Children at school with a teacher

PGDEPrimary Education

Why this course?

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is a 36-week course for graduates who want to train as primary teachers. It leads to the Teaching Qualification (Primary Education) which allows you to teach in any UK or EU primary school. It’s also recognised and respected in many other parts of the world.

Following a probationary period, the PGDE can provide a starting point for a clearly defined career structure within primary education. The promoted posts in primary schools are Principal Teacher, Depute Head Teacher and Head Teacher.

Some of our former student teachers are now working with local authorities as Curriculum Development Officers, Senior Advisors and Education Officers. Others have become teacher educators in the university system, and a small number have become Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education.


The course is jointly delivered by Strathclyde and partner schools within local authorities. By the end of the course you’re expected to be competent in areas relating to teaching competences as identified by the Scottish Government and the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Key aims

The key aim of the PGDE course is:

“To support the development of student teachers in attaining the Standards for Provisional Registration within the context of a partnership model of teacher education.”

This aim will be met through teaching and learning processes that encourage active and participative methods.

You’ll study

The programme is made up of modules:

Compulsory classes

  • Placement Learning
  • Creative Contexts for Learning
  • Educational Perspectives & Policies
  • Principles & Policy in Practice
  • Professional Specialisation

You’re expected to keep a portfolio of progress throughout the course. This prepares you for the continuation of professional development during your professional teaching career.

School placement

School placements are central to your course and provide a focus for all other course modules.

The National Guidelines for Teacher Education Courses require you to spend a minimum of 18 weeks or equivalent in schools and to show that you meet the benchmarks for the Standards for Provisional Registration.

You’re required to attend the placement school throughout the full working day. You’re also required to attend school on staff in-service days, unless specifically requested by the school not to do so.

The placement school provides opportunities to work with colleagues. Team work is an essential part of that experience.

Preparation for placement

During the Placement Learning lectures and tutorials, you’re advised of:

  • the requirements for the placement
  • the arrangements for assessment
  • how final assessment of the placement is made

Preparation days are designed to enable you to:

  • be introduced to the placement school and class
  • familiarise yourself with school and class policies and procedures
  • begin to develop your rapport with the pupils
  • begin negotiations with the class teacher for responsibilities during the placement

Course content

Compulsory classes

Placement Learning

This class is taught both on campus and in schools. It'll help you become an effective teacher through learning about pedagogical theory, observing experienced teachers and applying your knowledge through teaching experience during the course.

Creative Contexts for Learning

This class will support you as you develop your approaches to curriculum, planning, learning, teaching and assessment, and includes cross-curricular approaches. 

Educational Perspectives & Policies

This class develops your understanding of key educational issues in a broader intellectual context. It 's taught in a cross- sector way, so that primary and secondary students can share opinions and learn from each other. 

Principles & Policy in Practice

This is the companion class to Educational Perspective and Policies. It shares a focus on critical professional engagement informed by educational research and theory. 

Professional Specialisation

This class gives you the opportunity to gain experience and further study in something you're particularly interested in. You can attend classes on campus, or undertake alternative methods of learning/development based on your area of interest. 


It gives you the opportunity to gain experience

Learning & teaching

The course encourages active and participative styles of learning in order to meet your professional needs, and to promote a commitment to continuing professional development.

The hours for the full-time course are 9am to 5pm. You’re expected to be working on course-related activity during those hours.


To be awarded the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education, you must pass all course modules.

Course work

Each class includes course work that involves group or independent study on specified tasks. This may involve presentations and written reports. Although these are not assessed formally they are essential learning experiences and are course requirements.

Entry requirements

You should hold a degree validated by a higher education institution in the UK, or a degree of an equivalent standard from an institution from outside the UK. You also require Higher English at Grade C or above or equivalent and Standard Grade Mathematics at 1 or 2 or equivalent.

As well as academic qualifications, you need to have:

  • evidence that you have experience of working with children in a primary school setting or related context
  • an understanding of modern primary education
  • an ability to relate to people

These are some of the criteria that will be taken into consideration when selecting candidates for the interview stage.


If your application passes the initial selection process, you’ll be invited for interview.

The interviewers will be interested in:

  • your personality
  • your ability to communicate
  • your commitment to and perception of the role of the teacher
  • your hobbies and interests
  • any previous experience you have of working with children in a primary school or related setting

The aims of the interview are to give you more information about the course, and to determine if you are suited to teaching. Interviews are normally held at the beginning of March.

English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • Full-time: £1,820
  • Part-time: £1,100

Rest of UK

  • Full-time: £9,000
  • Part-time: £4,500


  • Full-time: £13,000
  • Part-time: £6,500

How can I fund my course?

If you are eligible to register to pay the overseas tuition fees for this course then you may qualify for the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education: International Scholarship.

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


The PGDE qualification is required for employment as a teacher in a Scottish primary school. Following the probationary period, it can provide a starting point for a clearly defined career structure within primary education. The promoted posts in primary schools are Principal Teacher, Depute Head Teacher and Head Teacher.

How much will I earn?

As a primary school teacher in Scotland, salaries range from £21,438 to £34,200.*

Where are they now?

92.9% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

*information is intended only as a guide. Figures taken from Prospects

**Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, Graduate statistics 2011/12, 2010/11, (aggregated data)

Contact us


Scotland/EU/Rest of UK students

Applications must be made through the UCAS Undergraduate website.

New Barn Lane
Gloucestershire GL52 3LZ

t: 0871 468 0 468

International students

Please apply using the button below.

Primary Education

Qualification: PGDE, Start date: Aug 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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