person blowing bubbles, blue overlay

Health Play Specialism

Foundation Degree

Study Health Play Specialism at University Centre Leeds

Ready for a rewarding career using play specialism to support sick children? This course will provide you with all of the knowledge needed to use play to aid with children’s cognitive understanding and to minimise trauma. Health play specialists can gain progressional registration with Hospital Play Staff Education Trust (HPSET).

HTQ – Become a Health Play Specialist
This foundation degree is a Higher Technical Qualification (HTQ) . This means it will give you the technical skills and training to move into a Health Play Specialist role.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Venue: University Centre
  • Fee: £4,372 part-time (per academic year for UK students)
  • UCAS Course Code(s): 72678-10
  • UCAS Institution Code: L21
  • Study Mode: Part Time
  • Validated By: Luminate Education Group
student sat smiling holding a red and white striped mug

Health Play Specialism

Blending theoretical knowledge, practical experience and reflective practice, our foundation degree will teach you to effectively use play as a therapeutic tool in hospitals, the community and home-based settings. Our extensive support and specialist mentoring will prepare you for a challenging yet rewarding career. You will gain a broad understanding of play and recreation as well as relevant policies. In addition, you will explore child development while learning how to enhance resilience in children and young people among other important topics relevant to this field of study.

This course is validated by Luminate Education Group

Luminate Logo

How To Apply

If you're interested in applying to study part-time, these applications must be submitted directly through our website.

Part Time - Direct Application Form

Course Information

Modules may include:

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • Skills for Academic Study (20 credits)
  • Developmental Approaches to Play (20 credits)
  • Developing Professional Practice (Professional occupational standards) (40 credits)
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills (20 credits)
  • Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Young People (20 credits)

Year 2 (Level 5)

  • Critical Reflection on Practice (Professional occupational standards) (40 credits)
  • Therapeutic Play Interventions (20 credits)
  • Ethical Working Practices in Healthcare (20 credits)
  • Work Based Project (20 credits)
  • Supporting Emotional Health and Wellbeing of the Sick Child (20 credits)

This course supports the development of professional competencies in the field of therapeutic play for children and young people in hospital and community healthcare settings.

Successful completion of the programme leads to registration with the Healthcare Play Specialist Education Trust. (HPSET). 

Some of the skills you will develop include:  

  • Employability skills
  • Research skills 
  • Reflection and critical thinking skills 
  • Teamwork skills
  • Creativity  

You will have developed academic writing skills and gained confidence in accessing and using evidence to support you as reflective practitioner. Develop skills of inclusive developmental play and professional competence in the field of therapeutic play  and this will lead to successful registration as a HealthCare Play Specialist. 

Assessment will be through a combination of work based tasks to assess competencies, presentations and assignments.

During the first year students will sit a multiple choice exam and during the second year they will sit a written exam answering questions related to a set case study.


UCAS Tariff Points: 48 UCAS tariff points from two A-levels (or equivalent qualifications)

BTEC/CACHE Level 3 Diploma: A full and relevant Level 3 qualification in childcare or health and social care. MP, MPP grade.

GCSE English: English Language grade 4 or above. Key Skills Level 2, Functional Skills Level 2 and the Certificate in Adult Literacy are accepted in place of GCSEs.

GCSE Maths: Maths grade 4 or equivalent. Key Skills Level 2, Functional Skills Level 2 and the Certificate in Adult Numeracy are accepted in place of GCSEs.

IELTS: IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any component.

International qualifications: International qualifications will be assessed against these criteria

Mature applicants: A full and relevant Level 3 qualification in childcare or health and social care, GCSE English or equivalent minimum grade C. Alongside the additional entry requirements stated below.

RPL claims: The course structure actively supports claims for Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL) or Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL).

Work experience: Minimum of two years employment working with children, after gaining the level 3 qualification.

HPS registered mentor: Mentor must have HPS registration and have undertaken mentor training

Work placement: A work placement in a clinical setting must be arranged prior to commencing the course. This requirement will be discussed during the admissions process. Support and guidance are available from the course team and HPSET should it be required. HPSET has a directory of all registered health play specialists and will support pre-entry students to contact them to arrange potential placements.

DBS: Students will also be required to complete the Disclosure and Barring Service process (DBS) prior to commencement on placement. The department will cover the cost.

References: An appropriate reference required.

Progression may include a top-up degree or relevant employment. 

Job opportunities

Healthcare play specialist Hospital Play Staff Education Trust (HPSET) fees Throughout your course, you will be mentored by a HPSET registered specialist and can also apply for registration (additional fees associated). Students will also need to hold a live DBS which may incur costs. 

For the latest version of the programme specifications for this course please click here.

For the latest version of the course handbook for this course please click here.

For the latest version of the Leeds City College regulations please click here.

Students will be registered with Healthcare Play Specialist with HPSET on successful completion of the course. Thereafter, all registrants need to renew their registration annually by the 31st March by submitting the online renewal form and paying the re-registration fee of £36.00. For further information please click here.

Please note students will need to hold a live enhanced DBS which may incur costs.



Upcoming open events - book your place!

  • Wednesday 6 December (4-7PM) - Creative Arts On-Campus Open Event

Our open events give you a chance to hear from tutors, discover the range of student support available, and find out for yourself why University Centre Leeds is the highest for student satisfaction in the city.* (*NSS 2023)

Book your place

Request your 2024 Prospectus

Want to find out more about the wide range of courses, student support and more available for students at University Centre Leeds?

Request your 2024 University Centre Leeds Prospectus now - direct to your phone or delivered to your door.

Logo Dca Tass The Open University Logo QAA Logo Green.Jpg Logo Tef Bronze Logo Mixed Economy Group Logo Member Qaa Logo Ofsted Logo Nnecl