Training and development (school nurse)

Training programmes are at degree level and are normally a minimum of one year full time or the part-time equivalent.

A full course in specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN) normally comprises 45 weeks’ study to be completed within a 156-week period; part-time study should be completed within 208 weeks.

school nurse with student

Where an applicant has relevant experience or learning or both, the higher education institution (HEI) which provides the SCPHN course may give accreditation of prior learning (APL). This can be applied to a maximum of one-third of a SCPHN programme.

Several HEIs offer ‘2+1’ programmes, where a graduate with a health-related degree can obtain APL and complete their pre-registration nurse training in two (rather than three) years, then follow this with the 1 year full-time SCPHN programme.

Nurses working in schools without the SCPHN qualification may be known by different job titles, such as young person’s health adviser or school health nurse.


You’ll need to be committed to learning, and always keep your skills and knowledge up to date. To maintain your registration to practise with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, you’ll need to go through the process of revalidation.

The process is straightforward and will help you as a nurse or midwife to demonstrate that you practise safely and effectively. You will have to revalidate every three years to renew your registration.

Find out more about revalidation on the NMC microsite


Nurses and midwives who are registered with the NMC and are working in a public health role can apply to undertake an NMC-approved training programme in specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN). This is particularly important for those whose decisions can affect whole population groups (and, in the case of health visitors, for example, the qualification is in practice essential for employment). Some nurses, for instance those working as school nurses, health visitors or occupational health nurses, who have completed the SCPHN programme have their area of practice shown on the SCPHN part of the NMC register (SCPHN-SN, -HV, -OHN), whereas others working in more general public health nursing roles are entered on the register as SCPHNs without a field of practice shown.

Development opportunities

Some school nurses decide to go into service management or clinical academic research.

The NHS Leadership Academy runs a number of programmes to support nurses into leadership roles, including the Mary Seacole programme. They also offer a programme purely for frontline nurses and midwives to help develop their skills and build confidence.

More information on the NHS Leadership Academy and its programmes.

Education and training roles

The professional development of the next generation of nurses is vital to the delivery of patient care. Nurses can get involved in a number of roles such as:

Click on the links below for more information about these roles.

Nursing careers resource

A careers resource has been jointly developed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Health Education England (HEE) to help registered nurses and the clinical support workforce plan their health careers effectively. It shows different ways that you can develop your career from a band 5 role with case studies, videos and next steps.

Visit the RCN/HEE careers resource for registered band 5 nurses

Partner logos

Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve