Get a diploma in dental hygiene and dental therapy

Diploma course in Dental Hygiene & Therapy

Diploma in Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy

The application window for our next course commencing January 2019 is now closed

Course details

The school provides an intensive full time, 27-month course that prepares candidates to take the Diplomas in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The course commences each January.

Training courses for dental therapists and hygienists have traditionally been affiliated to dental hospitals. However, the focus of dental care is now in the primary care setting, so this is where our DCP students are trained.

Hygienists are recognised as valuable members of the general dental practice team. Therapists have worked in hospital and community practice since the 1960’s and in general practices since 2002.

The training takes place in Greater Manchester and Salford, with clinical placements within the Community Dental Service and General Dental Practices, and with the Oral Health improvement and Education Teams.

The aim of the course is to train competent Dental Therapists & Hygienists for primary care, by integrating the clinical and theoretical components of the training course.

When qualified and registered, dually qualified hygienists/therapists can perform a wide range of duties in any branch of dentistry. Their scope of practice is outlined below.  Some items of dental treatment require post qualification training.

  • Intra and extra oral assessments, including the recording of dental indices
  • Monitoring of dental diseases
  • Supra and sub gingival scaling
  • Applying prophylactic and antimicrobial materials
  • Polishing of teeth and fillings
  • Application of topical fluoride
  • Fissure sealing teeth
  • Taking dental radiographs
  • Restorations (fillings) in both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth
  • Extraction of primary teeth
  • Pulp treat primary teeth with extensive tooth decay
  • Administration of local anaesthetic
  • Placement of pre formed metal crowns on primary teeth
  • Temporary replacement of crowns and fillings
  • Taking impressions
  • Health education to patients and to groups

and following a period of further training: –

  • Treating patients using conscious sedation
  • Whitening teeth

All the treatments carried out by Dental Therapists & Hygienists require the development of a high level of manual dexterity.

What roles?

The majority of dental hygienists and therapists work in dental practice carrying out clinical dentistry. Some work in the field of dental health education in Oral Health Improvement Departments of NHS trusts, encouraging people to live healthy lives. Others work as representatives for the dental industry, working to promote dental equipment, materials and resources. Opportunities also arise in dental research, or in training the next generation of dental hygienists and therapists as tutors.

Dental hygienists and therapists, as registrants of the General Dental Council, may also become involved in the regulation of the dental profession and dental training.

Course structure and methods of assessment

To ensure that current accepted practices are being taught, the full time course will be continually reviewed, allowing students to learn about new techniques and advances taking place in dentistry.

The course is demanding but enjoyable.  Students are taught and supported by experienced tutors and are provided with regular feedback on their progress.

Students attend tutorials, participatory seminars, practical sessions, assessments and examinations, enhanced by self-directed learning. This ensures that they are equipped with the underpinning knowledge and practical skills to enable them to work appropriately and safely within the dental team and environment. They are expected to give presentations to their peers and other healthcare professionals throughout the course.

Year 1

Modules in the first year will underpin the teaching and learning during the rest of the course: –

  • Pre-Clinical Foundation
  • Plaque Related Diseases
  • Pre-Clinical Dental Hygiene
  • Pre-Clinical Dental Therapy
  • Behavioural Science & Dental Public Health
  • Clinical Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy 1

– covering diverse topics such as dental histology; anatomy & physiology; law, ethics and professionalism; dental materials; pre-clinical skills.

– students treat their first patients in primary care clinics within Greater Manchester, where they are supervised whilst providing different types of treatment to adults, children and patients with special needs.

Progress to Year 2 is determined by the results of modular assessment.

Year 2

Students continue treating patients in primary care clinics within Greater Manchester. These sessions allow students to develop their communication further and in particular has emphasis on clinical work, whilst continuing the theoretical requirements covering for example, pharmacology and oral medicine.

  • Paediatric Dentistry
  • Management of Plaque Related Diseases
  • Dental Radiography
  • Comprehensive Oral Care
  • Preparation for the workplace
  • Clinical Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy 2

Students have the opportunity to visit various schools/clinics in the Greater Manchester area, where they provide relevant oral health advice alongside a member of the Oral Health Improvement Team.

Year 3

During the final three months of the course, patient care continues in primary care clinics. Students attend various seminars designed to prepare them for their role as a dental hygienist/therapist in the general dental practice environment/ team and prepare themselves for final examinations


There are assessments, written and oral examinations and patient presentations throughout the course.

Final examination

The final examination comprises written and practical elements. Each student will give a presentation to an external examiner, regarding the treatment they have provided for a periodontal patient; an adult and a paediatric restorative patient.

Awarding body

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is the approved examining body for this course. Students will be required to sit the examinations conducted by the Royal College on satisfactory completion of their course.

Following successful completion of the course and examinations, students will be required to register with the General Dental Council before commencing practice as dental hygienists and therapists. They will be required to renew their registration annually.

Information for posts involving the care of children / vulnerable adults

As the school meets the requirements in respect of exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 an enhanced criminal record disclosure (DBS) will be requested in the event of a successful application. This will include cautions, reprimands or final warnings as well as convictions. A criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining a place on the course as each case will be looked at on an individual basis.


The course is commissioned by Health Education England North West  nw.hee.nhs which is a Local Education and

Training Board (LETB) and part of Health Education England (HEE).  They will be the forum for providers and professionals to work collectively to improve the quality of education and training outcomes within our local area, and to meet the needs of service providers, patients and the public.

Health Education England North West will meet the tuition and examination fee contributions on behalf of the student for the normal duration of the 27-month course.   Any examination re-sits; deferment of finals examinations or additional time required to complete the course, will require self-funding.

NHS Bursary

The NHS Business Services Authority administers bursaries for healthcare students on behalf of the Department of Health.  For full details of eligibility and financial support available, please click on the following link Student Bursaries NHS Business Services Authority.  The school has no involvement in the decisions of the Student Bursary dept.

On the offer and acceptance of a place on the course, the School will advise The NHS Business Services Authority of the offer. Once this information is received, the NHS BSA will invite the student to apply, which should be completed fully (submitting all necessary supporting documentation) as quickly as possible. If a student fails to provide all the necessary information, the Bursary award cannot be processed.

On enrolment, the school will advise NHS BSA accordingly who will then finalise an award by issuing a Final Notification of Award letter usually within 10 days of commencing the training.

Application process
Disclaimer: These sections are intended to support applicants in their completion and submission of an application.  To offer admission to it’s applicants is the sole discretion of the School and it will make this decision baed on numerous factors.  Using the advice on this site by no means guarantees admission.  The School will accept no responsibility for the acceptance or denial of admission to the users of this site.




Places available

The number of places available at The Greater Manchester School for DCPs is currently 10.  Competition for these places is very intense, with over 300 enquiries made annually.

The course is subject to Health Education England (North West) commissions and is not a university course.


We hope that you find the information on this website helpful in deciding whether to make an application.
Your completed application is our only basis for considering your initial suitability and it is therefore important that this is completed carefully.

We have listed the guidance notes below.  These are designed to help you to complete the application form as fully as possible, ensuring that all relevant information is highlighted.

Applicants must complete the application form in full, for example it is not acceptable to leave the qualification section on application form blank whilst attaching your own summary.  Secured, continuation sheets can be used if required.

NB – Evidence of all stated qualifications must be included with the application form.  Applications received without this evidence will not be considered.  As the school is unable to return any documentation, all evidence must therefore be photocopies.

Candidates should submit their applications without the use of staples or plastic wallets. Any application form not fully, or correctly, completed may not be processed.  Handwriting must be legible.

Apply directly to The Greater Manchester School for DCPs

Applications must be made directly to the school using the application form downloaded from this website.

Applications should be posted directly to the school using the address at the end of this section.
The closing deadline for applications has now passed and consequently late applications will not be considered.

The school is not responsible for any application not received by this date for any reason.

Subsequent applications and second interview applications

The school will accept second or subsequent applications from candidates who are improving their entry qualifications.

Candidates who have previously had an unsuccessful interview will be considered at the school’s discretion and only where evidence of ongoing appropriate development is demonstrated on the application form.

Current academic entry requirements

Minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) which must include English language, Mathematics and Science (preferably Biology).
2 A levels at grade C or above (or equivalent) which must include a Science (preferably Biology)
Minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) which must include English language, Mathematics and Science (preferably Biology).
A recognised dental nursing qualification at level 3.
1 A level at grade C or above (or equivalent) in Biology
a minimum of one post qualification certificate (from the selection below)

  • Dental Radiography
  • Dental Sedation Nursing
  • Oral Health Education (single, not combined, award)
  • Special Care Dental Nursing

Minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) which must include English language, Mathematics and Science (preferably Biology)
Alternative qualifications at level 3 or above, such as, a science based Access to Higher Education (Merit or above) or a science based BTEC National Diploma/Extended Diploma (MMM) may also be accepted at the discretion of the school.
Minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) which must include English language, Mathematics and Science (preferably Biology).
An appropriate full Access to Higher Education in a scientifically or medically based subject with 45 credits at merit or above

The school does not accept ‘speaking & learning’ or ‘functional skills level 2’ qualifications.
NB – Evidence of all stated qualifications must be included with the application form.  Applications received without this evidence will not be considered.  As the school is unable to return any documentation, all evidence must therefore be photocopies.

All qualifications detailed in the application form will need to be verified at interview.  Only original certificates will be considered sufficient for this purpose.  Interviews will not be conducted without this evidence.

The application must show evidence of recent, appropriate, academic endeavour (i.e. within the last five years).

The school tries to accommodate students with a disability or learning support needs but it can only accept students who would be able to practise dentistry without detriment to the patients.

Applicants who do have a disability or who would need significant support to complete the course are asked to contact the School Manager, in advance of any application, to discuss their needs informally.

The school does not accept applications from candidates who already hold a higher qualification in clinical dentistry.

Entrance requirements may be reviewed and changed at any time.  Ensure that you have the most up to date information by visiting this website regularly.

International applications

Applications must be made directly to the school using the application form downloaded from this website.

The course is open to applicants from the UK and EU only.

The school accepts international qualifications but only when supported by a UK-NARIC statement of comparability, which MUST BE included with the application.

All students whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English language as all classes (and clinical experiences) are conducted in English, .  As evidence of English language skills, the school will accept an Academic IELTS Test Report Form.  We require:

  • a minimum score of 7 overall, with no one section less than 6.5
  • the test report form must not be more that two years old at the time of interview
  • the results of two or more tests may not be combined

This MUST BE included with the application. Alternative English language test reports, qualifications and/or experience, will not be considered.

Dental experience

Applicants who are not employed as dental nurses must demonstrate significant work experience, some of which must be with a dental therapist and a dental hygienist. The minimum acceptable period of work experience is two weeks full time.  Evidence of this must be included with the application.  The evidence must be in the form of a signed and dated statement from the dental practice concerned, detailing the time spent and the procedures observed.  The statement must be on the dental practice letter headed paper and include the full address and telephone number.

Stage 1


Applicants who have supplied an email address on their application form will have receipt of their form acknowledged by the School within 4 weeks of submission.  If applicants have not received this acknowledgment within 4 weeks, they should contact the school by either telephone or email.

All applicants that meet the minimum entry requirements, including those awaiting examination results before the end of August, will be considered.  Those that do not meet the criteria will not proceed to stage 2, therefore personal statements will not be taken into account.
It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to inform the school with regard to expected examination results.  We will not contact you for verification.

Unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the decision by letter.

Stage 2

Personal statement

The personal statement is a very important part of the selection process as it allows us to assess the applicants interest, motivation and commitment to the professions of a dental therapist and dental hygienist.

It is in this section that you make your case for “why we should choose you”.  Instead of giving us your past career history, we would like, for example, to know about your motivation for studying dental therapy and dental hygiene; why you want to study at our school in particular; a demonstration of your commitment to academic studies; an inclusion of your interests and achievements and how they may influence your career in the future.  You should, of course, include any other information that you consider to be relevant and that will support your application.

Account will be taken of spelling and grammar along with the overall presentation of the application.
It may be helpful to visit the UCAS Personal Statement   webpage for hints and tips, however, ensure that your personal statement is individual and unique to you.

The personal statement should be no more than 750 words long and should be word processed. Applications where the personal statements are not word processed will not be considered. Please indicate the total word count on the application form.

Applications are then assessed for the highest academic merit and the quality of the personal statement.  Those that are judged to have demonstrated the highest standards will be invited for interview.

References will be sought from the end of Stage 2 onwards.

Stage 3


Due to the extended application window, interviews this year will take place in October for entry in January of the following year.

Applicants will be invited to interview by letter.

The interviews are currently in three sections

  1. a conventional interview with 2/3 members of staff
  2. a mini interview, discussing a set scenario, with 1 member of staff
  3. a written response to a set question/statement and/or manual dexterity assessment

All the sections will follow the same format however some questions may differ in accordance with the varying nature of individual qualifications and personal statements.  The time allocated to each applicant will be the same.

Stage 4

Making offers

The ten interviewees with the highest scores will be offered places on the course.  Offers are made in the first instance by telephone, when they may be accepted provisionally.

Formal offers will be sent by letter.  Interviewees must accept any offer formally, in writing, as soon as possible to ensure that their place is secure.

All offers are made subject to satisfactory references, enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service); medical examinations and immunisation status checks.

We do not hold reserve lists.

Unsuccessful interviewees
Unsuccessful interviewees will be informed by letter.

You will be required to provide full contact details of two people who have agreed to supply references.

Referee 1

If you are currently employed, this referee MUST be your present employer.  If you are still in education, your college tutor, school head or teacher details should be given.

If you are currently unemployed, you should supply the details of your last employer.

Referee 2

The second referee MUST be someone not connected to your employment who is able to comment on your competence and personal qualities.

Family members  or someone living in the same household as you, must not be given as a referee, to do so will jeopardise your application.

Applications not conforming to the above references criteria, will not be considered.
Remember, it is good practice to approach your intended referees before giving their names and contact details in your application.  You may ask us not to contact your referees until after interview.  As the offer of a place is dependent on satisfactory references being received, this option however, will slow down the selection process.
General hints and tips that may be useful to you
NB: Many applications in previous years have not been considered, as applicants did not follow instructions.  Use the information on this website to ensure that you complete this form correctly

  • Read through all of the guidance notes above, very carefully
  • Do a rough draft first
  • Use black ink
  • Complete all parts of the application form
  • Put your name on all additional sheets
  • Get your form to us before the closing date
  • Keep a photocopy of your application to refer to for preparation in the event of an interview being offered
  • To enable your item to reach us as quickly as possible, please address your mail fully and clearly.  Ensure that you include the postcode
  • Remember to include a return address on the mail you send to enable the Post Office to return it to you if it cannot be delivered
  • Ensure that you are using the correct tariff when sending your application.  An underpaid item will be held at the Post Office delivery centre for 18 days before being returned to the sender

Good luck with your application!


Applications and application enquiries should be made to: –
Mrs J Horrigan, School Manager
The Greater Manchester School for DCPs
4th floor St James’s House
Pendleton Way
M6 5FW
Telephone 0161 212 4809
Fax 0161 212 5650

Enquire about this course

The School offers an exciting opportunity to train for a diploma in dental hygiene and dental therapy (awarded by The Royal College of Surgeons of England) in the primary care setting – where the majority of dental hygienists and therapists work.

Learn more