Paediatric Physiotherapy

Short-term attachment

1 Year Diploma

Masters' Programme


Program Head 
Ass. Prof, B.M. Morrow (PhD, BSc Physiotherapy)


Training in clinical paediatric Physiotherapy is based at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in the general and subspecialty inpatient medical and surgical ward, the paediatric intensive care unit, and the outpatients department. The department is dedicated to holistic paediatric care  and physiotherapists manage children with a range of conditions, acute and chronic, congenital and acquired 

The service is extremely busy caring for children with a wide range of medical and surgical conditions. The training is weighted towards clinical exposure and much of the training is through involvement in patient assessment and care. 

Trainees participate as full members of the clinical team, and will therefore be expected to manage an acceptable patient load, with supervision as appropriate to their level of training. Out of hours attendance is optional, but daytime attendance (07.30-16.00) is essential to attain adequate teaching and clinical exposure time. 

Research projects are encouraged and the supervisor will facilitate this. Trainees are encouraged attend and, where appropriate, present at departmental meetings, symposia and congresses.

Currently the only training option is a 1 year PG Diploma in “Clinical Paediatric Physiotherapy”. Limited short-term observational attachments can be supported but these must have a specific and clear outcome in mind to be beneficial. 

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[Qualification code: MG028. Plan code: MG028AHS20]
Convener: Assoc Prof B Morrow (Department of Paediatrics and Child Health: Physiotherapy Department)

The key objective of this Diploma is to train and educate physiotherapists in current knowledge and skills in different areas of paediatric care in a hospital setting, in order to enable them to deliver safe, effective and appropriate evidence-based healthcare practice as an independent practitioner within the multidisciplinary paediatric team.

Admission requirements
To be eligible to consideration for admission, a candidate shall
(a) have an approved Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy or equivalent, with some clinical experience in paediatric
(b) be registered as an independent practitioner with the relevant professional body (e.g. HPCSA);
(c) demonstrate the need to develop his/her clinical skills in this field. To this purpose, applicants will be required to submit a
     personal portfolio reflecting, amongst others, their experience of working in the field of clinical paediatrics and past
     attendance at relevant courses for which they may have obtained certificates and diplomas;
(d) have submitted a letter of support from his/her employer granting the applicant study leave for the duration of clinical block
     attendance and undertaking to provide support, as needed, to enable the applicant to complete assigned tasks and
     assignments within the work context; 
(e) have proven proficiency in written and spoken English (this may be tested if necessary); and
(f)  have an acceptable level of computer literacy, and access to a computer and the internet.

Preference shall be given to candidates who are working in a clinical paediatric setting.

Applicants may be asked to undergo an interview.

Structure and duration of Diploma:

The Diploma may be completed over one year full-time or two years part-time. It consists of two modules – a clinical course and a long essay. A logbook must be completed concurrently with the clinical course. The essay is submitted after the clinical course has been completed. An oral examination is scheduled for the end of the year.

The Diploma places emphasis on the practical application of theory and clinical skills. Students are expected to practise their clinical skills in different clinical areas within Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital throughout the year and, where applicable, at satellite institutions.

FPL3:  The curriculum outline is as follows:

   NQFcredits  HEQSFlevel
AHS4163W   Clinical Management in Paediatric Physiotherapy   90   8
PED4032W   Essay: Transition and Translation of Knowledge       30   8
                                                                                                  Total NQF credits:  120  

NQF credits and HEQSF course levels: 
All South African tertiary institutions are required to align their qualifications with the prescriptions of the Higher Education Qualifications Subframework (that forms part of the National Qualifications Framework). Each qualification has an exit level that relates to the skills that may be expected of candidates who have completed a qualification or course at that HEQSF level. Each qualification also has a minimum number of NQF credits at that HEQSF level. One credit equals 10 notional hours of learning.

The NQF requires the following minimum credits per qualification:
•    Postgraduate Diploma (exit level 8): Minimum total credits: 120. Minimum credits at HEQSF level 8: 120.
•    Master’s degree (exit level 9): Minimum total credits: 180. Minimum credits at HEQSF level 9: 120; maximum credits at
     HEQSF level 8: 60 (a full dissertation master’s will be 180 credits at HEQSF level 9). A Professional Master’s degree may
     have a reduced research component of at least 45 credits.

Assessment, progression and readmission
[Note: These rules must be read in conjunction with the General Rules in the front section of this Handbook.]

Students are assessed by means of continuous assessment, review of the logbook, and final examination. Assessments may be of a practical, written and/or oral nature.

Students are required to attend at least 70% of group supervision sessions. They are required to submit all supervisors’ reports, as well as the specified number of case reports, before the final mark for the relevant course will be released. Should this not be done by the due date, the student will fail the course.

Students who obtain 45% – 49% in an examination may be reassessed before the final mark is submitted for approval by the Faculty Examinations Committee; and/or may be granted a supplementary examination at the discretion of the Faculty Examinations Committee.

Students may be permitted to repeat a course they have failed, at the convener’s discretion. No course may be repeated more than once. Where a student fails any course twice, a recommendation will be made to the Faculty Examinations Committee to refuse readmission.

The Diploma may be awarded with distinction (75% – 100% average with not less than 70% for any course). All courses must be passed at first attempt
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NQF credits: 90 at HEQSF level 8
Convener: Assoc Prof B Morrow
Course entry requirements: None
Course outline: This course provides students with an understanding of evidence-based treatment methods for acute and chronic paediatric conditions. Students are exposed to evidence-based principles of treatment and learn about the theoretical foundation, core concepts and principal techniques of evidence-based physiotherapy treatment models. Basic training in normal and abnormal child development, pathology, physiology, handling, and interpretation of the literature in clinical decision-making will be provided through different learning activities: lectures (face-to- face, limited interaction, or technologically mediated), tutorials, group learning (if sufficient trainees), and independent self-study.
DP requirements: Students need to attend a minimum of 70% of formal teaching events and be present for at least 70% of the clinical contact time. All assignments must be submitted. A subminimum of 45% for the coursework is required in order to be granted admission to the final examination.
Assessment: Assignments including completion of logbook: 20%. Assessment of clinical skills: 30%. Final oral examination: 50%.

NQF credits: 30 at HEQSF level 8
Convener: Prof David Woods and Assoc Prof B Morrow
Course entry requirements: None
Course outline: This course equips students to apply the knowledge and insights gained during their training to their home settings. Students will analyse the epidemiology of the centres at which they practise healthcare and will analyse the healthcare needs of the region, then plan ways in which to apply the knowledge they have gained in the diploma programme to such settings.
DP requirements: Full attendance and completion of all coursework requirements by the due dates.
Assessment: Completion of an essay (100%). This is preceded by ongoing assessment of performance through regular clinical supervision/tutorial sessions and coursework tasks. A pass mark of 50% is required for the long essay, failing which the student will be required to make the necessary corrections or improvements and submit the assignment for reassessment. The terms of resubmission of the assignment will be at the discretion of the convener.
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Duration of training: Between 2 and 6 weeks
Convener:  Ass. Prof. B.M Morrow

Limited short term attachments may be accepted in the department, but these require careful planning. Examples are trainees who wish to gain exposure to a very specialised area such critical care. Trainees have gained from periods of observation when they are deciding how to structure a more formal training program (eg PG Diploma). Other trainees attend for short attachments to gain insight into how the service is structured to assess which models could be duplicated in their home setting. HPCSA registration is not attained for short attachments and as such observation only is possible.