SPE4012 : Professional Issues

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Helen Stringer
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1.       To integrate theory into professional practice.
2.       To develop awareness of a range of professional issues specific to speech and language therapy.
3.       To understand how the profession fits into the wider NHS structure.
4.       To develop a range of professional skills involving teamwork, facilitation skills, networking skills and advanced presentation skills.

This module contributes to a degree qualification in BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Sciences leading to a vocational qualification in Speech and Language Therapy.

This module consists of three components, attendance is compulsory for all three components:

1.       Practitioner seminars. These are led by clinical staff and invited speakers and take different forms depending upon the topic. Seminars will be presented in the first 3 weeks of Semester 1 and week 5 of semester 2.

2.       Group debates. A group of 3-4 students will be responsible for organising a 55 minute seminar in the form of a debate on an allocated professional issue related to government policy. The debates will take place in weeks 4-7 of Semester 1 and should be in the following format:
•       5 minute presentation FOR the debate (propose)
•       5 minute presentation AGAINST the debate (propose)
•       5 minute presentation FOR the debate (second)
•       5 minute presentation AGAINST the debate (second)
•       30 minute facilitated group discussion involving the audience
•       5 minutes vote and summary

One week in advance of the debate a selection of pre-reading papers should be sent out to the audience. Each student should be sent no more than two papers, but you can send out as many different papers as you like. The aim of the pre- reading is to give the audience some insight into the topic so that the audience can ask questions or make statements contributing to the debate from different points of view. All members of the audience are expected to contribute to the debate.

Outline Of Syllabus

It is recommended that a brief PowerPoint presentation supports both arguments. A handout summarising the main points, with additional information for the debate and including a reference list of papers, books and websites should be provided (double sided photocopies).

The group members will be responsible for formulating the question for the debate so that it is relevant to the current organisational and political context. Relevance for newly qualified SLTs is also a factor to consider.

All debates will be appraised and provided with feedback from peers. Students will receive written feedback from peers and tutors. Marks are decided by the module leaders.

You must send copies of all PowerPoints and supporting materials, reading list etc. to the module leader immediately after the session so that they can be posted on Blackboard along with the pre-reading. Debates may be video recorded and made available on Blackboard.

3.       Professional Issues Class Book. During semester one and two students will independently investigate a professional issue assigned to them by the module leader. The assignment will address issues of policy, theory, evidence and clinical practice. It is important to present a balanced, objective view that provides information but also analyses and critically appraises that information, rather than being only descriptive. Reference to the evidence base is expected, along with relevance to newly qualified SLTs. Students will present the information orally and in written form, the latter will contribute to a resource of professional issues that will be of relevance and practical use when applying for jobs and during the first few years of working life.

Individual students will present a 15 minute seminar to the year group (50% of mark for this assessment). The seminar will comprise a short presentation that outlines the main points of interest/contention in the topic, identifying areas that may be of particular relevance to newly qualified SLTs; at least 5 minutes will be devoted to a facilitated question and answer/discussion session to enable the student to ensure the main issues have been addressed appropriately. The seminar is compulsory for all students to attend.

A written handout of up to 4 pages arising from the seminar will be submitted (50% of the mark for this assessment). The handout is a contribution to the Professional Issues Class Book and should be in the following format:
•       Title
•       Information summary of policy, legislation etc. related to the topic
•       A balanced critical appraisal of the policy, legislation etc. related to the topic, including links to SLT theory, evidence, clinical practice, other health/social care/education professionals or news media. This section may include information/opinions from working SLTs or other health professionals; data from personally conducted surveys
•       Points of particular relevance to newly qualified SLTs
(total of the above no more than 3 pages)
•       A comprehensive reference list and bibliography including links to internet resources
See also the Professional Issues Class Book Style Guide. There will be a staggered hand in date for this assignment (see timetable). Assignments must be submitted by Turnitin. Students will be given the opportunity to revise their contribution following feedback and marking before it is compiled into the Class Book. The final version for the Class Book must be emailed to the module leader within seven days of receiving feedback. The Class Book will be made available to all students in PDF format.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1124:00124:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Oral and written presentation skills team building skills, facilitation skills, networking skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation601M50Group presentation (Debate). Set in house.
Oral Presentation1202M50Group presentation (seminar) and written assignment. Set in house Individual contribution to class book
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will study current policy and legislation relating to the delivery of speech and language therapy services in the UK and synthesise it with theoretical and practical knowledge gained elsewhere in the programme. They will use problem solving and evidence based practice skills to formulate balanced arguments on selected topics. Oral presentation (debate) provides opportunity for students to work together in groups to present arguments for and against a professional issue and to lead a discussion of their peers. Individual Contributions to the Professional Issues Class Book provide opportunity for students to investigate a professional issue in depth and from the point of you of a newly qualified SLT. The class book will serve as a resource for students during their first few years in work. The style of assessment and the questions set in both parts of the assessment contribute differently to the development of the students as future health care professional. In addition, they provide opportunity to practice discussing issues that are likely to arise in job interviews.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.