​Some information about the ATACP Foundation Accreditation Process

I teach the "taught" element on my foundation courses

The taught element of the Post Graduate ATACP Accredited Foundation Programme in Aquatic Therapy course is aimed primarily but not exclusively at physiotherapists - only HCPC registered physiotherapists can continue on to the assessment process and gain accreditation . The taught element of the course has been attended by many people working in aquatic therapy but not qualified as physiotherapists who have found it very useful. Potential non-physiotherapist candidates should take note that this course builds on 3 years of university level study needed to qualify as a physiotherapist and is conducted using phrases and terminology familiar to physiotherapists.

Having studied at the 2 day taught element of the ATACP Accredited Foundation Programme in Aquatic Therapy students would receive a certificate of attendance but not a qualification as such - there are further practical and exam parts only open to HCPC registered Physiotherapists which need to be successfully completed in order to achieve accreditation.
Although it is not mandatory for Physiotherapists to undergo formal post graduate training in Aquatic Therapy, the ATACP recommend the Accredited Foundation programme as a robust route for developing capability and competency in aquatic therapy practice, particularly given the lack of undergraduate training. 

The ATACP highlights that each individual has a responsibility to work within their scope of practice.  Therefore if a Physiotherapist were required to work in a pool and has not yet undertaken learning and development in line with ATACP Guidance on Good Practice, the ATACP recommends that he or she should be directly supervised by a Physiotherapist whose learning and development does fulfil these requirements.​

​please click the button to reach the page on the ATACP website with information about the full ATACP Foundation Accreditation Process

Scroll down to read the Aims and learning outcomes for the taught element of the course by way of information on it.

the course is based around the ATACP publication ‘Guidance on Good Practice in Aquatic Physiotherapy 2015’, (available from the ATACP website, free to ATACP members or cost of £20 to non-members) and forms the taught element of the Foundation Programme in Aquatic Therapy. 

“To equip a physiotherapist with the knowledge and clinical reasoning skills necessary to work safely and unsupervised in a pool”.
LEARNING OUTCOMES - On completion of the course the participant should be able to: -:
Session 1

  • Discuss the relevant physical properties of water
  • Relate these properties to therapeutic techniques in the water
  • Relate 1 and 2 both to the treatment of patients, and to the changes that specific conditions may cause to a person’s “Physical Properties”
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the physical properties of water to strengthening techniques in the pool
  • Appreciate and experience the effects of buoyancy, turbulence and the metacentre on a body in water.

Session 2

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of immersion on the physiology of the human body.
  • Relate these changes to the safe screening of patients prior to Aquatic therapy
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of aquatic therapy in a variety of clinical settings.
  • Demonstrate the ability to confidently use various flotation devices in regard to patient handling
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilise the physical properties of water to improve range of movement for patients with stiff joints or tight soft tissues
  • Demonstrate safe therapeutic handing of a patent in water

Session 3

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the main Health and Safety legislation, and its implications on running an aquatic therapy service
  • Demonstrate an understanding of water disinfection related to the pool environment.
  • Relate the above to maintaining a safe environment for staff and users including the ability to risk assess.
  • Demonstrate treatment skills including Relaxation, Stabilisation, and Balance work.
  • Relate these skills to the management of a variety of patient problems

Session 4

  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning skills in devising a treatment programme for patients with a variety of problems
  • Demonstrate an appropriate selection of treatment techniques for these patients


DAY ONE                   SESSION ONE
08.45–09.00              Registration
09.00–10.30              Welcome & Introduction - Theory of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic principles
10.30–10.45              Tea/Coffee
10.45–12.30              Pool Practical session – hydrostatic and hydrodynamic principles  - Application to muscle strengthening
12.30–13.15              LUNCH FOLLOWED BY SESSION 2
13.15–14.45              Value and uses of aquatic physiotherapy, theory of physiological effects, contraindications
14.45–15.00              Tea/Coffee
15.00–16.45              Pool Practical session – Handling skills, joint mobility, stretching techniques.

DAY TWO                  SESSION 3
09.00–10.45              Theory of pool management – infection control, safety precautions, emergency procedures
10.45–11.00              Tea/Coffee
11.00–12.30              Pool Practical session – Patient handling skills, rhythmic stabilisations
12.30–13.15              LUNCH FOLLOWED BY SESSION 4
13.15–14.30              Preparation of treatment programmes - Presentation of prepared programmes
14.30–14.45              Tea/Coffee
14.45–16.45              Pool Practical session - Presentation of practical techniques in the pool, with discussion around alternative techniques, and devising                                                 treatment plans. Relaxation techniques.