Public Services | Bolton College

Public Services

Public Services

Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Public Services

UCAS Code: P26S
Location: Bolton College – Deane Road
Location of Placement: N/A
Awarding Body: Pearson
Professional body accreditations: None

Academic Year: 18th September 2017 – 1st June 2018
Academic Year: TBC September 2018 - TBC June 2019

Full-time study:
When studied full time the duration of the course will be over 2 semesters per year. As a full-time student you will be expected to study 14 units over the 2-year programme: this equates to 7units per year. The timetabled classes will take place 2 days per week. The qualification requires that you gain a minimum of 245 credits, of which all are mandatory core units. 

Work placements/experience:
You will have the opportunity to gain work-based experience by undertaking voluntary work within the portfolio of partnerships we have within the public sector.

Timetables are normally available one month before enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are a student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Further details of scheduled classes can be obtained from your course leader

Entry requirements:

  • English at grade C or above
  • Kite marked Access Course OR
  • Level 3 Diploma OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above OR
  • Evidence of experiential learning not previously assessed by or contributing to the awards of other institutions or awarding bodies (which is open to scrutiny or, where necessary, assessment). Such evidence may take the form of reports the candidate has prepared as part of their professional practice (i.e. substantial equivalent professional experience within the police, security, or public service sector)
  • Mature learners without these qualifications may be considered. However, you will need to demonstrate the skills and experience required to successfully complete the course
  • If you intend progressing onto a top-up degree at a university after completing the course, you will need to consider taking GCSE maths and English while undertaking your course, if you have not already achieved these. Universities require applicants to have gained passes in GCSE maths and English. Please speak with the course leader about taking GCSE maths and/or English while completing this course.

Additional requirements: 
You will be expected to have an interview with the course leader prior to starting the course. The course leader will be able to explain in more depth the requirements and commitments that are needed to successfully complete the course.

Credit transfer or accreditation of prior learning or experience:
If you have already achieved a qualification that is comparable to this course, you may be able to gain credit/s for comparable units. If you think you have relevant work experience that you want to be considered for accreditation then this may be taken into account. Further information is available at our Accreditation of Prior Learning page, click here to read.

Course Overview:

Public Service careers are rewarding but demanding. If you are keen to enter a profession allied to public services – perhaps as a Police Officer or by taking on a role in the field of criminology – then this course will enable you to prepare for this. The course will equip you with a sound understanding of how public services and allied professions can impact on society, from both a theoretical and practical perspective. It also offers a foundation on which to build skills and knowledge you will need to get a job in the uniformed or non-uniformed public services sector.

This course combines theory and written work with an active-based programme that is closely linked to the emergency services and allied professions. The teaching team includes knowledgeable tutors with an academic background and ex-professionals who have first-hand experience of policing. You will have access to voluntary opportunities via our partnerships with external organisations, helping you to develop core competencies and enhance your employability.

Throughout the 2-year course, you will gain knowledge and understanding; practical, professional and subject specific skills. You will develop cognitive, intellectual and thinking skills; and you will gain valuable key, personal and transferable skills. In order for you to develop and enhance your employability skills, taught, developed, and assessed learning will involve crucial skills such as: communication, teamwork, organising and planning, numeracy, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, action planning, self-awareness, initiative, personal impact and confidence, environmental sustainability, and social, public and ethical responsibility.

  1. In line with Pearson BTEC requirements, the Level 5 HND programme must contain a minimum of 125 credits at level 5.
  2. 7 modules after one year
  3. 14 modules on completion of the programme after 2 years.  Each module you undertake equals either 15 or 20 credits (highlighted below)
  4. You must complete all HE4 and HE5 modules to gain the Higher National Diploma in Public Services. BTEC level 4 HNC in Public Services minimum of 120 credits;
  5. BTEC level 5 HND in Public Services a minimum of 240 credits (125 at a minimum of Level 5 and completion of HNC requirements).

Module / Unit map:

This module/Unit map provides a list of modules that make up your course. Each module/unit is worth a specified number of credits: you take a combination of compulsory and optional modules/units, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing some of your own interests.
You must take modules/units worth a total of 245 credits overall.

Our teaching is informed by research and experience, and modules/units change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. You can always find the most up-to-date information about your modules/units and who is teaching them in the module guides or by contacting your course leader.

If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module/unit, this may not be offered. Typically, if low student numbers or changes in staff availability result in changes of options offered, we will advise you as soon as possible and help you chose an alternative module/unit.

The modules/units available on the course are as follows:

Module Code

Module title



Year 1

Unit 1

Small-scale Research Projects in Public Services (HE4)



Unit 2

Organisations and Behaviour (HE4)



Unit 3

Fair Treatment in Public Services (HE4)



Unit 8

Psychology of Human and Criminal Behaviour (HE4)



Unit 9

Sociological Aspects of the Public Services in Contemporary Society (HE4)



Unit 25

Aspects of Criminal Law for Public Services (HE5)



Unit 26

Substance Misuse, Culture and Crime (HE5)



Year 2


Managing Public Sector Finance (HE5)




Government, Decision Making and the Public Services (HE5)




Research Project (HE5)




Personal and Professional Development (HE5)




Justice and Punishment (HE4)



Module Guides: 

Module Guides can be found by clicking here and for further information from Pearsons click here. You can find out all information relating to each module in Module Guides. 

Teaching and Learning:

  • Teaching: The diverse nature of the Public Services programme necessitates the deployment of a variety of teaching and learning methods in order to ensure the acquisition and development of the appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills. Many of these will be experienced during formally timetabled classes whilst others will be appropriate to student centred learning.
  • Independent Learning: Whilst there are significant opportunities to spend time with the tutors and technicians during timetabled classes, practical work and tutorials, there is an expectation that students will devote a significant amount of time to personal study. This personal study time might be spent, for example, engaging in general background reading, revisiting practical work, attending technical meetings and lectures provided by the professional bodies or working on assignments. During the early stages of studies, guidance will be provided on how students can make the best use of their personal study time. However, as students’ progress through the programme, this guidance will become less structured and prescriptive.
  • The learning and teaching methods described below are those most commonly adopted by the programme during the formally timetabled sessions. However, individual module tutors are free to introduce techniques that they view as especially suitable in aiding learning in their specialist area.
  1. Lectures: Lectures play an important part throughout the course and will feature in all modules of the programme. They involve the dissemination of theoretical and empirical information by a lecturer and provide a basic framework that students can build upon through their reading and through other classroom activities. Guest Lectures by specialists from industry, the professional bodies and other academic institutions, enhance the learning experience.
  2. Practical Sessions: Tutor-led practical sessions which can take place in laboratories, be field based or located in computer suites or studios, are a key aspect of this programme. These may comprise demonstrations by staff members, hands-on practical activities or project work. These activities help develop subject specific practical skills.
  3. Visits to various public services: public service visits are an important aspect of the programme as they provide the opportunity for students to view how the public sector operates. Such events also help to promote a synthesis between academic and professional based activities.
  4. Workshops: Workshops are also employed in some modules and may involve the development of skills, e.g. research methods, the application of statistics, presentations etc., as well as problem solving through the evaluation of case-study material. Assistance with assignment work may be offered in workshops, and they play an important part in increasing students’ confidence in dealing with the subject matter.
  5. Tutorials: These are group or individually based and may be shared with students who are studying a similar area/issue.  Students should prepare for tutorials, which are usually associated with an assignment, by bringing any plans for discussion.
  6. Informal Group Study Sessions: Laptops can be booked out via the ‘Laptop Bank’ issue system and used for group work in the LRC and other areas.

Overall workload:

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 10 hours’ independent learning per module per week, and assessment activity plus field trips, with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around  hours. While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional module/units you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each year of the course.

Year 1:45 per cent of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity and 55% of your time is spent on independent learning. /span>

Teaching, learning and assessment: 15 hours per week.
Independent learning: 10 hours per module per week 

Year 2:52 per cent of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity and 48% of your time is spent on independent learning.

Teaching, learning and assessment: 15 hours per week.
Independent learning: 10 hours per module per week. 

Academic support: 

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking, presentations, Turnitin requirements, in conjunction with the library)
  • Written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills (in conjunction with the library)
  • Critical thinking and understanding arguments
  • Revision, assessment and examination skills if required

Our Learner Support service helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Teaching staff:
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules/units on the course. The team includes academic tutors, professional practitioners with industry experience, and technical personnel when relevant. The teaching is informed by the research and industry experience of our team and 100 per cent of tutors have a teaching qualification.

Assessment and Feedback: 

The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark or grade. Each module/unit will normally contain at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you will receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades/marks you receive for them do not count toward your module/unit mark or grade.

There is a formal or ‘summative assessment at the end of each module/unit. Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessment such as exams, essays, reports, portfolios, presentations, and final year major project. The grades from the formal assessments count towards your module/unit mark or grade.

Percentage of course assessed by coursework: The balance of assessment by either examination or coursework assessment depends to some extent on the optional module/units you take. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by coursework is as follows:

  Year 1 Year 2
Written Exams 14% 8%
Coursework 86% 92%

You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examinations performance is available upon request from the module/unit leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module/unit tutor.

We aim to provide you with feedback within 10 working days of hand-in (practice assessment) and 10 working days of hand-in (formal coursework assessment).

Learning Resource Centres: 

There are a number of comfortable and contemporary Learning Resource Centres (LRCs) at Bolton College, here to support the needs of learners and staff by providing quality resources for independent or group study. 

The LRCs at Deane Road are among the most technologically advanced in the country, featuring:

  • Apple Mac computers
  • Interactive White Boards for use by students and staff
  • Overhead TVs to provide easy to read visual information
  • RFID self-check machines for book issues 
  • Self-issue laptops that can be used anywhere in the building
  • State of the art printers and scanners

In all of the college LRCs, our staff are available to provide you with advice and support. Bolton College are proud of the friendly, responsive, innovative and proactive service that we provide. Out of college hours, the quality of learning support is excellent.

If you'd like to know more about the accessibility of our LRCs via Disabled Go:
Click here for information on the Deane Road LRC 
Click here for information on the Construction & Arts Block LRC

The Virtual Learning Environment:
Moodle is an on-line gateway to all sorts of information about college courses.  Wherever or whenever you want to learn, you will find assignment details, tests, and links to websites, videos and forums. Through Moodle, Bolton College is able to support your learning even when you are not in the classroom. Many students find this to be a convenient and enjoyable way to learn.

The Library tab on Moodle allows you to access the library catalogue, e-books, e-magazines, and many specialist websites: You can also find information on how to book a computer, how to renew books online, library opening times and much more.

Technology - an exciting way to learn
Bolton College recognises the need to keep up-to-date with technology which is why we like to give you the edge in all learning experiences. You can read more about the equipment in use around the college on our Technology page.

For further information click here to view our LRC page. 

Costs and Financial Support:

Fees (per academic year):

  • 2017-18 year 1 the tuition fees for the course are £5,996
  • (continuing students) 2017-18 year 2 the tuition fees for the course are £5,996
  • 2018-19 year 1 the tuition fees for the course are TBC
  • 2018-19 year 2 the tuition fees for the course are TBC

The College intends to increase the fees for students just starting their courses in 2018-19. It is not possible to confirm fees for new starters as these are dependent on Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes, but the maximum increase in each year will not exceed the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

  • Loan of equipment required for modules
  • Annual printing allowance

The following course-related costs are not included in the fees:

  • Field trips to sites
  • The costs of books you might wish to buy
  • Additional printing over and above the annual allowance

Accommodation and living costs are not included in the fees.

Sources of Financial Support:
If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be obtained from Student Services:

In addition to being able to apply for a student loan if you are doing a Foundation Degree, a Full-time HNC or HND, you can apply for a Student Loan for doing a part-time HE course such as a HNC: Click here to read more.

What can I do with this qualification?

Many students progress on to top-up qualifications to gain a full degree, or on to related employment. Career opportunities exists across the Police Service, the security industry, immigration, MI5, British Transport Police, British Nuclear Fuel, Retail Security, Corporate Security, HM Revenue & Customs, Military Police and Ministry of Defence Police, along with UK Border Agency, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Marines, the Prison Service, Group Four (G4S) and the Fire & Rescue Service.

Bursaries, scholarships and prizes:

The College also provides Progression Awards for students who progress from a level 3 Bolton College course onto a HE Bolton College course. For further information click here.

Useful links for Bolton College Regulations, Policies and Procedures: 

If you need information regarding any of the HE policies and procedures or how to make a complaint or appeal then please visit our HE key strategies & frameworks page.

I'm interested, what do I need to do next?

In the first instance, please complete the UCAS Application Form on the UCAS website. Offers are made based on the content of the form, followed by an interview with the course leader. If you are late in applying to UCAS then please contact Tim Woodward (Course Leader) and request a HE application form, or visit:


For any course queries, please contact:
Tim Woodward (Course Leader)

Tel: 01204 482 624

For any queries regarding the application process, please contact:
Admissions Office
Tel: 01204 482 181

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Please note, this course information is provided as a reference guide only and is subject to change. It is important that you check all course details, including location, timetable and fees etc, at enrolment.