your study and planning skills and your ability to analyse reading and reference material;

● be able to communicate and defend your views and opinions orally and in writing;

● develop, wherever possible, your ICT expertise and an ability to access electronic information sources.

In addition, at Level HE3, successful completion of the course will enable you to:

● develop a clear vision of the school's management strategies for providing good pastoral care;

● develop your study and time management skills and your ability to analyse reading and a wide range of reference sources;

● develop, wherever possible, your ICT expertise and your ability to access electronic information sources.

How is the course organised?

The course is organised around a combination of intensive study days and/or residential conferences which contain a variety of teaching methods and opportunities to learn in different ways short lectures, presentations and discussions led by students, together with group problem solving exercises and case studies. Group discussion is a particularly important aspect of this module, enabling you to look at the theory in the light of your own practical experience. You will be encouraged to contribute ideas, opinions and questions, take responsibility for your own learning and, by sharing, to contribute to the learning of the group as a whole.

There are some 13 courses running at any one time; 5 or 6 of the Pastoral Care and Boarding Management which are run in London and regionally; and one of Professional Practice for Matrons and Professional Practice for Nurses run in the Midlands area. 

  • Book Matrons Certificate Course online now via this link
  • Book Nurses Certificate Course online now via this link.

NB: that all participants are required to attend all five study days for any given courseIf you wish to transfer to an alternative study day, please contact Liz McDonald at with your request, please note that all changes will incur an administration fee of £50 per day.

The cost to participants from schools not in membership of BSA will be £730.

BSA Advanced Certificate Course 2018-2019

To reserve your place please click on the course code.

Course Code




BM 18/4


Boarding Management

November 05-06, 2018 / February 27-28, 2019 / June 04, 2019

PC 18/5


Pastoral Care

October 01, 2018 / November 08, 2018 / February 01, 2019 / April 01, 2019 / June 19, 2019

PC 18/6


Pastoral Care

October 05, 2018 / November 23, 2018 / February 07, 2019 / April 03, 2019 / June 18, 2019

BM 18/9

South & East

Boarding Management

October 09, 2018 / November 21, 2018 / January 29, 2019 / March 07, 2019 / May 16, 2019

BM 18/10


Boarding Management

November 19, 2018 / January 23, 2019 / March 22, 2019 / May 09, 2019 / June 07, 2019

BM 18/11

South & East

Boarding Management

October 22-23, 2018 / November 30, 2018 / March 04, 2019 / June 14, 2019

PC 18/12


Pastoral Care

December 03, 2018 / February 04, 2019 / March 28, 2019 / May 21, 2019 / June 20, 2019

BM 18/13


Boarding Management

October 03-04, 2018 / January 08-09, 2019 / May 02, 2019

PC 19/1


Pastoral Care

January 23, 2019 / March 14, 2019 / June 12, 2019 / September 24, 2019 / November 14, 2019

PC 19/2

South West

Pastoral Care

January 25, 2019 / March 18, 2019 / May 23, 2019 / September 25, 2019 / November 15, 2019

BM 19/3

South West & London

Boarding Management

April 08-09, 2019 / June 24, 2019 / October 03, 2019 / November 22, 2019




If cancelling 4 weeks before Day 1 of the course, a refund will be given.  Cancellation after this period and before Day 1, a charge of £120 will need to be made. 

CREDIT: Image header taken from BSA member school Merchiston Castle School

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the Course Objectives?
    • to raise awareness of key issues of importance to boarding
    • to increase confidence and competence (especially for those with little boarding experience)
    • to bring boarding staff up to date with recent changes and developments
    • to provide opportunities to share experience and good practice with colleagues
    • to encourage reflection and critical evaluation of boarding practice and professional issues
    • to provide opportunities to study and develop expertise in specific areas of interest
    • to contribute towards school improvement and raising standards of pastoral care and welfare
    • to enhance a professional career path in boarding;to provide a university qualification in recognition of successful completion of the courses.
  • What do the Certificates consist of?

    Professional Development Certificate (graduate staff at level HE3)

    Part 1

    • Pastoral Care and Young People

    Part 2 Either

    • Management Issues in Boarding Schools
    • Or Health and Development Issues affecting Young People
    • Or Nursing Issues in Boarding School

    Professional Practice Certificate (non-graduate staff at level HE1)

    Part 1

    • Boarding Welfare and Pastoral Care

    Part 2 Either

    • Health and Development in Childhood and Adolescence
    • Or Studies in Boarding Management
  • How are these Certificates delivered?

    This comprises of five study days which are arranged on a regional basis so that students are able to select thelocation which best suit their needs. Students must attend all five sessions of each course. These Study Day sessionswill be tutored by a variety of specialist contributors as well as experienced boarding staff. Many sessions will benefitfrom joint contributions and discussion between non-teaching and teaching staff participants. Students are alsoexpected to read in and around the key topics and to carry out research.

  • Where and when are the courses run?

    The courses are arranged on a regional basis, with the Study Day sessions being held in one (or in some cases two) locations.

    The first date of each regional course is key and MUST be attended as it includes the essential introduction to the whole course/module. If this day is not attended, you will need to start on another course if available. 

    NB:  that all participants are required to attend all five study days for any given course.  If you wish to transfer to an alternative study day, please contact with your request, please note that all changes will incur an administrative fee of £50 per day. 


  • How is the Course Assessed?


    • PART 1 - completion of a 3,500 word Portfolio, reflecting the learning and understanding that has been developed in relation to course themes and the participant’s learning.
    • PART 2 - compilation of a Resource Pack on a chosen boarding/health and development theme, incorporating appropriate investigation and evaluation in school.


    • PART 1 - compilation of a 3,500 word Diary, reflecting the learning and understanding in relation to the themes of the course and the participant’s professional development.
    • PART 2 - will be assessed by the completion of an extended piece of written work (3,500-4,000 words), in the form of a short research project or an essay on an issue of importance and relevance to the participant.


  • How long will it take?

    Most participants will complete the two parts of the course in sequence, but it is possible to complete Part 2 before Part 1 if participants have had prior experience of working in a boarding setting. It is expected that most participants will complete both parts of the certificate during a two-year period, but some may be able to complete the whole course within a shorter time span.

  • What support will be available to me?

    Each course will be supported by a team of tutors and participants should have the support of a mentor (approved and appointed by the Head), who is likely to be a senior colleague in a position to support, encourage and assist the participant in day-to-day work, and in his/her progress through the course. The mentor will be briefed by BSA and will receive appropriate training and guidance. The course tutors for the taught components of the Certificates will also provide on-going support and help with the self-study units and assessment tasks.

     Reading lists will be provided for each module of the course; schools are expected to provide such reference materials for their participants.

2 Certificates via 10 study days over 2 years at venues all over the country. You can do it, and the BSA can help.

BSA Training Team
of boarding pupils proceed to the university of their choice.